Monday, April 23, 2012

Save Bushwick Community HS--Transfer School

  1. Petitioning Deputy Chancellor Sternberg
    Created by Jesus Gonzalez

Link to Petition: 
Why This Is Important
Dear Deputy Chancellor Sternberg,

I am writing to ask that you grant a waiver to remove 32K564, Bushwick Community High School (BCHS), from among the 33 schools slated for the turn-around model at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

BCHS is a transfer school serving students 17-21 years-old who have had unsuccessful experiences at other high schools in the city. Most students begin at BCHS at the age of 17 or 18, with fewer than 15 credits. Therefore, it is almost impossible to graduate students before their cohort expires. BCHS should not have the standards in the metrics for graduating students at the same timeline as other schools. As a result of the current metrics with which schools are assessed (that does not take into account the unique characteristics of transfer schools) BCHS has been placed on the PLA list.

However, students at BCHS routinely demonstrate improved outcomes over their prior school experience(s). On the transfer school-specific Alternative Cohort, BCHS made AYP for Regents exam performance in the 2010/11 school year. Additionally, the school’s NYC Progress Report highlights much of its success. Compared to the other transfer schools, BCHS is given a 95% for improving student attendance, a 90% for its English Regents pass rate, and a 100% for its Math Regents pass rate. This means BCHS is performing at the top of our peer group of schools in these vital areas. These factors contribute to our grade of “B” for “Student Progress.”

Please work to stop the closing of BCHS by granting a waiver that will allow it to continue to provide such a vital service to students who have been failed by their previous schools. Thank you in advance for your efforts.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Notice: Hearing on Co-locations in New York City Public Schools

Hearing on Co-locations in New York City Public Schools

The City Council’s Education Committee, chaired by Council Member Robert Jackson, will hold an oversight hearing on the Co-locations in New York City Public Schools.  Below is information regarding the upcoming hearing:

  • Hearing title:   “Oversight: Co-locations in New York City Public Schools   
  • Date:              Thursday, April 19, 2012
  • Time:              1:00 pm (*public testimony is estimated to begin after 2:30pm)
  • Place:              250 Broadway - Committee Room, 16th Fl.

One of the key education reforms adopted by the Bloomberg administration is the expansion of school choice options by opening charter schools and new traditional district-operated public schools.  Since 2002, the Department of Education (DOE) has opened more than 500 new schools. To accommodate the growing number of new schools, DOE has increasingly used the strategy of “co-location,” that is, siting multiple schools in a single building.  While some schools have shared buildings successfully for years, DOE’s increasing use of co-locations has become highly controversial.  In many school communities, parents, teachers, students and other stakeholders have objected to new schools being sited inside existing school buildings.  

Objections have centered on lack of adequate consultation with affected school communities as well potential overcrowding and difficulties inherent in sharing facilities.  The most contentious co-locations have involved charter schools sharing space in district school buildings.  In some cases, critics contend that the charters have enhanced facilities, smaller classes and other resources that the host school does not have, leading to conflicts among schools.
This hearing will focus on issues and concerns that have arisen from DOE’s efforts to co-locate multiple schools, whether district or charter, in a single facility.
We invite members of Community Education Councils, parents, students, educators, advocates, and all other stakeholders and interested members of the public to testify at this hearing.  Testimony will be limited to 2-3 minutes per person to allow as many as possible to testify.  Although the hearing starts at 1:00 pm, the Administration (Department of Education), as well as other witnesses (such as elected officials) have been invited to testify and answer questions from Council Members at the outset, so we do not expect to hear from others until sometime after 2:30pm.  

 Please make sure you fill out a witness slip on the desk of the Sergeant-at-arms if you wish to testify.  If you plan to bring written testimony, please bring at least 20 copies.  If you are unable to attend the hearing and wish to submit written testimony, please email your testimony to

Please share this information with any interested groups or individuals. Thank you for your assistance and we look forward to seeing you on April 19th!

Please note - hearing dates and times are subject to change.  For information about hearings and other events, check the Council's website at or, if you'd like to receive email notices of upcoming hearings, you can sign up at the following link  All hearings are open to members of the public. 

Summary Public Hearing: Implementation of Federal School Intervention Models (Turnaround) in NYC (Assembly Standing Committee on Education)

Education Committee Hearing on Implementation of Federal School Intervention Models in NYC, April 11, 2012, 10:30AM - 5:00PM.

NYSED Commissioner John B. King and NYCDOE Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Suransky and Sternberg spoke in support of Turnaround models to support rapid changes toward increasing school achievement.

The Education Committee was highly concerned about:
  1. Lack of transparent NYSED oversight of the Regents Reform Agenda, which supports the use of Race to the Top funds to implement the Turnaround model (including lack of oversight of Educational Partnership Organizations and Local Educational Agencies)
  2. NYCDOE inability to provide proof that the Turnaround model is effective way to improve schools
  3. Lack of community input regarding implementation of radical Turnaround model

  • Commissioner King spoke favorably of the NYSED Joint Investigation Teams that assess intervention needs of public schools, although the JIT does not involve parents or teachers from the school. 
  • NYC DOE cited successful turnaround school, but later Leonie Haimson stated that Suransky's school was successful because it had small class sizes.
  • Assembly Member Benedetto represented Lehman HS on multiple occasions stating Lehman did not have time to implement Restart funds.
  • AM O'Donnell consistently argued that DOE goals are admirable but DOE does not listen to communities, and that funds would better be used to lower class sizes.
  • AM Brenner suggested that Race to the Top funds only account for a minuscule percentage of the annual school budget (the fight for major changes in schools is a fight over pennies) implying that school closures/Turnaround/Restart/Transformation/Co-location along with teacher evaluation mechanisms, and push for Common Core Standards are simply part of a political fight rather than real concern over appropriate spending allocations.
  • AM Hon. Catherine Nolan (Chair of Committee on Education), angry about the Turnaround model at her school Gover Cleveland HS in Queens, was concerned mostly about lack of oversight and accountability measures. She stated on more than one occasion that she had not anticipated or intended school closures when she supported application for Race to the Top funds. She requested that NYC DOE reconsider implementation of radical Turnaround model for September, especially because it is not proven effective for improving school achievement.
  • All Assembly Members present, including AM Millman, Clark, O'Donnell, Benedetto, N Rivera, Brennan, Simanowitz, seemed concerned with unintended consequences of the Turnaround as a model for reform of public schools. The Assembly told NYSED and NYCDOE to expect FOILs for documentation of oversight and accountability measures.
  • However, Suransky, Walcott and Sternberg agreed that Turnaround is emotional but rapid transformation is necessary.
  • *NYSED and NYC DOE left after their testimonials and did not hear the testimonials of the following groups, however their representatives remained to take notes.


  • Ernest Logan, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, pointed to the blame game between the City and State, and that Turnaround is not an educationally sound model to support Persistently Low Achieving schools. He requested State Education Department oversight on local education authority, DOE and Chancellor to follow the rules.
  • Leo Casey, VP UFT, stated that Turnaround was the most disastrous policy of the Bloomberg Administration, largely because it continues to concentrate high needs students in a failure by design model, and called for 2 year moratorium on school closures.
  • Santos Crespo, Local 372 NYC Board of Education, related charter school co-location to apartheid in schools where some students are deemed better than others, and further that layoff of 642 BOE employees had a negative impact on school safety and support services. He suggested a lack of oversight in how Turnaround might increase school crime, bullying and drug use because of the shifting of teachers and BOE employees.
  • Leonie Haimson, Exec. Dir. Class Size Matters, argued that Race to the Top funds should be used to lower class sizes as a proven effective model to increase school achievement. She suggested that Community Education Councils be given weight in decisions regarding school closure / co-location.
  • Paola de Kock, NYC Citywide Council on High Schools, opposed the Turnaround model because it relies on replacement of personnel using "fundamentally arbitrary criteria" and relies on inexperienced teaching force from Teach for America. Further that DOE use of SIG funds is reckless when taking into account the unintended costs of ATRs, new teacher training and opening of new schools. She also mentioned how the Brooklyn Community School should not have been on the list of Persistently Low Achieving schools because it is a transfer school and therefore cannot be held to the 4 year cohort graduation rate, but that it is too late to do anything for that school.
  • Natasha Capers, Coalition for Educational Justice, PS/IS298 in Brownsville, stated that PS/IS298 is facing Turnaround with no clear explanation from the DOE and that using the Turnaround model in a community school is like replacing 50% of your family.
  • Elizabeth Buiss, Teacher John Dewey HS, stated that as a Restart school, Dewey had written a DOE-approved Comprehensive Education Plan to improve their school, but only given 4 months to implement the CEP when the DOE stated they would be up for Turnaround. Interestingly the Educational Impact Statement for the Turnaround proposal uses the same model that Dewey's School Leadership Team crafted for their CEP.
  • Dirk Peters, Teacher Schomburg Satellite Academy Bronx and Better Bronx Schools, stated that Race to the Top promotes opening of charter schools, which has been implemented through the school co-location model. Further that SUNY and State are not engaging in oversight of co-location of charter schools in DOE public schools.
  • Community Education Council 3 urged a cease on school closures and co-locations until all questions presented by the Assembly have been answered by NYC DOE and NYSED.
  • Students from Grover Cleveland HS, Lehman HS, Automotive HS, Sheepshead Bay HS, Legacy HS, El Puente, and others presented their lack of faith in the NYC DOE Turnaround model to increase school achievement, especially because it would remove 50% of their teachers.

Summary by Better Bronx Schools

The Education Committee did not take to the idea that using Race to the Top funding to promote co-location of charter schools was inherently connected to the Turnaround model. 

This implies that folks do not see a connection between co-location and future label as Persistently Low Achieving status followed by Turnaround implementation. 

Schomburg Satellite, although only facing co-location with a charter school in September 2012, may in the near future be slated to the same fate as Brooklyn Community School. Please lookout for negative reports about Schomburg Satellite.