Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Familes for Excellent Schools Does an Analysis

I'm always amazed when E4E finds 100 signatures demanding more work for less pay and Chalkbeat NY's subsequent article reports it as though it indicates something that isn't painfully obvious. I can garner 100 signatures on a petition in 90 minutes. Not only that, but if I do such a thing, it's to actually help students rather than advance the druthers of Bill Gates or some other billionaire.

That's why I'm kind of amazed when so-called Families for Excellent Schools, well-known BFFs and staunch supporters of Eva Moskowitz, does one of their studies and it ends up in the Daily News. In fairness, the News specifically portrays them as a pro-charter group, which is a lot better than what Chalkbeat does when they blather about the latest adventures of E4E.

You don't need to be a genius to know that they aren't necessarily families, or that their idea of excellent schools is whatever Eva wants, or whatever Bill Gates happened to pull out of his abundant and fruitful hind quarters on any given morning.

Nonetheless, I read with interest the results of their most recent revelation in today's Daily News.

More than half of all charter schools located within public school buildings are overcrowded compared to only 16% of district schools they share space with, according to the analysis of data conducted by the pro-charter school group Families for Excellent Schools.

The group’s look at city enrollment data also shows that more than half of all charter school students attended overcrowded schools in the 2014-15 school year, compared to only 17% of students in co-located district schools.

Naturally, I'm shocked and stunned. Why aren't the public schools overcrowded? I can only conjecture that's because the city decided not to place charters in overcrowded buildings. Can you imagine? The audacity! But by counting only the buildings containing colocations, the astroturf group misleads the public, and the public are likely to not make this important distinction.

Nonetheless, I can think of several ways to alleviate the issues raised in the piece. If 16 or 17% of the public schools are overcrowded, throw the charters the hell out so that our public school students can have some damn space. What moron decided to overcrowd the schools? Said moron should be fired. And if it's Governor Andrew Cuomo, so much the better.

Families for Excellent Schools CEO Jeremiah Kitteredge says the numbers show that Mayor de Blasio is swindling students of privately run, publicly funded charter schools.

“Even with 150,000 empty seats, this administration chooses to discriminate against public charter school students by granting them less space,” said Kittredge, referring to the number of empty seats projected in a city tally of public schools from 2015.

The notion that de Blasio is giving preferential treatment to public schools, though I wish it were true, is a pants on fire lie. As I pointed out, the FES figure does not take into account public schools that do not have colocations. My school has been over 200% capacity for most of the 20 plus years I've worked there. I have very little sympathy for the largely fabricated and wholly misleading plight Mr. Kittredge bemoans. What, exactly, constitutes overcrowding in a charter? And being as charters commonly shed students without replacing them, haven't they got the means to relieve it? Why the hell don't they if they care so much?

The answer, of course, is they take as large a group as possible, keep the ones they like, and dump the ones on the got to go list. As someone who works in a school that takes everyone, from the high achievers to the alternate assessment, as someone who teaches high-needs kids who wouldn't make it into a Moskowitz Academy on a bet, I have little sympathy for the poor rich charter schools.

The piece refers back to the last revelation FES had, that there are supposedly 150,000 empty seats somewhere in the city.  I have no idea what sort of biased nonsense FES may have utilized to reach that conclusion, but if there are any empty seats, Jesus, send them to us. We have kids sitting in trailers, in converted book rooms, in gyms with basketballs bouncing off the walls, and pretty much everywhere and anywhere we can find space. How about giving our kids a break?

Let Eva Moskowitz take the 35 million bucks she raised and buy a damn building. Why the hell aren't we reading about their spring benefit in the News, the Post, or for Christ's sake in Chalkbeat NY, which writes a feature every time Moskowitz sneezes or E4E announces a bathroom break?

The complaints manufactured by FES are self-serving and ridiculous. Why are they able to play the media like a violin while our leadership sits on its hands? Perhaps because leadership is so busy fighting genuine activists they haven't got the time or inclination to fight our real enemies or reach out to make sure the real story is told.

We certainly can and should do better.
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