Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Response To The DOE's Position on "Sharing"

Mr. Friedman states in an email to Emily Brown that the proposed co-location for the charter school PAVE is temporary while it secures a private facility. The President of PAVE, Spencer Robertson, in a meeting at PS 15 with parents last week, could not guarantee a time-line . The temporary status thus remains fuzzy because it depends upon PAVE finding another place. This can take months, years or decades. Even a few years would be too long as PAVE would be starting to crowd out PS 15.

Mr. Friedman also brings up that over 600 schools in New York City share space. There are, however, only about 60 charter schools in New York City. Are the other schools sharing space with other private non-profit enterprises or with public programs like English as a Second Language or Programs for the Gifted? It is not clear how this statement relates bringing in a Charter School at PS 15.

With the phrase"Giving the realities of space in New York City,... " Mr. Friedman seems to express the Bloomberg administration's sensitivety to real estate, and viewing most public schools as expensive or wasted real estate.

He follows up with"... each school having its own facility is not feasible if we are to ensure that there is an appropriate range of high quality school options throughout the city." This view is based on the belief that the schools need to be packed with many more students and services. This view is challenged by the fact that PS 15 is in control of the facilities, makes use of the space creatively through allocating class room space to art, music science and social history classes, and that the school was on the Mayors own list of most improved schools.

The solution for better schools might be right under the Chancellor's nose. Don't pack the schools, allow for class room space (in elementary) for art, music,social science and science, and keep the school population small.

Paul van Linden Tol

No comments: