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Feb 2012 CWC Letter

Feb 2012 CWC Letter

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Letter WAGPOPS wrote to Citizens of the World Charter School in February 2012. SUNY Charter School Institute was copied. Wonder of Reading.
Letter WAGPOPS wrote to Citizens of the World Charter School in February 2012. SUNY Charter School Institute was copied. Wonder of Reading.

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Published by: Williamsburg Greenpoint on Aug 22, 2013
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03/06/2014

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February 24
th
, 2012Dear Krupa Desai,At the suggestion of your Lead Applicant, we are writing to offer feedbackon your proposal to open two Citizens of the World Charter Schools in schooldistrict 14, Brooklyn, NY in the Fall 2013.We object to your proposal for the following reasons:· No one knows who you are. The first charter school in your network hasonly been in operation for one full school year in the Los Angeles area. Your“Letter of Intent” (LOI) that was submitted to SUNY in January 2012 for your charter school proposals does not reflect any knowledge, insight, oreven a scant understanding of our community, its history, and its cultures.· There has been no public outreach to date. Aside from posts from yourlocal Lead Applicant and an additional parent seeking market research infoon your behalf (“What does your dream school look like?”) on a private,closed listserv of mostly white, affluent residents, there has been nocommunity notification about the schools you propose to open next year. This is demonstrating a lack of regard for our state’s process forcharter issuance, as SUNY RFP Guidance Handbook clearly states:“...SUNY’s proposal review process must generally ‘consider the demand forcharter schools by the community,’ per Education Law § 2852(9-a)(b).”And:“Per Education Law § 2852(9-a)(b)(ii), the SUNY Trustees are not toconsider any proposal that does not ‘rigorously demonstrate’ that theapplicant has conducted public outreach ‘in conformity with a thorough andmeaningful public review process’ designed ‘to solicit community inputregarding the proposed charter school and to address comments receivedfrom the impacted community concerning the educational and programmaticneed of students.“In order for the Institute to recommend any proposal to the SUNYTrustees for approval, the proposal must include evidence that:The community was informed of the intent to develop a school proposal in atimely fashion;The community had meaningful opportunities for input on that proposal; and
 
There was a thoughtful process for considering community feedback andincorporating it into the final proposal.“Please note that seeking input about the proposal is distinct from seekingsupport for the proposed school. While applicants will also be required toshow evidence of community interest in and support for the school (responseto Request 16(d)), that support alone does not demonstrate that thecommunity was given the opportunity to provide input into the design of theproposed school or how such input was carefully considered by the applicant.”· The evidence of community outreach in your LOI is insufficient andnarrow. Out of the three Community Based Organizations (CBOs) listed inthe Community Outreach Addendum to your Letter of Intent: GreenpointYMCA, Williamsburg Neighborhood Nursery School, and Padre Kennedy, onlythe latter is a Head Start Program. There is no copy of the letter sent toPadre Kennedy, no mention if the letter was addressed in English or Spanish,and no name to whom the letter was sent. The letter to the GreenpointYMCA asked only that the recipient “consider and share with parents as yousee fit” the contents of the letter. There was no follow up with any of thosethree organizations.Finally, your Community Outreach Addendum claims that your proposals werediscussed by community blog authors. This is patently untrue. Williamsburgand Greenpoint have a vocal presence in the online world. There has been nomention on any blogs of these two proposals, let alone a mechanism forfeedback on these two proposals.· There is no demand for charter schools in our community, save for avocal minority, some of whom have already enrolled their children in theirlocal schools. The recent two hearings in our district regarding SuccessAcademy Williamsburg showed an overwhelming community opposition tocharter network chains like yours. In addition, by the Fall 2012, our districtwill already have five elementary charter schools.· There has been no venue for legitimate feedback on your proposal. Twolocal parents wrote to you recently to inquire about hearings, informationsessions, or any other venue where they could give feedback on yourproposals. One parent was told that there would be no more informationsessions before the application date, and another was given an evasive non-answer.
 
Your online “feedback form” is buried way below the fold on an interior pageof your new website in a small cropped window that gives no indication ofanything below. When finally found, the survey does not provide anyopportunity for feedback, as it’s merely pre-selected multiple choicequestions designed to collect information for your marketing data.(http://cwcschools.org/newyork.html)Parents have become aware of your intentions because of postings your LeadApplicant made on a private neighborhood listserv. Some parents haverepeatedly requested that the Lead Applicant hold public meetings in ourcommunity to gain feedback on your two charter school proposals, but herefused. The Lead Applicant also refused to work with our elected officialsto arrange a community forum to discuss the proposals, and made it clearthat he would not hear from the community at large until AFTER theproposal was accepted by SUNY. It is our understanding that denying thecommunity the opportunity for feedback before the proposal is submitted isagainst Education Law § 2852(9-a)(b)(ii).· Your information sessions have been exclusive and limited. The onlyinformation sessions that your Letter of Intent submitted were held inSchaefer Landing and Northside Piers, two new high-rise condominiumbuildings populated with wealthy residents. These sessions were notpublicized; the only notification was on a small, private email list.· Your claim of outreach to low-income housing is not true. According tothe Community Outreach Addendum to your Letter of Intent, you claim thatpart of your outreach was to buildings offering mixed- and low-incomehousing. Yet the evidence you submit of outreach (sign-in sheets frominformation sessions) do not support this. Both Schaefer Landing andNortside Piers are luxury condominiums that maintain affordable housingunits for tax abatement purposes. The subsidized portion of thesecondominiums, including the 80/20 mixed-income housing, are actuallyhoused in separate buildings with separate addresses than the location for your information sessions.· Until Eric Grannis and Gideon Stein can explain their interests withTapestry Project, and their relationship to you and the schools you intend toopen next year, our community will have strong doubts about your intentionsand theirs. You were introduced to our neighborhood via a newly formedorganization with undisclosed intentions. While the Tapestry Project website

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