Posts tagged "Harlem"
April 23, 2013
Regina Dowdell stepped up to the microphone and made an honest admission to the room full of fellow parents.
“I personally didn’t know exactly what the mayor did,” said Dowdell, whose daughter attends Girls Preparatory Bronx Charter School. “I think that’s an important focus today.” (more…)
February 20, 2013
City students benefit from attending city charter schools, according to a new study — but the advantages are not universal.
The study, by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, which analyzes charter school performance, concluded that city charter school students, on average, learn five more months of math each year than similar students in neighboring schools. In Harlem, where the charter school enrollment share is highest, the math gain was seven months, the researchers found.
And in reading, charter school students averaged one month’s additional learning each year, the researchers found. All of the gains were measured by students’ state test scores.
Yet within the sector, some schools did far better than the average — and others far worse. The study found that nearly two thirds of charter schools moved their students forward in math significantly farther than other schools in the area. But a full quarter of charter schools moved their students forward significantly less in reading. (more…)
September 21, 2012
West Harlem community leaders heralded the coming of the year-old Teachers College Community School yesterday as a new district school option for a neighborhood packed with charter schools.
The elementary school, which opened in East Harlem last year and moved to Manhattanville this fall, is managed by Columbia University’s school of education.
In recent years, many new schools have come to West Harlem in the form of high-profile charter school networks that have brought both educational opportunities and controversy to the neighborhood. Like those schools, the fledgling elementary school admits students randomly through a lottery process, and it relies on a mix of public and private funding to operate.
But it also has the widespread support of political leaders who have served as some of the most vocal critics of the city’s charter school policies, among them State Assemblyman Keith Wright. Wright has proposed legislation to give parent councils veto power over city plans to require district and charter schools to share space.
A range of Harlem community leaders, including City Councilman Robert Jackson and Donald Notice, president of the West Harlem Development Corporation, turned out to the school’s opening ceremony yesterday to laud the effort Columbia has made to support the school and help renovate its new, permanent home on Manhattanville’s Morningside Avenue. (more…)
June 22, 2012
A Harlem realtor known for founding a controversial social club and playing a role in a high-profile loan dispute is now entering the world of charter school politics.
Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a charter school parent, thinks Harlem’s political leaders don’t sufficiently support the charter schools that dot their districts. So he has formed a political action committee to help finance candidates who would.
The committee, called the Harlem Charter School Parents PAC, made its debut this week in a letter to charter school advocates outlining its political goals: to raise $250,000 over the next year to support candidates in Harlem’s three 2012 City Council races and local Democratic Party district leader races. The group also said it would find volunteers to help those candidates get out the vote.
Lopez-Pierre, whose son is finishing first grade at Harlem’s New York French American Charter School, said he and two other parents aim to create a new unified voice for parents in a community that has served as the front line of the political wars over charter school expansion. (Lopez-Pierre declined to name the other parents but said their children attend Harlem Children’s Zone’s Promise Academy and one of the Harlem Success Academy charter schools.)
“Elected officials only respond to two things: votes and money. Our goal is to elect officials that support charter schools,” he said. “My son is in first grade, and he’s going to be in a charter school for at least 10 years. This is not about an election cycle. It’s about transforming Harlem and expanding school choice.” (more…)
March 7, 2012
Who’s more important to New York City than Jeremy Lin, the city’s sudden basketball sensation? According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one answer is charter school operator Seth Andrew, who runs the Democracy Prep network of schools.
Bloomberg made the comparison at an Upper East Side fundraiser for Andrew’s latest project: turning around one of the city’s worst elementary schools, Harlem Day Charter School, which his network adopted last year in the state’s first—and so far only—charter school takeover.
In 2011, Harlem Day was arguably the worst elementary school in the city, Bloomberg and Andrew told their audience as servers floated around the darkened, East 60th Street restaurant offering dumplings and sushi rolls. Last spring, the State University of New York charter school authorizer granted Democracy Prep permission to take over Harlem Day, now called Harlem Prep.
The Wall Street Journal reported last June that 40 percent of students were held back, including two-thirds of fifth-graders. Teachers at the benefit put that number even higher, with some saying they thought as many as 70 percent of students had repeated a grade after Democracy Prep took over. (more…)
January 27, 2012
A who’s who of elected officials and Harlem leaders turned out Thursday to defend the Wadleigh Secondary School of Performing Arts against the Department of Education’s plan to close its middle school.
About 200 parents, students, activists, and staff packed the school’s auditorium Thursday evening for a public hearing on the proposal. Just before, officials who included City Councilman Robert Jackson, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, State Sen. Bill Perkins, and Comptroller John Liu all held court in the packed lobby of the Harlem campus. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and the city’s NAACP chief, Hazel Dukes, also spoke at the hearing.
They said the city was giving up on a neighborhood institution by moving to close Wadleigh’s middle school. Jackson promised to call Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott today to air his opposition to the plan.
Wadleigh’s 440-student high school would remain open under the plan, as would another middle school in the building, Frederick Douglass Academy II, which narrowly escaped closure this year after earning an even lower progress report score than Wadleigh’s middle school. A charter school, Harlem Success Academy I, is set to move its middle school grades into the building, according to a plan the city set last year. (more…)
September 21, 2010
Two New York City groups won federal grants today that will give them one year to figure out how to recreate the Harlem Children’s Zone in other corners of the city.
One winner, the Abyssinian Development Corporation, plans to duplicate the Zone’s work practically next-door to the iconic organization in central Harlem. Another, the Lutheran Family Health Centers would focus on Sunset Park, Brooklyn — a neighborhood that has witnessed an influx of students who are recent immigrants and speak little English.
The groups won about $500,000 each and a year to decide exactly what their “promise neighborhoods” (as the grant is called) would look like. This doesn’t mean they have the government’s assurance of more funding to get their plans off the ground. President Obama has asked Congress for $200 million for implementation.
Promise Neighborhood grants are part of the Obama administration’s goal to replicate Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone, an anti-poverty experiment that follows children from birth to adulthood. Zeroing in on a few neighborhood blocks in Harlem, the Children’s Zone offers parenting classes, after school activities, and has started its own network of charter schools. The program has received high praise — and some questions about the strength of its results so far and its scalability. (more…)
July 8, 2009
The next front for the Harlem school wars could be Albany.
City Council member Inez Dickens yesterday proposed changing the state law to cap the number of charter schools that a single operator can open in a given school district.
She was speaking at a protest against the Success charter school network’s expansion into a traditional Harlem public school, P.S. 123.
Dickens said she had the support of state Sen. Bill Perkins, and Keith Wright, an Assemblyman representing Harlem, said he would introduce legislation to make that change on his side of the legislature.
A neighborhood- and operator-specific cap would add to what exists now, a cap on the number of charter schools across New York state at 200. There are 1,500 public schools in the city.
Such a cap would also squarely challenge the strategy the Success Charter Network has pursued of opening a large number of charter schools in a designated area; Eva Moskowitz, the network’s CEO, has said her goal is to open 40 Harlem charter schools in the next 10 years. (more…)
June 19, 2009
A “bubble science” lesson at an after-school program put on by The After School Corporation at Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School in Harlem.
April 28, 2009
Harlem’s school choice wars reached a new height this spring when the Department of Education moved to replace PS 194 and PS 241, zoned elementary schools, with charter schools, saying that local families were electing not to enroll at the zoned schools anyway. A lawsuit stymied that change, but the battle raged on — and is set to continue on Thursday night with a televised showdown between charter school operator Eva Moskowitz and union president Randi Weingarten.
Now, principals on the sidelines are learning from watching the fight, according to a report by a Columbia University journalism student. Kyla Calvert, one of the students behind the Web site about the Department of Education’s no-bid contracts, just published a report on a class Web site about how principals and parents are responding to increased competition among schools. From Calvert’s article:
”I agree with the philosophy that competition breeds excellence,” said Charles DeBerry, principal of P.S. 76, a school with about 370 students in Kindergarten through sixth grade.
“But color copies are expensive. One of these costs me $.25,” DeBerry said, holding up a simple brochure created by some of his staff members. “I look at the things the charter schools are sending out and there’s just no way I can compete with them.”
The number of kindergartners at PS 76 is down by a third this year, DeBerry told Calvert. (more…)