Posts tagged "Promise Academy"
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…)
June 23, 2011
The three schools released from the UFT and NAACP lawsuit this week followed different paths to legal freedom.
The case for one of the schools relied on a broad base of community support, but a single man, Geoffrey Canada, made the case for the other two schools.
Charter school advocates believe Canada’s profile as a well-regarded, African-American education reformer made him an unpopular target for the NAACP. They say the decision to drop these schools from the lawsuit, which charges that the co-locations give preferential treatment to charter school students, weren’t made on legal merits.
“It makes it pretty clear that it’s not about equity. It’s not about the children,” said Rafiq Kalam Id-Din II, whose new school in Bedford-Stuyvesant is named in the suit. “This is about politics.”
Girls Preparatory Academy was unique from the other 17 schools named in the suit because its co-location plan had already received widespread community support. At the initial public hearing in February, both of the schools’ leaders endorsed co-location, as did Lisa Donlan, the district’s Community Education Council president and a frequent charter school critic.
“There was not one person who opposed this co-location,” Donlan said. (more…)
June 20, 2011
An optimistic press release that was later retracted is the latest sign that discussions to settle a lawsuit over charter school co-locations are intensifying in advance of the suit’s first day in court.
On Friday, the NAACP announced an agreement with the Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott to remove three schools from its lawsuit against the Department of Education. The announcement did not explain the changes, but indicated that the same solution could potentially be applied to each of the 19 charter schools listed in the suit.
“Our conversations with the Department of Education are beginning to bear fruit,” NAACP CEO Ben Jealous said in a statement from the press release. ”Resolution on these three schools gives us hope. It allows us to focus on reaching the same agreement with regard to other schools.”
But education department officials said they were caught off guard by the press release, which was later retracted. They immediately called charter school founders and principals to deny that a deal had been struck.
In an email sent to the city’s charter school network on Sunday, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, whom Jealous credited for the deal, said he was “outraged that the NAACP issued a false statement about an agreement that does not exist.” (more…)
May 3, 2010
The city and the Harlem Children’s Zone announced a deal today that would create more charter school space in Harlem — without, officials hope, setting off a new front in the bitter space wars there.
The deal would have the city and philanthropists team up to fund construction of a new building on the grounds of a Harlem housing project, the Saint Nicholas Houses, HCZ President Geoffrey Canada and New York City Housing Authority Chairman John Rhea said.
The new building would eventually nearly double the number of students in HCZ schools without imposing on nearby district schools in Harlem. The convenient deal could avoid political headaches, but it will also likely raise questions about whether erecting a new $100 million building in Harlem is the best use of city capital dollars. (more…)
May 15, 2009
We’ve said in the past that our long-term plan is to expand our Community section to include more voices. Today we’re taking a step in that direction with a contribution from Pedro Noguera, the New York University professor and co-chair of the Broader, Bolder project (the one that clashes with Rev. Al Sharpton and Chancellor Joel Klein’s Education Equality Project).
Noguera argues that David Brooks’ recent New York Times column on the Harlem Children’s Zone drew the wrong conclusion:
In most cases, these schools succeed not because they impart middle class values, (there is very little evidence that the middle class is the only group that values hard work and courteous behavior) but because of high academic expectations and a clear, coherent approach to educating children. Most importantly, these schools succeed because they also address social, health and psychological needs of the children and families they serve.
Read Noguera’s full commentary here. And please feel free to send your own commentaries. We’re building the Community section up slowly, but we are building it up.