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Friday, February 28, 2014

Fred Smith Offered Job as White Plains Principal Before a Background Check is Finished. Mistake.

New York State Administrator with Long Rap Sheet Offered Job as White Plains Principal Prior to Completion of Criminal Background Check
FredSmith.jpgConvicted Felon Fred SmithAccording to records obtained from the White Plains City School District under the New York State Freedom of Information Law, Freddie Dean Smith was hired prior to the completion of a fingerprint-based criminal background check by the New York State Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability.
Smith completed a BOCES Certified Employment Application on March 19, 2002 while a PhD. student at the University of Virginia.
Smith indicated that he had previously worked for the Charlottesville City Public Schools in Virginia and the Prince Georges County Public School in Maryland.
Smith applied for an administrative position with the White Plains City School District on March 26, 2003.
On April 11, 2003, Smith was extended a conditional offer to be Principal of the Post Road School in White Plains, NY.
The condition of the offer was that Smith satisfactorily complete an investigative background check by New York State and the New York State certification process.
On April 22, 2003, Superintendent Timothy Connors recommended Smith to the White Plains Board of Education which approved Smith's hiring.
On April 23, 2003, Smith signed a letter accepting his appointment to the professional staff of the White Plains Public Schools as Principal of the Post Road School.
In the letter, Smith certified that he had a Doctorate Degree (since revoked) and that understood he was required to meet the certification requirements of the New York State Education Department.
Smith began as the Principal at Post Road School on May 20, 2003.
On April 11, 2005, Smith submitted his resignation, effective June 30, 2005, as Principal of the Post Road School to Superintendent Connors.
Smith had accepted a position as Assistant Superintendent for the City School District of New Rochelle.
Neither the White Plains School District or the New York State Education Department has provided records demonstrating whether OSPRA was or was not aware of Smith's extensive criminal record or whether that information was provided to the school districts which hired Smith between 2003 and 2009 (White Plains, New Rochelle and Pocantico Hills).
Smith is currently employed as Assistant Principal at Leake & Watts, a private school in Yonkers.
News12 recently obtained a statement from Leake & Watts that they were not aware of Smith's criminal history but that he had been cleared through "the normal channels".
Commenting on this Blog entry will be automatically closed on April 28, 2014.

Former New Rochelle School Official Resigns 4 Weeks After Talk of the Sound Discloses Controversial E-mail Exchange

09A2EE11-A4A0-414C-A9A0-64216FC5F0A3.jpgFormer New Rochelle Assistant Superintendent Fred Smith has unexpectedly resigned his position as Superintendent of the Pocantico Hills Central School District. The surprise announcement came just four weeks after Talk of the Sound published an email from Fred Smith in which he disclosed the existence of a study that New Rochelle school officials have repeatedly claimed does not exist.
The Pocantico Hills school board's announcement offered no explanation for Smith's departure beyond citing "personal reasons" (full text of letter below). Pocantico Hills wasted little time removing the Fred Smith web page but we were able to grab a cached version of his page. Smith was forced out by the New Rochelle Board of Education in 2008 when the board refused to renew his contract, sources say.
The emails obtained by Talk of the Sound were sent using the district's email system and "signed" as Superintendent Pocantico Hills Central School District making them official communications from the head of the school district subject to school district policy on employee email communications.
Placed in chronological order, the email exchange with Smith makes clear that Smith was an active reader of Talk of the Sound and became alarmed when he realized Talk of the Sound had obtained copies of an email exchange in which he voluntarily discloses the existence of a report which compared the performance of New Rochelle High School students from Isaac E. Young Middle School and those from Albert Leonard Middle School. The Smith Report found a wide disparity in performance between students from the two middle schools that Smith described as "shocking".
=========== =========== =========== ===========
REDACTED 9/15/2008 6:44 AM >>>
Hey Freddie,
You made the paper.
=========== =========== =========== ===========
On Sep 15, 2008, at 7:51 AM, Freddie Smith wrote:
Thanks REDACTED. I have been following the website. There are 2 New Rochelle's as far as achievement: I conducted a study looking at the achievement at the students that come from IEY vs those that come from ALMS and their performance at the high school and it was shocking.
F. D. Smith, Ph.D.
Superintendent -
Pocantico Hills Central School District
Sleepy Hollow, NY
=========== =========== =========== ===========
Date: September 15, 2008 10:43:25 AM EDT
To: Freddie Smith
Subject: Re: You made the paper.

I remember when you were collecting the data for the study. What you have just stated has been common knowledge. What has been missing is the empirical evidence. The City School District continues to deny that there is a two New Rochelles. How do i get a hold of your findings? As you already know, the findings of your report have tremendous implications for all our children, particularly our African American and Latino Students. Our children should not be denied justice any longer. Can you help?
=========== =========== =========== ===========
REDACTED 4/2/2009 5:04 PM >>>
I do not know if you have followed the site. A lot has happenned since
we first exchanged e-mails. Things are out of control within the City
School District. Our kids and our neighbors kids are getting cheated
and hurt. Silence for us is no longer an option. Let me know what you
want to do. I hope you can help.
=========== =========== =========== ===========
From: Freddie Smith
Date: April 3, 2009 10:52:50 AM EDT
Cc: Freddie Smith
Subject: REDACTED New Rochelle schools public records request

I no longer work for NR. I do not have copies of any documents because they are work products of the NR school district. I had no idea that you were sharing my emails without my consent to a third party. Please be inform that third parties can not share emails without the permission of the parties concern. My email went to you REDACTED and I was not informed that you were sharing them with a third party. I do not give you permission to share any of my emails without my consent.
F. D. Smith, Ph.D.
Superintendent -
Pocantico Hills Central School District
Sleepy Hollow, NY
=========== =========== =========== ===========
The "Smith Report" has been the subject of an ongoing legal dispute between Talk of the Sound and the City School District of New Rochelle. In a letter to the New York State Committee on Open Government, Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak formally denied Talk of the Sound's appeal of the district's denial of a Freedom of Information Law request for copies of any reports matching the description of the report Smith described in an email obtained by Talk of the Sound.
In his "determination letter" sent to me and to State officials dated November 5, 2008, Organisciak writes:
Let me assure you that, to use the words of your original request, we are not aware of "any data, research, analysis, studies, investigations, reports, or documents that were prepared, compiled, drafted or published by any school principal, Assistant Superintendent, Superintendent or other district personnel as well as any outside counsel or outside consultant from that past ten years that considered, examined, studied, compared, or otherwise evaluated the performance of students at New Rochelle High School based on their sub-district of origin within the City School District of New Rochelle, based on which elementary schools the students attended, based on which middle school the students attended or any other similar breakdown of performance at the high school level based on where the student attended school prior to entering the high school. (emphasis added)
The letter notes that "as required by law" Organisciak sent a copy of his denial of the FOIL appeal to the NYS Committee on Open Government and is "cc'd" to Robert A. Freeman, Esq., Executive Director, NYS Department of State Committee on Open Government.
A comparison of the Smith emails and Organisciak's letter clearly shows Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak made false statements under oath in a determination letter filed with the State of New York.
Smith's web page has been removed from the Pocantico Hills Central School District web site. The school board has published a letter announcing Smith's resignation but provides little detail.
The Pocantico Hills Board of Education issued the following statement.
November 5, 2009
Dear Parents and Staff:
The Pocantico Hills Board of Education has the responsibility to inform the community and staff that effective November 4, 2009 Dr. Freddie D. Smith has decided to resign as Superintendent of the Pocantico Hills Central School District for personal reasons. As a Board of Education we wish Dr. Smith success in his future endeavors.
We are very pleased to announce that Mr. Jay Scotto-Friedman, our outstanding Assistant Superintendent has accepted the appointment as Interim Superintendent.
Mr. Scotto-Friedman has faithfully served our community since July 2005 as our Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Support Services. Mr. Scotto-Friedman’s accomplishments include:
The development and successful implementation of a district wide communication plan relating to the school budget and reconstruction bond
The improvement of our student’s educational environment and extracurricular opportunities.
Mr. Scotto-Friedman’s extensive background and experience with capital projects and community interaction will significantly contribute to the District’s leadership as we begin the construction project.
The Board of Education has complete confidence in Mr. Scotto-Friedman’s ability to successfully implement the initiatives of the Board of Education and the community, and to meet the needs of our students. We ask that you join us in our support of Mr. Scotto-Friedman as the Interim Superintendent and wish him well as he takes on this role in addition to his other duties within our School District.
Katherine Yu, President
David Wilens, Vice President
Robert W. Balog, Trustee
John Conrad, Trustee
Maurice Curran, Trustee
Katherine Yu, Board of Education President

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sabrina Milo Sues the NYPD For Arresting Her As a "Terrorist"

 This is so outrageous. Ms. Milo should win her lawsuit, the so-called "investigators" need to get trained.

Betsy Combier

Teacher who threatened to pull a ‘Columbine’ sues NYPD

First, she threatened to pull a “Columbine” on her own school. Now, a former Brooklyn high-school teacher is suing the NYPD for $6 million for arresting her over the “terroristic threat” — a charge that was later dropped.
“If I had a trench coat and a shotgun, it’d be Columbine all over again,” a seething Sabrina Milo, 35, blurted out in a Fort Hamilton HS teacher’s lounge in March 2011 after a run-in with administrators, according to her Brooklyn federal court suit. She insists she was just kidding.
Milo — who received an award for classroom excellence in 2007 — was angry that her bosses had sided with a student in a classroom confrontation and began venting to colleagues, according to the suit.
“Plaintiff used this figure of speech as a way to express how irritated she was,” the suit states. “Plaintiff was not being literal or serious and had no history of making threats or behaving violently.”
But word of her Columbine comment spread, and Milo was arrested at the school several days after the outburst on the terror-threat charge, according to her lawsuit.
“Why are you being such a crybaby? You’re a terrorist,” an arresting officer told Milo as she was hauled off the school grounds, the lawsuit claims.
“When plaintiff was brought into Central Booking, other prisoners taunted plaintiff and screamed ‘terrorist!’ while they clanked on metal cell bars,” according to her suit.
Milo was so distraught after a judge set her bail at $100,000 and dispatched her to Rikers Island that she was placed on suicide watch, court papers claim.
She made bail four days after her arrest, and the charges against her were dropped when a grand jury refused to hand up an indictment on the “terroristic threat” charge.
“They arrested an art instructor who teaches children for terrorism for venting to colleagues in a teacher’s lounge,” said Milo’ s attorney, Daniel Neveloff. “They had no probable cause to arrest her — they acted too quickly and recklessly.”
Her career and reputation in ruins, Milo is now seeking to nail the NYPD and arresting Officer Greg Evert for $6 million over various civil-rights violations stemming from the arrest.
Neveloff said that his client was coerced into giving up her teaching license after the incident and that she remains unemployed.
“It’s been a very difficult road for her,” he said. “It’s not easy when your name is Googled and these stories come up. Imagine getting arrested whenever you say something like ‘I’m going to kill my kids’ or ‘I want to strangle my husband.’ ”
The NYPD did not immediately return a call for comment.

Jury won't indict teacher who threatened to bring machine gun to school and repeat Columbine

Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2011, 6:29 PM


A grand jury has refused to indict the Brooklyn teacher who threatened to smuggle a machine gun into school and stage "Columbine all over again."

Sabrina Milo, 34, was cleared after dozens of parents, students and fellow teachers vouched for her to the court, praising her as a "free spirit" and a great educator who would never hurt anyone.
"I'm sure her harmless outbursts were meaningless," said Linda Wu, a former student at Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge. "I've known her to be outspoken, witty and never violent."
"She is well-loved and an incredible teacher," wrote former student Michelle Farkouh. "There is a reason such a multitude of students are pouring out support for her. It saddens me to know this might damage her teaching career. She had such a positive influence on me and my fellow students' lives."
Milo was arrested April 1 after three teachers said they overheard her sobbing and threatening to "settle some scores."
Exactly 12 years ago Wednesday, two students dressed in trench coats killed 13 classmates at Columbine High in Colorado.

Milo, an art teacher who lives in Staten Island, says she was just venting in the private confines of the lounge.
However, she was arrested on charges of making terrorist threats - a felony that carries up to five years in jail.
The 10-year veteran of city schools was out on $100,000 bail when charges against her were dismissed on April 15, according to her lawyer, Andrew Stoll.
"My client is very happy, but she's still anxious to get back to the classroom. It's not over until she's back in class," Stoll said Wednesday.
He praised the "courage" of the grand jurors who found no basis for charges against his client.
The Department of Education is still weighing disciplinary charges. Stoll said that would be "unfortunate."
Students described Milo as a quiet, well-liked teacher known for her quirky sense of humor.
Stoll had predicted the charges would be dismissed and Milo - who has no guns - would be freed.
"She is no threat to anybody," Stoll told the News three weeks ago. "She needs to be medicated."
Her husband, 64-year-old Lee Anderson, is a JROTC teacher at the same school as his wife.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

De Blasio Fails To Stem Criticism of SPEEDGATE

No one is happy with De Blasio right now. Why doesn't he just admit an error was made?

This Time, de Blasio Confronts S.U.V. Issue Head-On

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Patricia Walsh: I Worked At The School of "No"

Patricia Walsh answers the question that teachers, parents and children throughout New York City are asking: How and why do "Principals From Hell" stay in their jobs?

Answer: No one at the Department of Education or the UFT care to move/fire them.

PS 106 Principal Marcella Sills' Bizarre Disregard For the Students in Her Building is Slammed By Investigators Who Recommend She Be Fired ASAP

Anissa Chalmers, Gangsta Principal of PS 132, Stars in XXXX Rated Movies

This has to be fixed, Carmen

Betsy Combier

My time at the ‘School of No’

NY POST Feb. 22, 2014
Why was nothing done at PS 106? Because the city and union wouldn’t listen
Last week, after an investigation into her alleged habit of skipping school, the Department of Education finally moved to remove Principal Marcella Sills from PS 106 in the Rockaways.
But why was this “School of No” allowed to perpetuate atrocities for nine years?
Why did it take an exposé in The New York Post to not only unseat a bad principal, but get students much-needed books — and stop them from watching movies instead of getting gym or art classes?
As a teacher who worked there for many years, I can tell you that it wasn’t because the city wasn’t warned. The children of PS 106 were failed by administrators, government lawmakers and union officials — a host of top people who couldn’t be bothered to care.
When I started there in 2003, PS 106 was truly a secret treasure. It was a small school with a solid core, tucked away on the beach.
I was the special-education teacher; the work load was tremendous, but I loved it and took pride for moving children to higher levels simply by teaching.
Principal Arthur Strauss would meet and discuss programs and entrusted teachers with educational decisions made in the best interest of children. In 2004, PS 106 was a school of recognition, achieving English language arts and math scores of 3 and 4 (exceeds standards) in all the testing grades 3-5.
We were recognized as a School of Excellence in 2004. It was truly a marvelous accomplishment — the students loved to read and write! Those were the days.
After Strauss left, Marcella Sills became principal in 2005 — a product of the city’s “leadership academy.”
Deterioration was rapid. You were either a friend of Sills or an enemy, and if she didn’t like you, she’d rip you apart in reviews.
Sills opened state exam booklets earlier than allowed and asked teachers to discuss how to read a passage to help students better understand it, which was cheating. When told it was illegal, she had a fit.
Then, of course, there was what the investigation found last week — frequently showing up late for work, sometimes not showing up at all.
Retaliation was common. When a teacher signed her name to a letter sent to officials expressing her concerns about educational practices that are adversely affecting children in our school, she was reprimanded for more than one hour by two supervisors from the Department of Education. Teachers learned to remain anonymous.
Letters began to flood the district office, superintendent’s office, mayor’s office, chancellor’s office, UFT and the special commissioner of investigation just three months after Sills took the leadership position. But rather than addressing our concerns and dealing with the cause, the staff was reprimanded and scolded for not signing individual names. Now see why! Sills strategically targeted and harassed staff.
Meetings, letters, e-mails, reports to the teachers union . . . all proved to be futile. Every letter, every complaint reiterated her absence, lateness, inappropriate interaction with children, parents, staff, even falsification of reviews.
Sills was never held accountable.
What happened of course is that anyone who could left PS 106.
The transfer rate of staff members soared to 60%.
Then the students left. Parents transferred their children to other public schools and charter schools to escape what they saw as an institution that the city had given up on.
Enrollment declined from more than 600 students to just 250.
A year after Hurricane Sandy, Sills blamed the school’s troubles on the storm. But its problems started long before Sandy and stayed around long after.
To show just how clueless and uncaring the administration was — in December 2013, PS 106 received a glowing report. At the time, there was no mandated gym, no special-education teacher (I had left and wasn’t replaced), no books, no art and no extended-day services!
PS 106 received millions in extra school funding to help low-income kids. Where did the money go? It didn’t go to pay for teachers who left and weren’t replaced. It didn’t go to the payroll secretary Sills didn’t have so no one kept track of her absences.
It certainly didn’t go to help the children of Far Rockaway.
Thanks to The Post for finally getting results and Chancellor Carmen Fariña and the mayor’s office for ending this reign of abusive leadership.
But the question remains how the people who were supposed to care remained deaf for so long. Why do families and teachers flee public schools? They flee when they feel powerless. They flee because of what happened at PS 106.
Patricia Walsh, a graduate of Teachers College at Columbia University, taught for 27 years, and was a special education teacher at PS 106 from 2003 to 2009.

The NYC DOE Memo to ATRs: Field Supervisors Are Coming To Get You....OOPS, I Mean, To Observe You

 Let's get this straight. "Field Supervisors" will be coming to a school where you, an ATR (Absent Teacher Reserve) are substituting, and where you have been for at least 1 day. You are assigned a classroom of students whose teacher is suddenly absent, and this teacher has left no lesson plan. You have no information on the curriculum used by the missing teacher, nor are you given any data on any of the students - for example, how many have Individualized Education Plans, behavior issues and long lists of suspensions in SOHO (Suspension Online Hearing Occurrence). You are walking in the classroom cold turkey, and the "Field Supervisor" is right behind you, to do an observation.

How proper is this? Where is the UFT????

Someone do something.

Betsy Combier


From: ATR Supervision
Sent: Friday, February 21, 2014 10:45 AM
Cc: ATR Supervision
Subject: Important Information Supervision

February 21, 2014

Dear Teacher,

The Department of Education will be supplementing its supervision of teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) pool. Under this initiative, teachers will be supervised by a licensed administrator, called a Field Supervisor, who will periodically observe practice and provide feedback to support professional development.

Additionally, the Field Supervisor will be responsible for making recommendations to the appropriate District Superintendent for final ratings and/or tenure. As a teacher in the ATR pool who is rotating assignments weekly you will be covered by this initiative.

At some point next month, you should expect your Field Supervisor to visit your assignment site to meet with you in person. At this initial meeting, the Field Supervisor will work with you to develop a plan to support your professional growth and job search process. The Field Supervisor will make an effort to contact you via your DOE email in advance of the initial meeting to give you a sense of when you can expect him or her; however, he or she may not always be able to provide advance notification.

NYC Department of Education

Saturday, February 22, 2014

UFT President Mulgrew on The New Teacher Evaluations, 2013: This Plan is Professional and Fair

Didn't Sir Winston Churchill say "“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” ?

President Mulgrew's member letter on the new evaluation plan for teachers

UFT President Michael Mulgrew (pictured below) sent the following email to UFT members on Saturday evening following State Education Commissioner John King's announcement of the new evaluation plan for New York City teachers that will take effect in September 2013.
Dear colleagues,
State Education Commissioner John King said New York City “is not going to fire its way to academic success” as he announced this afternoon a new evaluation system for K-12 teachers that will go into effect in September.
The commissioner’s plan is professional and fair and is designed to help teachers improve their skills throughout their careers. It offers teachers a professional voice in the measures that their supervisors will use to rate them. And despite Mayor Bloomberg’s desire for a “gotcha” system, the new system puts in place stronger due process rights to protect teachers from harassment and from principals who don’t follow the rules. Our biggest concern, given this administration’s terrible track record, is implementation.
The new system came as the result of binding arbitration after the DOE failed to negotiate in good faith with us. In seven months we will have a new mayor, and we’ll have the opportunity in collective bargaining for our next contract to make changes to aspects that aren’t working. 
For now, here are five key points about the new evaluation plan that you should know:
1. Strong due process –Given Mayor Bloomberg’s desire to make teachers ‘at-will employees’and this DOE’s track record of going after teachers, we fought for and won significant safeguards for you. For the first time, we have an independent panel to review teacher ratings that the union believes are based on principal harassment.  We can identify up to 13 percent of all ineffective ratings each year to challenge on grounds of harassment or other matters not related to job performance.  All teachers who receive an ineffective rating will have the benefit in the following year of an independent validator who will not be in the principal’s pocket. We also fought for and won additional arbitration slots that will allow teachers to challenge the process when they can show that supervisors were not following the rules.
2. The complete Danielson rubric –Commissioner King ruled, following the UFT’s proposal, that principals must take into consideration all 22 components of the Danielson Framework for Teaching when rating a teacher. The DOE had wanted to cherry-pick only a small fraction – the most difficult ones. That means everything that you do for your students counts towards your rating, including artifacts of student learning and portfolios, planning and preparation, classroom environment and parent engagement strategies.
3. Meaningful observations –Under this new agreement, teachers will be able to choose the form of observations that they want. One option available to you will require one formal observation, with pre- and post-observation conferences, as well as three informal observations. Teachers can also opt for six informal observations. Under both plans, at least one observation will be unannounced.  After everyobservation, you should receive written feedback, which is critical if an observation is to help you grow as a teacher and develop your skills.
4. Teacher Voice - The new system will allow schools and teachers to customize the student learning portion of their evaluations. Each school will have a committee comprised of an equal number of teachers and administrators who will determine, along with the principal, which assessments each school will use. Only if no agreement can be reached at the school level will the default school-wide measures be used.
5.  Student surveys - The new system also includes a pilot of student surveys, which will not be for stakes in 2013-14. Commissioner King’s plan is that the surveys would eventually become 5 percent of the rating for teachers in grades 3-12. Experts have found that student surveys are not valid in high-stakes settings, and we will be looking at this very closely in the months ahead.
The DOE is already trying to spin this to its advantage. We will be working through Sunday to put together detailed information about the new plan so you’ll have it when you return to school on Monday.
Training the tens of thousands of teachers and administrators in our schools in the new system will not be easy. The Bloomberg administration has failed our schools for more than 11 years, and we can only hope that one of its last acts will be to work with us to implement this new system in the spirit in which it was designed.
Here is the bottom line: The new teacher evaluation system is designed to support, not punish, teachers and to help them develop throughout their careers. That is what we will be fighting for as this plan is implemented.
Michael Mulgrew
Read more: News
Related topics: evaluation

Carmen Farina Meets With Charter School Leaders, But Still Worries All of Them


Chancellor Carmen Fariña sits down with charter school leaders about co-locations

For the first time, Chancellor Carmen Fariña had a meeting with charter school leaders about co-locations, which were approved under the Bloomberg administration and may be overturned by Mayor de Blasio.

Facing a looming deadline for Mayor de Blasio to decide the fate of 28 charter schools set to be co-located in September, Chancellor Carmen Fariña on Saturday sat down for the first time with about 100 charter school leaders.

But the educators steered clear of discussing policy matters, according to principals who attended the two-hour breakfast confab.

There was “purposeful avoidance of policy talk,” said Steve Zimmerman, founder of the Academy of the City Charter School in Woodside, Queens.

Fariña described the meeting as “an open dialogue to hear what they have on their mind, for them to know who I am."


“It was a very productive meeting. We shared a lot of ideas and we’re going to continue the dialogue,” Fariña told a group of reporters who gathered outside the New York City Charter Center.

De Blasio has promised big changes from the Bloomberg years in how he runs the city’s public schools. He campaigned on a plan to charge charter schools rent for space in city buildings

The city has to decide by around March 1 whether to allow the more than two dozen charter school co-locations that were initially approved by the outgoing Bloomberg administration.

James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center, said if de Blasio overturns the co-locations, he will leave thousands of charter school students with an inferior education.


“Can he look every parent in the eye who expects to send their child to these schools in the fall and say to them, ‘The school that I will now force you to go to is going to be better than the school I am taking away from you?” Merriman asked.

Some charter leaders left the meeting scratching their heads about the mayor’s plans.

“They claim to be taking public input,” Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy, said in a statement after the meeting.

“However, they haven’t consulted anyone from the charter school community including the parents of charter school students and applicants. We’re totally in the dark as to what they’re even considering.”

Fariña Meets With Charter School Leaders

“This was an open dialogue to hear what they have on their mind, for them to know who I am, a lot of friends in the room,” Ms. Fariña said following the meeting during a brief chat with reporters on a Lower Manhattan sidewalk. “It was a very productive meeting. We shared a lot of ideas and we’re going to continue to dialogue.”
Ms. Fariña — and some of the charter officials who attended the meeting — said there was no policy discussed.
“There were no decisions made today, no statements of policy, but a lot of good will generated, and a really good feeling that there is a lot of things that we are going to find common ground in,” the chancellor said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has come under fire from many supporters of charter schools who say Mr. de Blasio’s administration isn’t supportive of charters. The mayor has discussed charging rent to some charter schools that can afford to pay, and he has voiced concern about charters that are co-located with traditional public schools.
James Merriman, chief executive officer of the New York City Charter School Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping charter schools flourish, described the meeting as “productive.” The meeting was closed to members of the media.
More than two dozen space-sharing arrangements for charter schools – known as co-locations – were approved by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration last year, and the de Blasio administration has yet to say publicly whether it will move forward with them.
Mr. Merriman said he had a direct question for the mayor: “Can he look every parent in the eye who expects to send their child to these schools in the fall and say to them, ‘The school that I will now force you to go to is going to be better than the school I am taking away from you and that is your choice?’”
Mr. Merriman said “not a single” co-location should be rolled back. “It is now time to let those schools open their doors,” he said.
Mr. Merriman declined to say whether he articulated that message directly to the chancellor. He said he didn’t know how the administration would rule on the pending co-locations. He said he believed the mayor, not the chancellor, would make the final decision on this issue.
As charter officials exited the meeting, one after another described the meeting as positive and productive. One official said there was a purposeful avoidance of policy talk.
In an email, Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy, said she hoped the chancellor will, moving forward, convince the mayor not to “evict” thousands of children from their schools.
“There is a lack of transparency in their decision-making regarding reconsidering charter school co-location,” she said. “They claim to be taking public input. However, they haven’t consulted anyone from the charter school community including the parents of charter school students and applicants. We’re totally in the dark as to what they’re even considering.”
Ms. Moskowitz’s critical comment was a stark departure from the remarks of the chancellor and the other officials who attended the meeting.
Ms. Fariña told reporters the meeting was “about how do we work together, how do we lessen the rhetoric around the stuff that’s happening now and moving forward it’s a new day.”
Asked what her message is to members of the public who are skeptical of whether the de Blasio administration is supportive of charters, Ms. Fariña said, “My message to the public is that all New York City children are our children and whatever we do to work together makes life better for everybody.”

Eva Moskowitz

Eva Moskowitz is especially worried about her Success Academy City Hall*:

"Demand for great schools far outpaces supply; there are waiting lists at schools across Lower Manhattan and many of the strong schools are overcrowded. In recent years, one elementary school building on the east side of Lower Manhattan has been operating at more than 200 children over capacity. Not every building, however, lacks space. The Murry Bergtraum facility on Pearl Street — where Success Academy City Hall* will open in August 2014 — has hundreds of seats opening up during the coming years. A desirable new school at this site will attract families from the overcrowded zones, alleviating the incredible burden on those school communities.

Gifted and Talented programs are a wonderful option but can be out of reach, and many families cannot afford to move out of the city or pay private school tuitions. Parents in Lower Manhattan deserve as many affordable options as possible.

Success Academy City Hall* is opening to meet parent demand and provide families with one more excellent school option."