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Posted on 7/20/2011
With a ruling expected any day in a lawsuit against seventeen of the Department of Education’s (DOE) proposed charter school co-locations and expansions next year, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio today released Consensus for Reform: A Plan for Collaborative School Co-Locations, which aims to reduce future conflicts between charter and public schools over co-locations.
Public Advocate de Blasio’s eight point plan proposes new State and City reforms that will make the DOE’s handling of co-locations more open and fair to all school communities, both charter and traditional. The Public Advocate’s plan includes case studies cataloging the DOE’s mismanagement of co-locations this year, which has led to increased conflicts between charter and traditional school communities.
“City Government should be dedicated to bringing all school communities together in order to give our children the best education possible,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “The Department of Education’s mismanagement of the co-location process has exacerbated the divide between public schools and charter schools and undermined the quality of our children’s education. Instead of picking sides, City Hall should adopt our Consensus for Reform plan to help bridge the gap.”
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s Consensus for Reform proposes the following eight changes to the DOE’s co-location process:
Reform School Space Estimates
1. Accurately calculate available school space
2. Create an independent school space evaluator
3. Implement uniform space standards with a cap on building utilization rates
Communicate with Communities
4. Demonstrate that the co-location meets community and citywide education needs
5. Publicly display all potential class locations for proposed co-locations
6. Preserve programs for students with disabilities impacted by co-locations
Make Parents Partners
7. Gather community input before proposing co-locations
8. Put accurate and easy to understand information online
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s reforms were largely derived from case studies of proposed co-locations at PS 308 and the Brandeis Educational Campus for next year, which revealed systemic problems with the DOE’s process. As a result, students at these schools could lose classrooms and physical education programming, and face overcrowded school environments next year.
Last year, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and the Alliance for Quality Education released a report outlining several ways the DOE could reform its efforts to engage parents, including amending its educational impact statements and more aggressively engaging parents. While the DOE implemented some of these recommendations, today’s analysis finds that the agency’s efforts so far are not enough. The co-location process requires further reform to promote quality educational experiences for all City students.
Read the full report at: http://advocate.nyc.gov/files/Consensus_for_Reform.pdf