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Parents Union Files Lawsuit over School Closings & Co-locations

Parents Union Files Lawsuit over School Closings & Co-locations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 13, 2011

Contacts:

Mona Davids, NYC Parents Union, 917-340-8987

Arthur Z. Schwartz, Esq., Advocates for Justice, 917-923-8136

Chris Owens, Advocates for Justice, 212-228-6320 x8

New York City Parents Union To File Separate School Closings And Co-Locations Lawsuit

Public School Parents Say Enough is Enough to NYC Department of Education

The New York City Parents Union today announced they are filing a lawsuit to stop the school closings and co-locations approved by the New York City Department of Education (DOE). The lawsuit will also challenge the DOE’s practice of not charging charter schools which are non-profit education corporations, market rent for space in public school buildings.  Parents, students and teachers representing the affected schools held a press conference supporting the NAACP and thanking the organization and its leaders for empowering them to stand up for their children’s education.

The New York City Parents Union statement is the following: (To view the video of the press conference click here)

The New York City Parents Union maintains that, for the past nine years, the DOE has failed to ensure that all public school children receive a quality education.

Under the stewardship of Dennis Walcott, former Deputy Mayor for Education & Community Development, and now schools Chancellor, the DOE has “closed”

over 100 schools.  Since many parents remain uncomfortable sending their children to the local middle school, for example, this statistic means little to them.

The DOE has co-located more than 75 charter schools in public school buildings.  Since these co-locations create new and unnecessary stresses on the education system, the majority of parents take little comfort in this statistic.  Again, the abandonment — not the improvement — of local schools is a priority.  And, unfortunately, there is no greater indictment of the enduring failure of this administration than the waiting lists that exist for charter schools — including the co-located ones.

The reality is damning.  Messrs. Bloomberg, Klein and Walcott have watched the racial achievement gap increase, not decrease.  Fewer Black and Latino students attend the City’s premiere specialized high schools, such as the Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School and Stuyvesant.  Overall, high school graduation rates have not improved.  The New York State Education Department has determined that the alleged academic progress made by the public schools during the past nine years has not been real, and that only 25% of the City’s students will graduate college-ready.  Furthermore, a majority of New York City public school students who enter the City University of New York must take remedial courses to survive academically.

Unfortunately, Chancellor Walcott has abdicated his responsibility for educating our 1.1 million schools students and pushed families to enroll their children in publicly financed but privately managed charter schools.  Despite inconsistent and uncertain results, the DOE continues to push public school parents into a privately managed school system where many charters perform worse than the public schools while failing to serve their fair share of students with special needs and English Language Learners.

The DOE’s own recent School Progress Reports rated non-charter public schools as a group as higher-performing than charter schools, yet Chancellor Walcott continues to create demand and public resources for charters –  undermining the majority of public schools whose success he is responsible for.  These divisive co-locations have led to the abuse of concerned parents at public hearings and in the media.

Most galling is the fact that Chancellor Walcott has now supported and defended the factionalization of parents by allowing charter school leaders such as the Empress of Charter Schools, Ms. Eva Moskowitz, to manipulate charter school parents and students into an attack on the NAACP.

We, the public school parents, challenge the cynical chicanery of Chancellor Walcott and the DOE.  We reject the privatization agenda supported by Mayor Bloomberg and his appointees.  Our children deserve the best education and a supportive administration, and we will fight for all children to receive equal access to a quality education.

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