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June 09, 2011

Comments

It's also a structural problem. The majority of schools are over crowded, and their are more and more young people who need to get a quality education. Unfortunately not all schools can give them one, and the DoE has forced better schools to take more kids. I wrote more about it here: http://bit.ly/iiSdyQ

Co-locations have been a disaster for NYC schools. With chronic overcrowding -- a situation that is rapidly getting worse -- we cannot afford to give up more space. Each co-location eats up classrooms with administrative and cluster spaces; many times this has led to the loss of libraries, art rooms, and science labs; and has pushed special needs kids into hallways and closets. Co-locations have sparked bitter battles between administrators, parents and teachers. It is a highly inefficient use of space and resources and a huge diversion from the focus we need to improve opportunities for all kids.

What about the middle ground: a district school that is not failing but is also not improving rapidly and enrolls students from its neighborhood. Often the public buildings that are targeted for co-location have mediocre district schools in them that do not come close to hitting max occupancy but have nonetheless spread throughout the building. The conflict comes when these schools are asked to actually limit themselves to the amount of space their enrollment suggests. No one likes to give up space, but these buildings have the capacity for both district and charters to share and benefit all of their students. Co-location has in fact not been a disaster; there are literally hundreds of co-located schools in public buildings in New York City, and most of them are not even charter schools. Once the politically-motivated screaming and protesting is over, most schools amicably share buildings and work out the use of common space.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Dana. Indeed, it is the NAACP's goal to ensure the best possible education for the largest possible number of students.

Here's a clip from our General Counsel Kim Keenan that does an excellent job of outlining our stance: http://www.educationnation.com/index.cfm?objectid=3A1265B2-9081-11E0-A62C000C296BA163

Again, thanks for your passion on this issue.

Best,

Curtis Johnson
Online & Social Media Specialist
NAACP

I also agree that this is a fair and balanced assessment. However as Gideon has stated colocation is not a new thing for the NYC BOE. There are and have been inequitable shared space plans between 2 district schools sharing the same building, where was/is the outrage over this. I fear that since the charter school concept has been coopted by the right this has made them a target of actions such as this.

Even if charter schools were to disappear off of the map the root problem would not disappear, but i am willing to bet that the firestorm would die down.

Charter schools are not the answer to our problems with public education but they can serve 2 functions 1) serve as an R&D lab for the district schools as they are free of the red tape inherent in the BOE structure. What they do figure out and do well, replicate it as applicable.
2) serve those children they do educate to the best of their ability.

If a charter school is failing it needs to be closed down as well because as you say:
"The overall goal should be an excellent education for as many children as possible, including the vast majority who never enter a charter school lottery, as well as those who do enter but don't win one of the small number of seats available at the best charters."

Finally i am actually concerned with the settlement. Isn't the core of the space allocation portion of this legal action to come up with a space planning exercise that is equitable and transparent. Simply ensuring that this year the district school students get to eat at 12 and the charter school students at 10 doesn't seem to be getting at what this action is supposed to be targeting.

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