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Despite protests, Eva’s charter gets space in Cobble Hill school

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The city overwhelmingly approved a controversial charter school’s plans of taking space inside a Cobble Hill high school building on Wednesday night, despite opposition of parents and teachers.

The Panel for Education Policy voted to give the Success Charter Network, which is run by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, rent-free space for its kindergarten-through-fourth–grade program at the school at Baltic and Court streets, currently home to the Brooklyn School for Global Studies, the School for International Studies and the STAR school, which provides special education programs for children with disabilities.

The vote came after furious protest from dozens of parents and teachers at the school who had traveled to distant Corona, Queens to argue that overcrowding will worsen as the kindergarten and first-grade charter school eventually expands to a full elementary program.

“They want to take 15 of our classrooms,” teacher Clare Daley told the city panel. “That’s half of our classrooms. Our students need small class sizes. If the mayor has his way, we can have 50, to 60 students in a class and cut our teaching staff in half.”

According to the city, the school has 691 open seats — more than enough to accommodate the charter school in a neighborhood whose school-age population is booming.

“Kindergarten enrollment in this neighborhood has grown significantly over the last five years, so we want to take the proactive step of bringing a new, excellent elementary school for this community to ensure access to high-quality seats for families,” said Department of Education spokesman Frank Thomas.

And supporters told the panel that more options are simply better.

“It’s in the best interest of students to have the choice to choose a good school, whether that’s public, or charter,” said Brain Davis, a member of a Community Education Council in Manhattan.

The Bloomberg administration has made is a priority to expand charter schools, which are controversial because they require space inside public schools, generate their own curriculums and, frequently, do not hire union teachers.

Others complained that charter schools do not admit all students, including those with special needs.

“Kids with serious special-ed needs are not being served at all by the charter schools,” said Rosalie Friend. “They’re also indirectly screening out kids whose families are less sophisticated, who can’t jump through the required procedures like middle-class families can.”

Just attending the meeting, which was moved from Manhattan to distant Queens, was a significant hurdle for some parents, who felt that a local issue should have been handled in closer proximity to the affected school.

“This venue is unfair and unreasonable to the hundreds of people that came out to protest this from Cobble Hill,” Assemblyman Jim Brennan (D–Park Slope) said. “As you can see, you’ve been unsuccessful in diminishing their protest.”

But the panel was successful in diminishing protesters’ hopes.

“I feel bad — the community has been completely ignored,” said Khem Irby. “Initially, charter schools were meant to bring in high-performing schools into communities where there were low-performing schools. Now, they’re going into a district that already has high performing schools, why do we need them?”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling him at (718) 260-4514.

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Reader Feedback

John from Flatbush says:
Great news for Brooklyn parents and public school kids! Welcome to Brooklyn, Ms. Moskowitz.
Dec. 15, 2011, 11:39 am
Mike from Carroll Gardens says:
Somebody called her a vampire in another story. The name fits. Why do we even have the farce of a Department of Education is they are going to dismantle public schools and outsource to people like Lady Moneybags Moskowitz????
Dec. 15, 2011, 11:59 am
Brooklynparent from Cobble Hill says:
The real problem here is that this charter school was approved because it was supposed to serve children from low-income families and be located in a neighborhood where the public schools were not very good. Instead, Eva Moskowitz suddenly was allowed to locate the school in one of the richest neighborhoods in Brooklyn and no longer wants to give priority to kids from low-income families, which she had promised to do. Why the DOE would reward this kind of behavior is a mystery, since it's certainly not something we'd want to reward our children for doing. Hmmm, get rewarded for misleading people. Everyone at the DOE should be ashamed of allowing this to occur. If they thought a charter school was needed in that building, they should have granted permission to a group that did not get their charter under false pretenses. What a heartbreaking message this sends to parents who believed in a fair system.
Dec. 15, 2011, 12:28 pm
Parent from Carroll Gardens says:
Great news. Another good school for public school kids.
Dec. 15, 2011, 1:34 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
It must be so nice to get your way whenever you have friends in high places like what Moskowitz has.
Dec. 15, 2011, 3:55 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
just like high school, the pretty popular girl wins!
Dec. 15, 2011, 5:02 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
Occupy the DOE!
Dec. 15, 2011, 7:55 pm
UWSmom from UWS says:
So sad. Talk to any school in Manhattan's northern districts co-located with (or threatened for such) Success and you'll hear the same stories of preferential treatment for Ms. Moskowitz: of inequity between the freeloading co-located charter and the traditional public school; of Success taking up more space than it ever said it would, ultimately squeezing the other schools to the point where they lose space they were using, feed their kids lunch at 10:30am; must teach in windowless, boiler-adjacent, basement rooms; and cannot grow as needed. WATCH OUT, ALL. Success has expressed the goal of having its schools to go K-12...that's a lot of DOE space she wants, but the charters are only doled out in 5 year chunks. Keep an eye on her when she goes to ad middle schools to all these new 'success' academies.
Dec. 15, 2011, 11 pm
Peter from Windsor Terrace says:


Eva Moskowitz is an arrogant and greedy charlatan
who is using her connections to assault Brooklyn Public
Education . She comes from an ideologically far right
political stance that is anti-worker-we know this from her political career,where many of her ignorant statements showed no understanding of the real world.
Her well oiled machine has started with the planted"great news" posted twice above.
She and her profit making sophistry should be resisted on every front.
We have plenty charter schools-we don't need more.
And she and her ilk should go out and build Private
Schools with private funds the way America has done
before, and lay off our public money.



Dec. 16, 2011, 3:49 am
John from Flatbush says:
@Peter, my "great news" comment had nothing to do with Ms. Moskowitz's machine and it wasn't planted by anyone. I don't know her, don't work for her, and I'm employed in a completely different industry.

What I am is a tax-paying NYC dad with 3 kids in public school (not charters) who is of the opinion that more choices are better and that competition is good.
Dec. 16, 2011, 9:46 am
Oh Yeah? from Around... says:
John from Flatbush--

Competition may be good, but not if the fight is rigged. Bloomberg and his toadies in the DOE have been systematically dismantling our public schools by overcrowding them, requiring our kids to spend 20% of their time preparing for tests, withholding resources AND teachers, then closing the schools after they judge them "failed", as if it was anybody else's fault besides Bloomberg & Company.

Meanwhile charter schools pay no rent, get much better space allotments, fewer kids per classroom and all the amenities hedge fund money can buy...while paying off their investors with more money from the general school funds.

Does that sound like a fair fight? Only if you're a sucker!
Dec. 16, 2011, 10:29 am
John from Flatbush says:
@oh Yea, Its odd that you'd say Bloomberg is "systematically dismantling our public schools" when my experience as a parent is that the schools are getting better and better under Bloomberg.

It really seems like most of the arguements against charter schools come down to power struggles between the unions and the Adminstration. Frankly, I don't care about who wins those battles, I just generally want a return on my investment in NYC schools as a tax payer and a specifically in a good school for my kids to attend.
Dec. 16, 2011, 11:40 am
Harringtonian from Carroll Gardens says:
John from Flatbush,

I am rather confused why someone from Flatbush would think the approval of the co-location of an elementary Charter School - originally targeted for under served children in District 13 - in a District 15 Secondary school building is "great news for Brooklyn parents".

WHICH parents, pray tell? The ones in D13 abandoned by Eva and the DOE?

Also, I fear for the welfare of your own children if you measure your "investment in NYC schools" in terms of your taxes. Is actually involving yourself in their schools too much to ask?
Dec. 16, 2011, 12:27 pm
Brooklynparent from Cobble Hill says:
It's odd that John from Flatbush, who cares about tax payer dollars, would support this at all. Instead of tax payer money going to educate our kids, it is going to the high salaries of the "CEO" of this charter school, and for a million dollar plus advertising and marketing budget. Anyone who truly cares about education would want this money spent in the classroom. If this school was located in a neighborhood where the public schools were poor, it would make sense. In fact, that's what Eva promised, and why she got the charter. But a charter school for affluent kids is simply giving our tax dollars away to pay for CEO salaries and marketing. That's very sad.
Dec. 16, 2011, 12:55 pm
BH Parent from Boerum Hill says:
Oh Yeah from Around...

"...while paying off their investors with more money from the general school funds."

That's quite an accusation. Where are you getting your information?
Dec. 16, 2011, 3:42 pm
Fuzzbee from Prospect Heights says:
You people will be ashimed of herself becauise edjucation is where is really matters around here. Why do all these people be jerks all the time anyway? I'm getting mad and feeling like my dog Mike and running at sticks.
Dec. 16, 2011, 5:49 pm
Tom from Boerum Hill says:
BH Parent...

I agree with both you and Oh Yeah. I don't think there's a direct drain from school funds, but there is an indirect drain from general taxes which translates into less money for schools, at least in NYC where the Mayor raids every lock box at whim, including the schools.

Investors in charter schools (and that's what they are called) do so because of a number of substantial tax breaks they can get for doing so. I think this actually started in the Clinton administration, but it has ballooned with the participation of hedge funds and banks, like JP Morgan. I wonder why those same tax breaks aren't given to investments in ALL public schools, but only those that have private operators like the charters? Perhaps this law could be rewritten.

The real problem I see is the lack of commitment to maintaining our public schools by NYC. The Charter movement is outsourcing, as someone said, and the tax incentives do create a very uneven playing field, so it really doesn't seem like a fair competition, if you think that schools should be competing. And I certainly see no justification for co-locations whatsoever. Oh Yeah is correct about different standards for classroom size between charters and traditional schools, and that they are supposedly able to accept money to pay for space. What's going on is wrong. It looks like the city is using our kids to break a union, and that is unconscionable.

Just my view.
Dec. 16, 2011, 7:33 pm
Peter from Windsor Terrace says:


Yes, the "charter schools' are "public" when they're robbing other schools of their space; "private" when they're paying themselves those huge salaries.
S-o-o-o-o... clever
Actually, they are "Vampire Schools" because they are draining the blood of the public school system.
Moskowitz wants to build a school in Brooklyn?
Fine.
But she should PAY for her own school- just like many
real educators have done in the past all over America.

.





Dec. 17, 2011, 10:14 am

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