News trickled down to the Q that yet another Charter School (Explore) is getting a cold shoulder from their newly designated home. Parkside Preparatory on Parkside near Nostrantd is where I vote. That's how I first heard of it, and it's apparently a middle school with an ambitious agenda, trying to raise test scores in a generally lackluster district (ours). Explore Charter School was given a home within Parkside Prep, and some parents and teachers were outraged at the infringement on their space. An article here explains it a bit. I'm particularly taken by this clever picture attached to the Daily News piece:
At first I thought this was a lazy picture, til I realized it was meant to symbolize someone calling dibs on a seat in a crowded classroom. Nice conceptual pic, D.N.!
Here's my take on this constant struggle to allow charter schools to operate in already operating public schools. First, charter schools are public schools, financed with our tax dollars, and have every right to open in tax-dollar-financed buildings. Two, overcrowding should of course be avoided, but there must be a definition of overcrowding that all parties accept - the DOE obviously felt there was room. Overcrowding is a serious issue, but it shouldn't be invoked if it's only a matter of perception. Third, these buildings are OURS. All of ours. They don't belong to any particular school; principals can and should be fired or reassigned as appropriate. Teachers can (if their transgressions meet a very high threshold) be fired, and whole schools can be reorganized if the District sees fit.
What I'm saying is this: conceptually, there should be no problem with relocating a charter in an existing building. Last year, I attended at meeting at PS92, also on Parkside, where teachers and parents were outraged that the Lefferts Gardens Charter School would be located at their underutilized building. They came up with all kinds of reasons; to me, none of them were persuasive, and some were downright offensive. The LGCS has been up and running without incident for a year now, and I hope the knee-jerk reaction against Charters begins to wane. Each one needs to be judged by its merits in my book. They're no panacea, but some choice sure as hell beats no choice. And hey, LGCS has a new website, which bodes better than the old one for a school championing environmental science. I'm pretty sure the internet gets used quite a bit these days in the world of science, though I'll have to Google that.
I'm glad to hear your comments on this issue; I waver on questions of public ed all the time. The lottery at LGCS seemed to have produced a representative mix of students from the district. The bigger issue, to me, is how to get that kind of diversity at ALL public schools. With so many parents opting out - either to private schools, or special schools out-of-zone, or pulling strings, or out-and-out lying about where they live - it's hard to imagine that equal representation happening without zoned family's staying put. And that's another subject entirely, one I'm not sure I can adequately address here...at least for now. I started a blog to express opinions and spark discussion, so I can't very well shy away from the big topics.
Like what's with Dork Klub anyway? The suspense is killing me.
The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.