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Madfloridian's Journal
Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Feb 13th 2010, 01:08 AM
From the Indypendent:

Taking the Public Out of Schools

IGNORED: More than 300 people spoke against school closings at a Jan. 26 meeting of the Panel for Education Policy (PEP). After hearing nine hours of public comments, the PEP voted 9-4 to close 19 schools. PHOTO: ANDREW HINDERAKER

As soon as New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein leaned into his microphone and started to speak, the jeering began. When he proclaimed the DOE had to shut down 19 schools because “my first obligation is to our children,” the crowd of two thousand public school supporters roared in disbelief.

Over the next nine hours, more than 300 speakers challenged Klein’s reasoning, his motives and his right to decide the fate of their local schools at the Jan. 26 meeting of the Panel for Education Policy (PEP) held at Brooklyn Technical High School. The PEP, whose majority was selected by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, would ultimately approve all 19 school closings by a 9-4 vote in the middle of the night. Yet, there was little doubt that the panel’s action would end the growing controversy over the way Klein and Bloomberg are managing the City’s schools. “Education is a right,” said one parent as she waited to speak. “If we don’t fight, we’re going to lose it.”

The drama that unfolded at the PEP meeting was the product of years of simmering frustration in communities across the city. When Bloomberg plucked Klein, a lawyer, out the corporate world in 2002 to oversee over a school system that educates 1.1 million children in more than 1,500 schools, he promised a new era of mayoral accountability.

So Joel Klein, a lawyer, not an given the task by Bloomberg to close down public schools.

In Red Hook, parents and educators from P.S. 15 mobilized against the DOE plan to expand PAVE Academy’s presence inside their school for another five years. The DOE claims the P.S. 15 school building is underutilized, a rationale it frequently invokes to justify moving an additional school into an already existing school.

P.S. 15 serves a large population of special education and English language learners, and has received A’s on the DOE’s annual progress report for the past three years. But all of that is at risk as PAVE, whose founder is the son of prominent hedge fund billionaire, continues to grow

That prominent hedge fund billionaire is Spencer Robertson.

The son of a hedge-fund billionaire who has donated $10 million to Mayor Bloomberg’s school projects since 2003, Spencer Robertson opened the PAVE Charter Academy in 2008 inside P.S. 15, a successful elementary school in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Tensions further escalated when the DOE recently announced that PAVE would be allowed to expand inside P.S. 15 over the next five years, even though Robertson has received $26 million from the DOE to build his own school. Robertson’s wife Sarah, the head of the board at Girls Prep Charter School, was at the center of a similar controversy when the school recently sought to expand inside public school facilities in the Lower East Side.

Pave Charter moved right into PS 15 school's building, and it plans to stay for 5 years. It is setting up huge tensions.

PAVE charter may "share" NYC's PS 15 public school building for 5 years.

Those who excuse this intrusion forget that these are public buildings being invaded by schools that run by private corporations. There is no excusing the turning over of public property to privately run matter how often they use the propaganda term "public charter".

The Department of Education released details of a controversial space-sharing proposal for a Brooklyn charter and district school today, and it would allow the charter to remain in the building until 2015 and add five more grades of students.

The plan follows months of controversy about whether PAVE Academy Charter School should be allowed to continue to share space with Red Hook’s P.S. 15, and if so, whether the charter should be allowed more classrooms in the building.

PAVE originally agreed to leave the P.S. 15 building at the end of this school year. Its request earlier this year to extend its stay sparked worries among P.S. 15 parents and teachers that the charter school would stay indefinitely, squeezing the district school.

Privately operated schools getting taxpayer money and using public buildings...not a good idea.

Kind of hard for public schools with limited funds to fight all the billionaires wanting to cash in a good thing.

Leonie Haimson at Huffington Post tells more about the battle that is heating up with the corporately formed charter school parent groups pushing very hard.

Parents, Students and Civil Rights Advocates Protest the Mass Closings of Public Schools

From a link in her article:

Students from Christopher Columbus High School and Global Enterprise Academy marched to protest the scheduled closing of their schools.

In communities all over the country, resistance is building to the mass closings of neighborhood schools.

Instead of strengthening our neighborhood schools, that have for generations accepted and served a variety of students, and providing resources and reforms like smaller classes that have been proven to work, officials are pursuing a scorched earth policy -- as during the Vietnam war, when the military claimed they were forced to destroy villages in order to save them.

Here in New York City, rallies and protests have attracted thousands, culminating in a tumultuous eight hour meeting of the Panel for Educational Policy, at which parents, students and teachers pointed out how the Department of Education and Chancellor Joel Klein had unfairly targeted their schools, putting forward misleading statistics and incomplete or false data.

They also revealed how the DOE was itself responsible for overcrowding these schools with our neediest children -- many of them poor, immigrant, and needing special education services -- after having closed other large schools nearby. The small "boutique" schools and charter schools that took their place failed to enroll them. The schools now slated for closure also saw huge rises in the number of homeless students over the last few years.

Here is the info from the link about how the DOE is overcrowding schools and causing more to fail.

In Chicago, school officials closed 44 schools between 2001 and 2006 more abruptly than New York did: instead of phasing out schools by grade, the entire student body was dispersed at once. When the schools reopened the next year, there were new administrators, teachers and students.

But the displaced students often went into other weak schools, adding little benefit for those students and sending those schools into tailspins. As chief executive officer of the Chicago public schools during that era, Arne Duncan, now the federal secretary of education, modified the policy to follow what he calls a “turnaround model.” In most cases, students now remain in the same building, while most or all of the staff is replaced.

Replacing the staff provides an easy way to bust union contracts and get rid of teachers who earn too much. Cheaper to hire beginning teachers.

It's happening quickly, it was planned that way. There is no time to think or oppose in an organized way. The billionaires involved in the reform process have a huge money advantage, and they have the media on their side.

Maybe a few bloggers plodding along will get attention to the privatization in time.....but most likely not.
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