Seung Ok nailed the charter school movement for what it is in this post on the GEM blog. Some excerpts:
charter schools in NYC are not so much a solution for closing the achievement gap but a deceptive horse and pony show for another more ambitious agenda - and that is to convince us to privatize the whole public school system. Imagine a city where the law limiting the number of charter schools was removed. All those years of pent up frustration by privileged parents spending thousands for private schools can be released with one great sigh of relief. We will start to see mostly white charter schools arise in neighborhoods like the Upper West Side. Let's not forget how expensive real estate is in NYC. A public school building is a million dollar gift.
And a unique and surprising thing will happen. All that private money funneling into black and Latino charter schools will dry up. The money that once surprisingly made its way to Harlem and Brooklyn, will support the charter schools that the millionaires' and billionaires' children attend. There is a finite amount of private money - and it's just a matter of practicality to ration it out if charter schools litter the educational landscape; the donors must prioritize their wads of money, and human nature being what it is - they will fund their own neighborhood's charter schools than not.
So the fight to defend public education against charter schools, is more than about space, teacher unions, or a lottery system; it is to stop the manipulation of Black and Latino communities as chess pieces in a game to benefit the elite classes in our society. While the struggling parents in impoverished areas are positioned to fight each other for the scraps of space and funding that has been allotted by our society, the privileged lay waiting in the sidelines until all the energy is sapped out - and the doorway to unregulated access to taxpayer money opens.
So, where will Black and Latino communities find themselves - a place much worse than they were before. Their successful public schools having been decimated - closed and phased out, their struggling schools left overcrowded, and their abandoned charter schools left under funded - all destroying the gains made in the past several decades of hard earned work by so many stakeholders.Nice work Seung - he wrote this back in Feb. 2010.
Saturday's NY Times also nailed Eva Moskowitz for what she is all about in the long run: using public money to set up schools for rich people so they don't have to spend on private schools. I wonder if she will run them as test prep factories like HSA schools in Harlem because if people think they will be getting a Dalton-like progressive education they will be wrong.
What's it all about, Eva? Setting up separate and unequal segregated schools like they did in the south when schools were ordered integrated - what we knew charter to be about all along.
On Upper West Side, Hurdles for Charter School
Published: January 21, 2011The guests sipped wine and nibbled sushi, guacamole and Gruyère — lawyers, bankers, preschool teachers, managers and consultants of various kinds, bound by the anxious decision they must confront in the months ahead: where their 4-year-olds will go to school in the fall.Downstairs, a flier by the doorman’s desk had greeted them with a provocative question: “Why should you have to spend college tuition on kindergarten?” Back upstairs, in the stylish apartment on West 99th Street, Eva S. Moskowitz, a former City Council member who runs a network of charter schools in Harlem and the Bronx, delivered a tantalizing sales talk.
Yana Paskova for The New York Times
I know we are keeping people hopping - and our rally on Thursday just off to the side of Tweed is an important one - I'll go into it in more detail in another post - but if you can make this rally against Moskowitz on Tuesday (5pm) followed by the public hearing at 6pm you may see a biggie - with many West Side activists jumping in - I can't make it due to wife B-Day - shhhhhh!
Download and circulate widely
Jan. 25, 5PM: Rally to Stop Moskowitz/HSA Invasion on Upper West Side
Subject: We need your support- ASAP!!!!
I am writing to you to ask for your support. As some of you may know, my school, and many others have faced serious repercussions from being sited in a location desired by the Success Charter Network. In my school alone, community students have been coerced and forced out- through multi-million dollar marketing campaigns, Department of Education pressure, truncating of the school community through forcible erasure of Pre-Kindergarten classes as well as all middle school grades, as well as gentrification. We have been wrongly accused of being a failing school- despite much evidence to the contrary- including recognition of successful progress (in the top 10%) during the 2008-2009 school year. We have lost valuable classroom space, forcing our students to be placed in basement rooms and loss of our Art Studio. We have limited access to the cafeteria, auditorium, gymnasium, and school yard. Everything that we have known has been turned upside down. In the past year, Success Charter Network has gone after many other schools, claiming space as their own despite total lack of community support. In fact, to the contrary- all affected communities have unanimously fought against this co-location- only to have their voices ignored- the co-locations occurred regardless. We have had to add new skills to our repertoires and new hats to our job descriptions in order to hang on to what our students deserve and should have equal rights to. We have forged new coalitions and are determined to stop this from happening to any more school communities. While we still need help to maintain our own viability- we hope to be able to stop this from happening elsewhere. District 3 schools are still under fire as the Success Charter Network (servicing students from all five boroughs by lottery) is looking to expand into the Brandeis High School building- a building currently housing four small growing high schools and constantly threatening to forcibly come into others (PS 145, PS 165, Wadleigh, etc.).
Help us by signing our online petition and asking others to do the same. District 3 has good schools, and a strong community. We do not have enough space for the students who live in the community as evidenced by severe overcrowding and many school with Kindergarten wait-lists. We have a multimillion dollar federal grant that is supporting schools in the northern part of the district to make serious changes to become available to lesson the load of the southern portion. We need all the space we have in our current schools to accomodate our growing population and support our new, growing magnet schools.
Please sign on, and tell others....