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Eva Moskowitz letter to Arne Duncan

Eva Moskowitz letter to Arne Duncan

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Published by GothamSchools.org
A letter from Success Academy Charter School CEO Eva Moskowitz to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, complaining about new federal rule that would prohibit her schools from giving preference to English language learners.
A letter from Success Academy Charter School CEO Eva Moskowitz to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, complaining about new federal rule that would prohibit her schools from giving preference to English language learners.

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Published by: GothamSchools.org on Sep 05, 2013
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09/19/2013

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April12,2013ArneDuncanSecretaryofEducation400MarylandAvenueSWWashington,DC20202DearSecretaryDuncan:Iwritetobringamatterofgraveandimmediateconcerntoyourattention.TheDepartmentofEducationhasadvisedusthatthepreferenceSuccessAcademyCharterSchools(“SuccessAcademy”)givestoEnglishLanguageLearners(“ELLs”)likelyviolatestheFederalCharterSchoolsProgram(“CSP”)Grantwereceive.Accordingly,theDOEhasorderedustostopspendingourCSPfundseffectiveimmediately.TheDepartment’spositionisbothlegallyandmorallywrong.Languagebarrierscausestudentsfromnon-English-speakingfamiliestoapplyatlesserthanaveragerates.Consequently,SuccessAcademyhasforseveralyearsgivenapreferenceinitsstudentlotteriestoELLs.Infact,NewYorkStatelawrequiresustomakegoodfaitheffortstoenrollELLsatratessimilartoDistrictschools.NYEducationLaw§§2852(9-a)(b)(i);2851(4)(e);2854(2)(a).GiventhisprovisionofNewYorkStatelaw,theFederalLawgoverningCSPgrantscaneasilybeinterpretedtopermitanELLpreference.20USC§7221i(1)(K).TheDepartment,however,isthreateningtowithdrawmillionsofdollarsinfederalsupporttopenalizeusforprovidingthispreference.Thisisunconscionablybadpolicy,particularlyatatimewhenthereisanationalconcernaboutmeetingtheneedsofimmigrantfamiliesinthiscountry.Moreover,itimposesacruelSophie’schoiceonSuccessAcademy.EitherwemustabandonourELLpreference,andthereforeservefewerstudentsfromthisneedypopulation,orwemustcutmillionsofdollarsfromourprogram,whichwillharmmostofalltheseverysameneedystudentswhomostrequiretheextraresourcesandrobustprogrammingSuccessAcademyoffers.BecausewewererecentlyadvisedoftheDepartment’sposition,wehavealreadytoldfamiliesthatadmissionsgrantedpursuanttoanELLpreferencearesubjecttotheDepartment’sconsent.However,ifinfactweareactuallygoingtodenyadmissionstostudentsgrantedanELLpreference,itisonlyfairtothosefamiliesthatweadvisethemsoonsothattheycanmakeotherplans.WeintendtodosoonApril19
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andtoapplysimultaneouslytoourauthorizertoeliminateourELLpreference.Whilewedonotwishtodoso,themillionsofdollarsinfundingthatyourDepartmentisthreateningtowithdrawisagunpointedatourhead.WeurgeyoutochangetheDepartment’sill-consideredpolicyimmediatelybeforeweareforcedtotakethisdrasticstep.Itwilldountolddamagetothecharterschoolmovementand

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