Selected readings on US charter schools
Officials at the Beginning With Children Charter School said they didn’t think they could improve student performance without changes to the contract allowing for greater flexibility and accountability, according to public documents.
The board and its management organization — Beginning With Children Foundation — cited the need for more teacher training days, evaluations that include student performance and longer school days to turn things around.
The K-to-8 school serves about 440 kids and earned a B on its city-issued report card this year, although a large portion of its students is struggling to meet required benchmarks.
Because the school converted from a traditional district school to a charter school in 2001, the board was bound by the UFT contract with the Department of Education.
“We’ve had to carry many of the burdens of being a DOE school, but we could not enjoy the benefits and flexibilities that charter status normally allows,” school officials wrote to parents earlier this month.
“Although we have worked hard over the last year to engage some of our partners to find a solution, we currently face many academic, financial and operational challenges that will affect us in the long term.”
The board voted to dissolve its charter in June 2014. It is asking the DOE to consider converting it to a district school so that students and staff can stay together.
DOE officials said they’re exploring all options but haven’t given the school any assurances that charter students will all be able to go to the same district school.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew blamed BWCF leadership, saying the union had expressed a willingness to change the contract.
Parents cited a host of reasons for the school’s demise, but several said they were troubled by BWCF’s decision to cut ties with the charter.
“The foundation just gave up on our kids. And they also say they just can’t afford to keep the school open the way that it’s operating,” said Zoraida Quiles, mother of 4-year-old Jojo. “This school has been on shaky ground for the past couple of years.”
A foundation spokesman said it decided to put its resources elsewhere.
Source: New York Post – by Yoav Gonen, Additional reporting by Frank Rosario