Friday, January 21, 2011

What Is It With School 'Co-locations' in New York City?

Across the city, the Department of Educations is "co-locating" schools inside of other schools -- cramming two or more schools into a space designed for one.

Instead of being excited about a new school in the neighborhood, parents are coming to dread it because the new school will cannibalize the existing one, draining resources and facilities from the original school's students and causing a two tier system -- one with all the old stuff and one with the shiny new furniture and half ownership of the original school's lab, gym, cafeteria and library.

Parents booed the new Schools Chancellor Cathie Black at Brooklyn Tech Wednesday night as the Panel for Educational Policy voted to allow a new Millennium High School to open on the John Jay campus. It appears likely that Ms. Black had no idea why people were booing or what they were upset about.

 P.S. 15 in Red Hook
Some parents are beginning to suspect that the Mayor and others actually want to destroy functioning public schools, like Red Hook's P.S. 15, infested with the PAVE Academy charter school for another two-and-a-half years; or P.S. 316 in Crown Heights, trying to fend off a charter school that will undermine one of the best educational options in District 17. (Read a letter posted in the Brooklynian here.)

Or like P.S. 9, where parent are protesting the plan to move in Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School. One parent told the Brooklyn Eagle, “We already have some gym classes in the auditorium. The kids have to do their laps around the seats."

City Massages the Numbers

In many cases the city uses suspect school utilization figures to imply there's more room at the target school than actually exists: at P.S. 15, with a large percentage of special needs kids, the city didn't account for the 37 percent of students needing services like speech or occupational therapy and simply did away with those facilities. At P.S. 316, the city's enrollment counts don't match the number of students actually enrolled.

According to Prospect Heights Patch, Kim Wong, of DOE’s Office of Portfolio Planning, told parents at P.S. 316 that DoE administrators “do not consider music, art and science rooms to be absolutely necessary.” But this understates the problem -- Parents and administrators said the two schools already in the building "are already struggling to share the library, gym and cafeteria, making the addition of a third school a logistical nightmare."

A study by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and the Alliance for Quality Education says school closings and the practice of co-location "can disrupt students’ education and decrease their access to school facilities such as classrooms, gymnasiums and cafeterias." (NY Daily News

How would City Hall function if we co-located the Brooklyn and Queens Borough Halls inside its walls? How about if we co-located Pfizer inside of Google?

Things just wouldn't work very well, would they?

Photo courtesy of Google Maps

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.


Anonymous said...

I is really up to Bill Gates. Ask him.

Anonymous said...

Back when New York City schools were the envy of the country, it would have been considered insane to disrupt the functioning of the schools in this way.