At Wednesday’s calendar/business meeting, we’ll discuss:
* Your experiences navigating systems for getting help with safety & bullying issues in schools
* Existing complaint protocols and safety & bullying information
* Positive practices schools are using to address safety & bullying issues
We’ll also hear about a blind ranking proposal for middle school admissions, presented by the DOE.
* CEC Business Meeting, 5/10/17, 6:00pm, PS 20 (166 Essex St.)
* CEC Calendar Meeting, 5/24/17, 6:00pm, PS 20 (166 Essex St.)
A big thanks to the community members who joined our meeting last week, and to:
* Maria Bautista, Alliance for Quality Education (School funding & the Campaign for Fiscal Equity)
* Joe Rogers, Jr., Campaign for Educational Equity (Students’ educational rights)
* Jia Li and Kemala Karmen (Parents’ testing rights)
School Funding & Charter School Updates
* Governor Cuomo’s and the state senate’s budget proposals would strip funding from city schools, change poverty formulas…Negotiations in Albany are ongoing (New York City Schools Continue to See Shortfall in Foundation Aid, IBO, 3/17)
* Join a rally at Cuomo’s office today at 4:30pm to demand full Foundation Aid funding, maintain the charter cap, and limit charter aid. 4/5/17, 633 3rd Ave. b/w 40th & 41st.
* The 2014 act changing the charter school funding formula expires this year (With State Formula for Charter School Funding Likely to Change, City Costs to Grow More Than Budgeted* (from $159 million to $220 million), IBO, 3/17). *Encouragingly, the latest reports from Albany indicate this change may not happen, and that the charter cap may remain in place.
* Board of Regents members discussed how charter schools under-enroll high-needs students and contribute to segregation (Chalkbeat, 4/3/17)
“It seems to me that there is something out of sync,” said Regent Lester Young. “How do you have a framework that allows this to happen?”
Regent Judith Johnson made a similar point. “I’m concerned that what we are doing here is continuing to support the segregation of schools,” she said. “I sometimes get emotional about this because I don’t understand why we continue to support programs like this that violate the principles that we stand for in public education.”
* The DOE says the 2018 budget would raise the Fair Student Funding floor from 87% to 90% for all schools. FSF is supposed to provide equity in school-based funding allocations. But the formula weights are inadequate to provide necessary services to the highest needs categories of students. Categories such as Students in Temporary Housing are excluded from the formula; all of our schools should be funded at the 100% FSF level; the formula makes veteran teachers’ salaries prohibitive for many schools; schools often over-enroll students to maximize funding rather than capping class sizes.
* To share feedback on the FSF formula with the DOE, send comments by April 18, 2017 to BudgetPublicComments@schools.nyc.gov, 212-374-6754, or Karma Wilson, Office of Finance, 52 Chambers Street, Room 319, NY, NY 10007. The Panel for Educational Policy will vote on the FSF formula at its meeting on April 19th (6:00pm at Long Island City High School 14-30 Broadway, Queens, NY 11106).
Educational Rights Resolution
At last week’s meeting, we passed a resolution to inform New York City families about students’ educational rights under state law, which include:
* sufficient numbers of qualified teachers, principals, and other personnel
* suitable and up-to-date curricula, including an expanded platform of programs to help students who are at risk of academic failure
* adequate resources for students with disabilities and English-language learners
* appropriate class sizes
* sufficient and up-to-date books, supplies, libraries, educational technology, and laboratories
* a safe and orderly environment
* adequate and accessible school buildings.
The resolution calls for New York City and State’s elected and education officials to publish thorough, user-friendly information about students’ educational rights and provide all New York City public school families with a copy of the publication by September 2017.
Campaign for Educational Equity
* CEE’s blog, which features the presentation Students’ Constitutional Right to a Sound Basic Education: New York’s Unfinished Agenda.
* CEE’s Know Your Educational Rights handout series and educational-rights publications.
* Sign up for CEE’s e-newsletter and consider following/liking CEE on Facebook and/or Twitter.
Alliance for Quality Education
Check out the AQE site for school funding news, including: “Senate Republicans & IDC Stall State Budget Negotiations Over Charter School Tuition Funding.”
Change the Stakes, NYC Opt Out and NYS Allies for Public Education
See NYSAPE’s “Response to Commissioner Elia’s Toolkit“, “How NYSED Should Count Opt-Outs…”, and additional resources to help parents exercise their rights in relation to standardized testing.
* Citywide Council on High Schools Meeting, 4/6/17, 6:00pm-8:45pm (52 Chambers St.)
* Empowering our Communities: Understanding the Purposes and Goals of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, 4/7/17, 1:00pm, The Museum at Eldridge Street (12 Eldridge St.)
* CEC Calendar & Business Meeting, 4/26/17, 6:00pm, PS 20 (166 Essex St.)
* CEC1 Budget Committee, 4/3/17, 8:30am, PS 20 (166 Essex St.), Rm. 126.
* Citywide Council on High Schools Meeting, 4/6/17, 6:00pm-8:45pm, 52 Chambers St., NY, NY 10007
* CEC Calendar & Business Meeting, 4/26/17, 6:00pm, PS 20 (166 Essex St.)
Join us Wednesday, March 29, 2017 from 6:00-8:30pm at PS 20 (166 Essex St.) for:
* Fair Student Funding
* Funding Owed to Schools and Resources Students Are Entitled To (Campaign for Educational Equity & Alliance for Quality Education)
* Parents’ Testing Rights
Prospective 2017-2019 Community and Citywide Education Council Candidates will also be invited to the meeting to provide a supplemental opportunity (in advance of a 9 a.m., April 21st Candidate Forum) for candidates and community members to meet.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org for childcare. Refreshments provided.
University Neighborhood High School will not face a charter co-location proposal, thanks to the tremendous efforts of its school community along with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Councilwoman Margaret Chin. The DOE is now proposing a temporary (1-year) co-location of New York City School of the Arts with PS 111 in District 2.
This proposal will go before the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) for a vote in May. In the meantime, at the March 22nd PEP meeting, panel members will vote on the closure and consolidation of more than a dozen Bronx and Brooklyn public schools, many of which are Renewal schools and are currently co-located with charter schools or anticipate being co-located with or “replaced” by charters in the future. Renewal schools serve high concentrations of Students with Disabilities, English Language Learners, and Students in Temporary Housing: populations of students that charter schools routinely under-serve and that lose space for academic and social services in co-locations. To speak out about these trends and about individual school proposals, email the PEP or contribute public comments at the March 22nd meeting at the High School for Fashion Industries: 225 W. 24th St. in Manhattan at 6pm.
Education Councils: Application Period Extended
The deadline for applications to CECs and citywide councils has been extended until tomorrow, Friday, March 10th. Visit nycparentleaders.org for information and to apply.
* To enter the DBN of your child’s school: The first 2 characters are your Community Education District – add a zero before the 1 for District 1. The third character is the borough your school is in (M for Manhattan, X for Bronx, K for Brooklyn, Q for Queens, R for Staten Island). Next is the 3-digit number identifying the school. If the number has fewer than 3 digits, add zeros (PS4 would become 004). A District 1 school called PS4 would have a DBN of 01M004.
The Earth School will hold a Forum on State Tests on Tuesday, March 14th at 5:45pm. Join the discussion at 600 E. 6th St.
CEC1 Calendar Meeting
Join us on Wednesday 3/29/17 for our March Calendar Meeting: 6pm at PS 20 (166 Essex St.). Childcare and refreshments provided. RSVP for childcare to email@example.com.
Allan Singer, Huffington Post, 03/06/2017
“The New York City Charter School of the Arts is well connected and University Neighborhood High School is not. The charter school, which went into operation at the downtown private Pine Street School last September, now has eyes on the high school’s building at 200 Monroe Street, an ornate Lower East Side Manhattan landmark built in 1902. Last week the Department of Education held a walk-through at the building to determine whether the charter group is happy with the space.
The City Charter School of the Arts is part of a web of charter schools muscling in on traditional public school space. Its advisory board includes Arthur Levine, President of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and Joseph Polisi President of the Juilliard School. Its Board of Trustees has representatives from hedge funds, elite private schools, and major charter school chains. Its founding principal comes out of Harvard and the Uncommon Schools charter schools network. The charter school is already scheduled to expand although as a brand new program there is no data to demonstrate it is successful in educating children or wanted by parents and community resident. They have a very professional webpage, but a webpage does not make a school.
Parents, teachers, students, and community residents are banding together to stop the invasion and possible take-over. Valerie Cruz, president of the UNHS parent teacher association, testified against moving the charter school into their building at a recent Community Education Council District 1 meeting. According to Cruz, “Our kids come from homeless shelters, our parents barely speak English, and yet they’re figuring out how to thrive, and yet the teachers are figuring out how to work with four bathrooms and you expect us to share some more? From where?”
The UNHS PTA is has gotten positive support from City Councilmember Margaret Chin and they are trying to enlist Congressional Representatives Nydia Velasquez and Jerrold Nadler in their campaign. Ms. Cruz does not want to see a battle between charter and UNHS families and argues that both groups will be ill-served if the City Charter School of the Arts moves into the building.
The approximately 400 students at University Neighborhood High School reflect the local community, about one-third Asian (mostly Chinese), one-third Latino, and one-third African American. Many are English Language learners and almost all qualify for free or reduced price lunch. About 15% live in temporary housing. The high school is already so short on space that many students eat lunch in the school nurse’s office. The building has no gymnasium, so gym class is running up and down the steps when weather does not permit them to use the near-by park.
University open in 1999 and for a long time it was a troubled school with a graduation rate under 50%. But since 2011, with support from New York University and Baruch College-CUNY, graduation rates and student test scores have improved to the point that the anticipated graduation rate for June 2017 is over 90%.
Since New York State passed a pro-charter rental assistance law in 2014, the de Blasio administration in New York City has approved 73 out of 81 applications by charter schools and charter networks for additional space at public expense. As well-connected charters push for more space in public schools, will your school be next?
De Blasio is launching his reelection campaign and is at his most vulnerable to pressure. Whose pressure will he succumb to? As part of the campaign to save University Neighborhood High School, the Parent Teachers Association launched an online petition.”
Haven’t we been here before? A timeline –
-August 2013 Mayor Bloomberg forces through UNHS co-location proposal
-293 students, 85 to be colocated to start, 800 total at scale, 116% “utilization” at scale
-student body: 20% overage and undercredited, 23% StH, 26% SwD, 32% ELLs
-February 2014, the new mayor’s administration reverses
-Chancellor Fariña: “We are going to do things differently and be responsive like never before, and that will be reflected in everything we do…”
-Strong advocacy by Councilmember Margret Chin and community: “Over the past several months, we rallied, testified at hearings, and wrote several letters expressing our serious concerns about the proposed co-locations in UNHS…This is a major victory for UNHS and MBHS, and I think Chancellor Fariña and Mayor de Blasio for putting our children first…Overcrowded classrooms, congested hallways, and limited resources take away from a school’s ability to provide a quality education…”
New York City Charter School of the Arts:
-“we will address demand by expanding the scope of choice by creating more seats without occupying existing DOE space” (PDF, p. 6).
-“commitment to securing a private facility is in direct response to the community’s feedback that DOE spaces in lower Manhattan are overcrowded, and new spaces ought to be allocated for new seats” (Application, p. 308).
-“without a great deal of support from families to open and co-locate in a DOE building, we dedicated time and resources towards identifying a private space…” (Application, p. 308).
-the school “necessitates large community spaces such [sic] an auditorium, and specialized classrooms where artistic classes can take place. It would be difficult to run high-quality arts program [sic] in the small amount of time that a DOE location would allow for the use of shared auditorium or gym” (Application, p. 308).
-“[g]iven current constraints on space that LES families describe, in addition to the unique physical features we will need in order to faithfully execute our program, we do not anticipate the NYCDOE Division of School Facilities granting our request” (Application, p. 310).
-UNHS now has an “A” rating, 91% graduation rate
-UNHS continues to serve ELLs and StH, has a 90% Title 1 population,
-last Monday (February 27th), an 11th hour colocation proposal floated
-dialed back to “temporary” as of last Friday, March 3
-pushing approximately 180 6th & 7th graders into this HS in year 1, 80 more in year 2
-UNHS enrollment now at 460
–combined enrollment would be 640 year 1, approximately 770 year 2
-infrastructure that made this particularly unsuitable for a colocation unchanged – 4 bathrooms, no gym, no auditorium, small cafeteria, lobby with pillars, narrow stairwells and hallways…
Maintain the independence of UNHS; prevent the co-location of New York City Charter School of the Arts
* The DOE is working on a proposal to re-site New York City Charter School of the Arts (a Middle School) to University Neighborhood High School. UNHS parents have reached a breaking point (DNAinfo, 3/2/17).
* Please sign the UNHS PTA’s petition to oppose this co-location.
* UNHS was established in 1999 as a partnership between the DOE and NYU to prepare students of the community for college and beyond. Today, UNHS is prospering, serving nearly 400 students with an anticipated graduation rate of 91% in June 2017; a remarkable leap from eight years ago when the school was slated to close due to a 48% graduation rate. Proving itself to be a provider of quality education, the demand for enrollment into UNHS continues to grow.
* Co-locating City School of the Arts and UNHS would add hundreds of Middle School students to already over-utilized spaces. Read more about why co-location at UNHS is a bad idea.
* City School of the Arts should not be re-sited to District 1, as we told the Office of District Planning (ODP) last night.
* The ODP anticipates submitting this co-location proposal on Monday, March 6th (as an Educational Impact Statement, or EIS). Please sign the petition now to oppose this 11th-hour decision, which the UNHS community only learned of this week.
* If the co-location is formally approved, it will involve a Public Hearing at UNHS, tentatively scheduled for the evening of April 5th.
* The proposal would then go before the Panel for Educational Policy for an April 19th vote (not a May vote, as we originally thought). Save the dates of April 5th and April 19th to voice your opposition to this proposal.
* The ODP can also facilitate an optional community meeting to get feedback and answer questions before the April 5th Hearing. We’ll send information about that meeting when it’s available.
* University Neighborhood High School is under siege again.
* In 2013-2014 this school fought back a co-location with the community’s help.
* Now, NYC Charter School of the Arts (City School of the Arts) Middle School seeks to relocate its D2 school in D1, and at UNHS.
* This is the same City School of the Arts that was vigorously opposed by the community (‘14-’15 and ‘15-‘16).
* SUNY CSI (Charter School Institute) approved them nonetheless.
* City School of the Arts was made to promise that it would occupy private space though and not take space away from our existing Middle Schools. It made other promises too.
* “New York City Charter School of the Arts’ commitment to securing a private facility is a direct response to the community’s feedback that DOE spaces in Lower Manhattan are overcrowded, and new spaces ought to be allocated for new seats. Families and community leaders in CSDs 1 and 2 have expressed the urgent need for more community-based middle school options, but without a great deal of support from families to open and co-locate in a DOE building, we dedicated time and resources towards identifying a private space that is feasible for a Fall 2016 opening. Our commitment to private space is rooted in three rationales:
1) The community wants to increase the number of physical seats in Public Schools downtown
2) Our unique program necessitates large community spaces such an auditorium, and specialized classrooms where artistic classes can take place. It would be difficult to run high-quality arts program in the small amount of time that a DOE location would allow for the use of shared auditorium or gym.
3) Private space would allow us to initiate lease immediately upon being chartered…” (PDF, p. 308)
* “Given current constraints on space that LES families describe, in addition to the unique physical features we will need in order to faithfully execute our program, we do not anticipate the NYCDOE Division of School Facilities granting our  request” for space in a public building, per the Facilities Access Process (PDF, p. 309-310).
* City School of the Arts was leasing private space and now that its lease is up or was not renewed (we don’t know – we just got this information Monday), it has asked the Office of District Planning (ODP) to put it up, which the existing charter laws currently require. Why isn’t the school looking for private space again?
* UNHS is physically a poor match for the school that City School of the Arts promised in its effort to get authorized. UNHS has no gym, small classrooms, only 4 student bathrooms, 1 science lab, an art studio with no sink, very narrow hallways, and steep staircases that are dangerous when overcrowded.
* ODP has decided that a school where only 20% of the current school population lives in D1 should be sited in D1. The rest of the 100 students in the 6th grade (the only current grade) at City School of the Arts come from other districts.
* This is the same ODP that came before the CEC on December 14th and reviewed space utilization in our schools. The ODP promised then no changes were imminent to our schools. Less than 3 months later…
* This is also the same ODP that consolidated 2 of our Middle Schools (justified by low enrollment) just last year and promised that the consolidation was necessary and vital. Less than a year later…they want to put a Charter Middle School in a district that, according to ODP, has no demand for middle school seats.
* District principals, teachers, parents, and community members know the harm a Charter middle school will do to our already besieged Middle School programs and 2,500 current Middle School students we have in the district.
* The ODP and the Chancellor tout their community engagement and meetings and their approach to making significant changes to school utilization (known as the A-190 process). This is one of many claimed differences between this Administration and the prior. They similarly tout District, School, and CEC engagement. They tout Senior Leadership Walkthroughs, sufficient notice prior to PEP votes, etc., etc.
* On Monday, the CEC, and by extension the District itself, was notified of this proposed change. Even the Principal at UNHS was only provided notice Monday.
* To formally propose this plan, the ODP has to post an Educational Impact Statement (EIS) by March 6th so that it can be voted upon at the April 19th PEP meeting in order for City School of the Arts to open at UNHS next school year.
* Yesterday we told the ODP that this co-location was wrong, wrong for UNHS, wrong for our middle schools, wrong for this community, and needs to be reconsidered.
* We ask for your help and support in opposing this harmful plan.
Hearing on School Siting/Planning and Admissions Reporting
We joined with other CECs and advocacy groups to pass a resolution calling for a Commission on School Siting and Planning to address overcrowding in schools citywide. The resolution notes that “the city’s failure to plan, site and build sufficient school space is a long term problem that is worsening because of the rapid pace of housing development.” Tomorrow, the City Council’s Committees on Education and Finance will hold a joint oversight hearing to collect testimony on:
* School Planning and Siting for New Capacity
* A Local Law to require the DoE to report information on school applications, offers of admission, enrollment and school seats available
Members of the public are invited to testify, and testimony will likely begin after 12 pm (Council Chambers, City Hall). If you are unable to attend the hearing and wish to submit written testimony, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tompkins Square Park Ave. B Children’s Playground Renovation Meeting
The Parks Department plans to lower fencing in the Tompkins Square Park Children’s Playground, and to date, the Department has been dismissive of community input surrounding the proposal. Make your voice heard tonight at a meeting with Councilwoman Mendez and the Parks Department: 6:30 pm at St. Bridig-St. Emeric Church (119 Ave. B). (Councilwoman Mendez letter).
D1 Principal in the News
PS 134’s Principal Daniel Kim “Wants to Break Down Walls and Empower Students Through Art” (DNAinfo, 2/19/17)
Here’s the agenda for CEC1’s March Business meeting, this Wednesday, March 1 at 6pm at PS 20 (166 Essex St.). Join us for our Calendar meeting on Wednesday, March 29 for a discussion of testing and a presentation on Fair Student Funding!
The deadline to submit an application for membership on CECs and citywide councils is March 5th! Additional dates and the application are at nycparentleaders.org:
* March 20, 2017 – April 21, 2017: Candidate Forums. The Candidate Forum at Presidents’ Council in D1 will be held on Friday, April 21st at 9 am at PS 20 (166 Essex St.).
* April 23, 2017 – May 9, 2017: Selector Voting. Selectors (3 members of each PA/PTA) will cast their votes for Education Council members for the 2017 – 2019 term. In some cases, it may be necessary to conduct runoff elections after May 9, 2017.
See the DoE’s council page for additional information about council membership.
More News, Events, & Meetings
* D1 & D2 High School Newsletter: Midwinter 2017 Edition
* CCHS Special Meeting: 2/28/17, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, 333 7th Ave. (Translated flyer)
* PreK Application Deadline extended: 3/3/17
* CEC1 Calendar Meeting: 3/29/17, 6 pm, PS 20 (166 Essex St.)
Please join us for a presentation on Students in Temporary Housing by Liza Pappas, Education Policy and Budget Analyst at the Independent Budget Office. Part of a discussion on Housing & Education at the:
* CEC1 Calendar & Business Meeting (Agenda)
* Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 6:00pm
* PS 20 (166 Essex St.)
* Refreshments and childcare will be provided. Please RSVP for childcare to email@example.com.