Hundreds of Brooklyn parents and supporters made the long journey (more than an hour for most) to Newtown High School in Corona, Queens. They came to protest Eva Moskowitz's plans to co-locate one of her Success Academy charter schools in the complex at 184 Baltic Street (near Court) that already holds three schools: Brooklyn School for Global Studies, School for International Studies and P.S. 368 for special ed children.
Parents took to the mic to explain how, with three schools already in the building, the children eat lunch at 10:30 in the morning, and have trouble meeting graduation requirements because there's not enough time in the gym. They also said the DOE didn't take the special ed kids' needs into account in the space survey. Elected representatives spoke about how the charter schools were draining the resources out of public schools.
Other parents warned that the PEP was setting a terrible change in motion and that they would someday reap what they had sown.
A couple of charter school supporters said that a charter school would give children more choice.
No one was listening. The PEP voted to give Moskowitz a couple of nice public school buildings -- one in Cobble Hill and one in Bed Stuy, and approved another charter school co-location in Bed-Stuy.
Vote of 'No Confidence'
Parents have become much more radicalized in the past year or two. Before the official meeting began, the attendees joined Occupy DOE and held their own noisy vote. By an overwhelming majority, the crowd voted "No Confidence" in Mayor Bloomberg's Panel for Educational Policy.
Here's a speech many of them read together before the PEP meeting.
People yelled and spoke over the panel members throughout the meeting. Some wore sock puppets on their hands and yelled at PEP members that they were "Puppets for Educational Policy."
A feeling of lawlessness was in the air. Parents said they had no voice and no representation in the school system. There were many more police and security guards at this meeting than at school board or PEP meetings we've attended in years past.
The Queens and Bronx appointees abstained.Only Patrick Sullivan of Manhattan showed integrity by voting no. (Here's a great speech he made about his experiences on the PEP.)
This may not be the last hearing for the Cobble Hill Success Academy.
District 15's CEC President Jim Devore told the Brooklyn Eagle that "another question needing to be resolved was Success Academy’s stated plan to change its focus from English Language Learners and children attending failing schools out of District 15" to relatively well-off District 15 kids. "A hearing would likely be required to make this change."
For the full story:
Cries of ‘Shame’ Accompany Vote For Cobble Hill Charter School Brooklyn Eagle
Last Night's PEP Meeting NYC Public School Parents
Brooklyn Success Academy Cobble Hill charter school approved, and foes bolt raucous meeting NY Daily News
Charter School Approved for Affluent Brooklyn Enclave NY Times
(Several factual errors in the Times story: 1.Success Academy Cobble Hill wants to expand to 8th grade but only has approval for K-5, and can only squeeze K-4 grade into 184 Baltic Street. 2."The teachers’ union brought opponents by the busload" is not exactly accurate. The teachers' union agreed to supply buses after DOE refused a request by six elected officials to move the meeting back to an accessible location. Many people, including this blogger, took the subway.)
Past posts on this subject:
- Too Bad Chumps: Red Hook, Gowanus Parents Won't Be Able to Attend DOE's Ed Panel Vote On Success Academy Charter School
- Explosive Cobble Hill Success Academy Hearing
- Quite a Brew-Ha-Ha at Cobble Hill Success Academy Charter School Meeting
- Rally Against Cobble Hill Charter School Saturday - 'Success Academy Cobble Hill'
Photos by MK Metz
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