Success Academy

New York

Supporters, opponents clamor as PEP backs charter co-location

Led by a trio of PEP "puppets" produced for the occasion, dozens of protesters marched around Brooklyn Technical High School at the start of the first March PEP meeting. After hearing nearly two hours of public testimony in support of a charter school slated for Williamsburg, a member of the Panel for Educational Policy said she worried charter school supporters' voices were being drowned out. Lisette Nieves, a mayoral appointee to the citywide school board, defended her plan to vote in favor of the school's co-location proposal against the suggestion that vocal community opposition to the plan should sway panel members' votes. "Even in our last meeting we had about a third who were in support of seeing change ... so when I keep hearing that there's only one large group feeling one way, I know there's dissent that's not allowed to speak," Nieves said. "I can vote with complete confidence to support the co-location because at the end of the day I know that I am too impatient and will not accept that young people who look like me ... to be in a school that's not high quality." About 100 parents and students who attend schools in the Success Charter Network came to the panel meeting to advocate for the network's plans to open a new school inside Williamsburg's M.S. 50. That plan has drawn vocal opposition, particularly among the neighborhood's Spanish-speaking community, that has included both a guerrilla sticker campaign and a lawsuit. The plan also drew a spirited protest outside the panel meeting. "We are boycotting the meeting! It is a puppet panel!" declared a ring of protesters organized by the advocacy group Southside Community Schools Coalition during a rally outside Brooklyn Technical High School, where the panel was meeting. The protesters were referring to the fact that the PEP has never rejected a city proposal.
New York

Other schools without space where city gave Moskowitz a home

By the end of tonight's Panel for Educational Policy meeting, Eva Moskowitz's new Success Academy charter school is virtually assured of having a home next fall in Brownstone Brooklyn. For another charter school that, unlike Moskowitz's, had applied to open there, the future is less certain. The charter school that the Department of Education has proposed siting in District 15 was originally authorized to open in nearby District 13 or District 14, but in an unusual move, the city altered the plan. Meanwhile, the department has not yet proposed locations for two charter schools approved for District 15, and a founder of one of them says she isn't optimistic that her school will open in the area. The Brooklyn Urban Garden School, a mom-and-pop charter middle school founded by a group of parents and educators who live in District 15, applied for public space when its charter application was approved in August. But there were only two school buildings in the district with enough space for new schools and co-founder Susan Tenner said she doesn't expect BUGS to be offered space in either of them. As a result, she said she's unsure if the school, which has an environmental theme, can afford to open for the 2012-2013 school year. "We're still shooting for August, but we're kind of in a tough spot until we've signed a lease," Tenner said. One option the school might have: To open in District 13, where there is more available school space and fewer high-performing schools — and where Moskowitz originally proposed siting her school.
New York

Williamsburg Success charter school co-location details emerge

New York

Brooklyn parents bring concerns to heated co-location hearing

New York

Showdown set for year's first charter school co-location hearing

Many of the attendees who lined up outside Brooklyn Tech for last February's Panel for Educational Policy meeting came to protest the creation of a Success Academy Charter School on the Upper West Side. Back-to-back rallies set for this afternoon augur a contentious co-location hearing for the newest outpost in the Success Charter Network. The creation of Cobble Hill Success Academy, which won approval earlier this year to open next fall in Brooklyn's District 13, has sparked conflict in District 15, the location of the school's proposed site. Advocates and critics of the city's plan to co-locate the charter school with two secondary schools and a special education program will lay out their cases during tonight's public hearing — and beforehand, in rallies set for outside the Baltic Street building. The public hearing is the first of the year and ushers in a season of rancorous co-location hearings. Some families have lamented crowding in high-performing local elementary schools and said they would appreciate new options. But others say they are worried that the new school would strain resources at the proposed site without effectively serving the high-needs populations it was originally intended to serve. Cobble Hill Success's promise to serve low-income, immigrant families in District 13 was a boon to its application, according to Pedro Noguera, an education professor who green-lighted the school's original application as a member of the State University of New York's Charter Schools Institute. "We have tried to take the position recently that we can put charter schools where there is clearly a need for better schools for kids, so targeting the more disadvantaged communities. We have also seen the areas that are a saturation of charter schools, so we want to encourage them to open in areas that have a high need and aren't being served," said Noguera, who will be participating in an education debate this evening in the West Village. "A school in Cobble Hill clearly does not meet that criteria." 
New York

Charter supporters seek kindred spirit to succeed Bloomberg

A screen shot of the web site registered 9 days ago that touts Eva Moskowitz for mayor in its title. Two websites registered recently — one earlier this month — raise an intriguing possibility: Could a charter school leader jump into the next mayoral race? The website addresses tout Eva Moskowitz, the founder of the Success Charter network, and Geoffrey Canada, the founder of the Harlem Children's Zone and Promise Academy charter schools, for mayor. Neither site includes any content. The websites, EvaMoskowitzForMayor.com and GeoffreyCanadaForMayor.com, might reflect mounting concern among charter school supporters that Mayor Bloomberg's successor will not continue his level of support for charter schools. The nervousness may have increased when Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress last week. Of all the likely mayoral candidates, Weiner had appeared to be one of the more supportive of charter schools. "Personally, as a New Yorker, Bloomberg's successor has weighed heavily on my mind," Democracy Prep charter network founder Seth Andrew, who registered the URL touting Canada in December, said in an e-mail statement. "While I think Mr. Canada would be a great choice, we've never talked about it and he's made it publicly clear that he loves his day job." Andrew used his personal email and mailing addresses to register the Canada site. EvaMoskowitzForMayor.com was registered anonymously through a hosting service based in California on June 6, according to WhoIs.Net, which publishes records of web site registrations. Responding to a request for comment by e-mail, a spokesperson for Moskowitz said that she had never heard of the domain. "Looked into it. Don't know anything about this domain. Let me know if you find out who bought it," Jenny Sedlis, the director of external affairs at Moskowitz's charter network, wrote via e-mail.