"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Boston Cutting Property Deals with Charters as Charters Recruit Top Scorers and Private School Students

What is that smell wafting up over the Charles River this morning?  Oh, it's the stench of corruption as a whole bunch of public schools are shuttered, kids are dispersed, communities blown up, and fat cats in in the corporate foundations get ready to carve up the empty school properties for their corporate welfare charter schools.  
After I reported that Roger Clap Elementary School would be spared from closure, the Boston Public Schools “Redesign” site appeared to be updated with a list of proposed closures and mergers. And now, about 10 minutes later, the list is gone.
We were able to grab the list before it disappeared. Here it is:
  • Merge Lee Academy with Lee Elementary, create a K-8
    Lee Academy would become a K0-1 program and Lee Elementary would operate a Grade 2-8 program. Both would exist in the same building as they do today.
  • Merge Alighieri and Umana
    These schools would merge to create a K-8 in the Umana building. The Umana is also scheduled for a major renovation within the next two years, so the K-8 would be phased in.
  • Merge Urban Science Academy and Parkway Academy of Technology and Health
    These schools would merge to create one school, led by USA. The programs would stay in the same building.
  • Merge Brook Farm Business & Service Career Academy and Media Communications Technology High School
    These schools would merge to create one school. The programs would stay in the same buildings.
  • Merge Excel High School and Monument High School
    These schools would merge to create one school, led by Excel. The programs would stay in the same buildings.
  • Expand Holland Elementary
    Add one K1 classroom.
  • Expand Trotter Elementary
    Add one K1 classroom.
  • Expand King K-8
    Current East Zone ELC K1 and K2 students move to the King.
  • Relocate Community Academy of Science and Health
    Relocate program to the Cleveland Building in Dorchester (East Zone).
  • Unite and expand TechBoston Academy
    TechBoston Academy will become a unified Grade 6-12 program at Dorchester Education Complex, and increases high school seats.
  • Move Dorchester Academy
    Program moves from Dorchester Education Complex to the Wilson Building.
  • Close East Zone ELC
    Current K1 and K2 students are relocated to King K-8 if they choose
  • Close Fifield Elementary
    Students have priority for available East Zone schools, after sibling preference is taken into account.
  • Close Middle School Academy
    Program moves to the current Gavin building
  • Close Emerson Elementary
    Regular education students have priority for available seats in the North Zone, after sibling preference. Cape Verdean SEI students move together to a different school.
  • Close Farragut Elementary
    Students have priority for available seats in other North Zone schools, after sibling preference.
  • Close Agassiz Elementary
    Students have priority for available seats in other West Zone schools, after sibling preference.
  • Close The Engineering School
    Students have priority for available seats in other high schools, after sibling preference.
  • Close Social Justice Academy
    Students have priority for available seats in other high schools, after sibling preference.
  • Clap Elementary becomes our first “Innovation School”
    Students remain in the school but the program gets a “fresh start.” Apply for Innovation School status granted under new state law.
  • Convert Gavin Middle School to “Up Academy”
    Current Gavin students are guaranteed enrollment in UP Academy as long as they fill out a simple application form. Incoming 6th grade students can apply from anywhere in the city.
A BPS spokesman confirmed the list was published prematurely and the information is correct.
Update: Afer BPS made the list officially official tonight, I see a new item:
  • Expand Dearborn to a 6-12 STEM program
    Dearborn Middle School will become a 6-12 STEM program, focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
And while the BPS tries to figure out how to close the 63 million dollar hole in its budget largely created by the $55 million it will pay out to charter schools, the corporate charters are already sending recruiting letters to high-flying students from the closing public schools, while getting ready to put out the welcome mat for private schoolers, too.  Special ed and ELL students?  Need not apply.

The Globe has a story this morning about backroom deals to carve up the real estate before the announced closing even reached the parents and kids affected:
The Boston Teachers Union is accusing city and school leaders of “meeting secretly’’ last week to offer charter school officials the chance to lease city schools slated for closure, even before parents and students at those schools knew their fate.
In fliers that its 7,000 members will receive today, the union said charter school leaders “are salivating at the possibility of leasing ‘surplus’ Boston School buildings.’’
Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teachers Union, said he was taken aback by the meeting.
“I don’t get shocked by much, but I was shocked that they met with these folks prior to a School Committee vote and having meetings with the schools,’’ Stutman said yesterday. “This is an economic decision, and this is a decision based on, I think, trying to give charter schools what they’ve desperately needed, which is space.’’
School Superintendent Carol R. Johnson recommended Thursday that more than a dozen schools close or merge as a way to plug a potential $63 million budget gap in a time of declining enrollment and charter school growth. The system has about 5,600 empty seats throughout the city and the suggested capacity reductions would shrink that number by about one-quarter.
The day before Johnson made her recommendations, her staff met with city and charter school leaders to start strategically planning for the growth of charter schools in Boston, instead of just ignoring them, school officials said. The group discussed about two dozen issues, including transportation and students learning English. Capacity was only a sliver of the discussion, school officials said. . . .
You expect this kind of corrupt privatization in areas where disaster capitalism has used economic or natural emergencies to rush in with its shock and awe solutions, but here in the shadows of MIT and Harvard?  How unseemly, indeed.  Tsk tsk.

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