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Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Feb 22nd 2010, 12:56 PM
The charter school takeover of Alfred E. Smith High School has been cancelled.

Talk about a very big conflict of interest?

From the New York Daily News:

City cancels charter school's move to Bronx space after board members questioned

The city has pulled the plug on a deal to house a controversial charter school in a Bronx school building. The surprise move came after questions from the Daily News about the charter's current and former board members - two of whom hold powerful jobs at the Education Department.

"It's clear the Education Department checked its facts and the numbers just didn't add up," said Dick Dadey, executive director of the Citizens Union. "This was a bad decision that raised all kinds of ethical issues."

Last month, the New York City Charter High School for Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industries won the prized space inside Alfred E. Smith High School, which is being phased down.

Irma Zardoya, a high-ranking Education Department consultant who works at its Tweed headquarters, is the chairwoman of the charter school's board. Santiago Taveras - an interim acting deputy chancellor with the Education Department - was a board member for the charter until June.

How the charter school leaders got the deed done.

Zardoya, while still on the charter school's board and working for the Education Department, told city officials last year that the charter was outgrowing its space.

The hearing to decide whether to close Smith High School was held Jan. 11 - and run by Taveras, who had been the chairman of the charter school's education committee. The decision to move the charter in was announced about two weeks later.

This high school has been a major school of the trades for many years. It is amazing how easily those in the charter movement can recommend that schools be phased out, or that the space be turned over to a charter that will only talk about the trades, not teach them.

Established trade school to be replaced by untested charter whose founder faces ethical charges.

Ruby Washington/The New York Times: Smith's senior carpentry shop. A total of 22 technical shops at the school are scheduled to close.

Citing academic failures, the city has proposed closing the construction trade program at Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School, a 78-year-old vocational school in the South Bronx.

But the school the Department of Education plans to put in place of the program, the 18-month-old New York City Charter High School for Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industries, has had its own issues. Its founder is facing federal charges that he embezzled from a nonprofit company. Thirty percent of the students left after the first year, as did most of the teachers. And despite its name, it has no experience running hands-on vocational programs.

Supporters of Smith, the Bronx’s only high school with state-approved construction trade programs, fear its technical shops will suffer under the charter school’s management and wonder why the city would eliminate an established school only to put an untested school in its place.

.."At A.E.C.I., teachers say they use the building trades as an academic theme, discussing architecture in global history class and asking students to write essays about opportunities in construction.

Someone noticed that a charter school leader also led the meeting to phase out the Bronx school and turn it into a charter.

Maybe the powers that be from Obama and Arne on down should open their eyes and take a look around at the attacks on the public schools. And consider the sources.

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