Sunday, April 10, 2011

Next GEM Meeting, April 11: How do we stop the charter invasions?

*Please Forward Widely*
How do we stop the charter invasions?
You are invited to attend a meeting sponsored by the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM

CUNY Grad Center 34th St. and 5th Ave. Rm 5414
picture ID required

The rapid growth of charter schools around New York City continues unabated.  As the DOE gears up to layoff 4,658 teachers in the upcoming budget, funding for charters is planned to increase by $139 million. As Mayor Bloomberg shutters large public high schools, like JFK in the Bronx or Brandeis in Manhattan, they are rapidly replaced with charters which receive public money but are privately operated and are largely nonunion. Co-located charters receive more per pupil funding than the public schools they are sitting in.
From the invasion of PS197M by Democracy Prep and PS123 by Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy in Harlem, to the prevention of the expansion of the successful Central Park East public school by the forces of KIPP* charters in Washington Heights, to the robbery of therapy classrooms in Fort Greene from special needs schools PS369K by an expanding charter, to the cramming of four schools into a single building to accommodate a charter in Coney Island's IS303, schools all over the city are facing overcrowding and declining enrollment because of the charter explosion. 
At the same time, the United Federation of Teachers has agreed to allow two schools in the Bronx to be managed by charter operator Green Dot, while half their staff is moved to other schools regardless of seniority, and Green Dot operatives brag of long breakfasts and multiple dinners with national and local union leaders.
However, there are things that we can do to fight back.  The successful struggle by PS9 parents and teachers to prevent the expansion won a victory last week as State Education Commissioner David Steiner overturned the city's Panel for Education Policy vote to allow a charter colocation in their school.       
Join GEM in a discussion on how we can build a movement to take a stand against privatization of public education by mobilizing against charter co-locations.
Discuss:  What can we do in NYC to stop charter co-locations?  What are the tools that teachers and parents can use to defend their local schools?  How can we build solidarity with others under attack?  How can we build networks within our schools and in our communities? How can we push the UFT to reverse it's accommodationist policy to the charter invaders?
Take part in activist breakout sessions after the discussion, including about how to mobilize against the charter co-locations on the agenda at the April 28th meeting of the Panel for Education Policy.
Become a GEM member and discuss how WE can put children first! 

MONDAY, April 11, 5PM, 
CUNY Grad Center 34th St. and 5th Ave. Rm 5414
picture ID required

*Study Finds High Dropout Rates for Black Males in KIPP Schools
Education Week
KIPP charter middle schools enroll a significantly higher proportion of African-American students than the local school districts they draw from, but 40 percent of the black males they enroll leave between grades 6 and 8, says a new nationwide study by researchers at Western Michigan University and Teachers College, Columbia University.
“The dropout rate for African-American males is really shocking,” said Gary J. Miron, a professor of evaluation, measurement, and research at Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo, and the lead researcher for the study. “KIPP is doing a great job of educating students who persist, but not all who come.”

*Study Says Charter Network Has Financial Advantages Over Public Schools
New York Times
Most charter schools receive less government money for each student, on average, than traditional public schools.
But the KIPP network, one of the fastest-growing and most academically successful charter groups, has received more taxpayer dollars per student than regular public schools, according to a new study, which also noted that KIPP receives substantial amounts of private philanthropic money.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Grassroots Education Movement Official Statement Regarding the Resignation of Cathleen Black, David Steiner, and the Appointment of Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott

It is Time to Break the Cycle

Since 2003, public school parents, children, educators, and community members have endured a dictatorial public education reform agenda that has ignored and marginalized their voices and has undermined and destabilized the schools they depend on, love, and serve. The departure of Cathleen Black highlights the incompetence, arrogance, and political nature of Bloomberg’s educational agenda; this is not about children first, but rather a blind belief in the corporate reform movement propelled by a centralized, top down system that has been destructive for our schools and our children.

It is time for a break in the power structure that has a strangle hold on our public education system; it is time for parents, children, educators and communities to have a say in the education of their 1.2 million school children.

The departure of four Deputy Chancellors in the last 100 days along with the admission by Mayor Bloomberg that the appointment of Black as Chancellor was a mistake, followed by the announced departure of the State Commissioner of Education on Thursday, makes it clear that the almost decade long mayoral control and corporate reform experiment that has ignored the voices of parents, teachers and community has been a failure for the entire educational community. The growing movements against school closings and the privatization of education have helped to expose these failures.

In the coming months our schools face severe cuts, testing is raging out of control, charter schools will attempt to expand by invading more schools, a campaign to close schools continues, dedicated educators are under attack, and our children’s education is at stake. Decisions about the lives of children, like the choice of leaders of the school system, should not be made without their parents, their communities and their teachers. We have little confidence that newly appointed Chancellor Dennis Walcott will be any more than the extension of the same policies with a different face. It is time for Mr. Bloomberg and the Department of Education to engage with parents, treat them as partners and provide the leadership and policies that truly do put children first.

The Grassroots Education Movement supports the Deny Waiver Coalition in their preference for a transparent and nationwide search process for a qualified Chancellor to run our school system. We believe that Mr. Bloomberg and our future Chancellor should fight for real reforms that will transform our public education system. They could begin with a moratorium on school closings, turnarounds, and charter co-locations. Reforms should include parent and teacher empowerment, more teaching, less testing, and the equitable funding needed to make sure our schools are responsive to, and the centers of, the communities they serve.

The Bloomberg ship is sinking. The last nine years under Mayor Bloomberg has been a sea of destructive and misguided educational policies. It is time for our children to be thrown a life raft. It is time for Bloomberg to be held accountable. It is time for a sea change.

Last modified Friday, April 8, 11PM

Thursday, April 7, 2011

IS 303 - Julia Daniely, PTA President

NYCDOE attempts to shoe-horn a 4th school into an already overcrowded IS 303 in Coney Island. Excerpts from the public hearing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Film Screening & Discussion, Apr. 11: The Inconvenient Truth Behind 'Waiting for Superman'

On Monday, April 11th at 6:00 p.m., Community League of the Heights will host a community screening of “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting For Superman,” the brand new NYC documentary challenging the ideology and prescriptions of the 2010 film "Waiting For Superman."

WHEN: Monday, April 11th, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

WHERE: Church On The Hill, 2005 Amsterdam Avenue, 2nd Fl. (between 159th and 160th)

WHO: Parents, youth, educators, and other community members, especially residents of Washington Heights, West Harlem and Inwood.

PANELISTS INCLUDE: Julie Cavanagh, Film Director and Public School TeacherMiriam Aristy-Farer, Public School Parent; Adam Stevens, Assistant Principal, Community Health Academy of the Heights; Dr. Sam Anderson, Black New Yorkers for Educational Excellence. Moderated by Joe Rogers, Jr., Founder & Facilitator, Total Equity Now.

Post-screening small group discussions and a Q&A with panelists will examine several teaching and learning-related themes covered in the film. Building on a similar screening and discussion of “Waiting for Superman” on March 28th, this event will expose community members to additional, sometimes contrasting, perspectives on today’s pressing issues of education policy and practice.

Please join us!

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.