Friday, August 7, 2009

Report of a charter hearing in Brooklyn — D22

There has been much talk in the blogs and listservs about the sham hearings taking place on new charters seeking a foothold in public school buildings.

We reported what happened over at the District 4 hearing (July 29th) in this post and in this one. GEM will continue to publish reports of the questionable and possibly unlawful practices of the DoE — we've been told the only city Department created without built-in oversight — as it facilitates the installation of charters into public school space.

[Re oversight: the new monitoring committee the Senate is trying to create will not give it "any more authority than it already has," according to today's Times.]

The person who gave us permission to post this email (originally on the Parents' listserv) attended a charter hearing in District 22, B'klyn, this week. She also reports that the Community District Education Council (CDEC) has said that D22 doesn't need charter schools and doesn't want them.
I was at the charter application hearing last night at Hudde [an IS] in Brooklyn for two new charters in D-22. That makes four so far this year. It was ludicrous. The first one, the Una Clarke school, at least had the attribute that I believe their motives were sincere. [They] said they were not going to seek a NYC school building, but when questioned, they really had no idea about the actual costs, budgeting, etc. They believed they could run the charter with DOE funds only. However their motives, as I said, appeared sincere, and I hope they bring their ideas to help the community into one of the schools there and see if they can provide some after school programs for their target population in conjunction with the schools.

On the other hand, the second applicant, the Fusion school, a 6-12 school, was a poorly veiled attempt to create a private all boys cultural school with taxpayer money. Their supporters consisted of all MEN, no women, who when directly questioned and were asked if they had children in the public schools would not reply, since the audience itself knowing the community knows that they currently attend a private school in the district — the Amity School. We then asked if they had any children at all, which they did not reply to. The only gentleman who spoke who actually admitted to having a child admitted publicly that he had been paying for private school and why shouldn't he be able to have a "good" school, not public school, and get it for free?

Who is screening these applicants? Can anybody with the time to fill out a form apply? And all comments are sent to, the DOE itself. Isn't this like the fox watching the hen house? Is there a state email address anyone has that we can have our parents send comments to?

And once again, as it was noted clearly by our CDEC who did a great job I must say, this hearing was held in August with all comments having to be submitted by sept 6 while schools are closed and people are out of the city, so that they can try to slip them in.
The written comments and records are supposed to be sent to the State Ed Dept. Who knows if, or what, the charter school people will be sending in, but they have 15 business days to do it. That's the law.


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