Cobble Hill parents vow to fight Moskowitz’s charter school

The Brooklyn Paper
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The city wants to give one third of a formerly struggling Cobble Hill high school to a high-performing charter school — but parents are already fighting the co-location plan.

Under the plan, the Baltic and Court street school — which is home to Brooklyn School for Global Studies and the School for International Studies — would house grades K-4 of a new school operated by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz’s Success Charter Network.

“This neighborhood needs another elementary school, and we believe that locating here will … provide a stable, high-quality option for students and parents,” said Frank Thomas, a spokesman for the Department of Education.

But parents are fighting plan, saying that teachers and students at the global studies school — which this year rose from an F-rating to a B — will have to compete with the new charter school for classroom, cafeteria and gym space.

“They’ll have to push students into a clump,” Pamela Bynoe, president of the Parent Teacher Association at the Brooklyn School for Global Studies. “I’m not upset they’re coming to the area — I’m just upset they’re coming to this building.”

Parents with students at the site — which also houses Star School, a program for students with developmental disabilities — contend that it doesn’t make sense, demographically, for 5-year-olds to share space with 18-year-olds.

But Moskowitz disagrees. Her public charter school accepts students via lottery and offers education “independent from bureaucracy,” she said. To make sure everyone knows it, Moskowitz has raised millions for her Success Charter Network, a small portion of which has been spent on lobbying and to hire an outside public relations firm.

The city notes that the “under-utilized” building has 690 available seats — about 35 more than the MS 447 building on Dean Street, which last week fought the same proposal on the grounds that the school would hinder its well-respected autism program.

Both battles highlight a double standard that strikes at the heart of Brooklyn’s charter school phenomena: Parents generally want them in their neighborhood — just not on their turf.

If a recent survey — circulated by Success Charter Network — is to be believed, about three-fourths of Cobble Hill parents “support” such schools in the neighborhood.

“Our community would benefit tremendously from a new school option,” points out parent Eliza Rossman. “We moved to Brooklyn because it seemed like a great place to raise children.”

The news comes after enrollment at grade schools in the neighborhood spiked — and a few months after Brooklyn Prospect Charter School announced it would opened a several blocks away on Douglass and Third streets.

Despite parent opposition, Joseph O’Brien — principal of Brooklyn School for Global Studies — said he welcomed the charter school, saying it could potentially turn the building into a “one-stop shopping”-style education with grades K-12.

“We can work together to create an oasis of learning,” he said. “It won’t be easy but it’s worthwhile.”

The city “hasn’t addressed” where grades 4-8 of the charter school will go — but said the MS 447 building is the only other option in the neighborhood.

That’s why MS 447 parents say they’ll keep fighting, too.

“We’re not letting up,” said Michelle Ifill-Williams, that school’s PTA president. “We’re joining forces.”

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018: Headline was re-written to match the file photo better.
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Reasonable discourse

NYCparent from NYC says:
"The city wants to give one third of a formerly-struggling Cobble Hill high school to a high-performing charter school" --

How does anyone know it's "high-performing" until it's been up and "performing" for a few years?! Oh wait, Eva guarantees high performance by pushing out any low performers.
Oct. 28, 2011, 8:41 am
Carl from Cobble Hill says:
ONLY in New York City do they allow charter schools to take over space in regular public schools! The original reason they're allowed to accept outside money is to pay for their buildings! Whoever said in last week's story that this is all about privatizing public education was on the nose! But it's also about destroying the educations of most of the kids in this city in order to do that privatization! Bloomberg is a monster.
Oct. 28, 2011, 11:58 am
antonio from williamsburg says:
Eva Moskowitz gets whatever she wants. She is planning on opening a school in Williamsburg and the rumors are all over the place that the suits at Tweed are planning to close and/or move whatever schools she wants to free up space for her. Parents need to unite and let the Mayor and Moskowitz that enogh is enough!
Oct. 28, 2011, 5:57 pm
greenfield from brooklyn says:
I want this school in Brooklyn. Why on earth would anyone fight this?
Oct. 28, 2011, 8:14 pm
ChickenUnderwear from Park Slope says:
Lets even the playing field and give the PTA at 447 16 Grand to hire a lobbyist.
Oct. 29, 2011, 3:25 am
Tony from ? says:
Charter schools are great, let the unionized failure teachers find another job
Oct. 29, 2011, 8:05 am
Success Charter Teacher from Bedford-Stuyvesant says:
I teach at one of Eva's schools after teaching for two years at a regular zoned DOE school. I have never worked with such dedicated, hardworking professionals in my life. I learned more the first month of this job than two years at the DOE. Because of the level of accountability, resources, extensive training and evaluation, and rigorous curriculum, most teachers push their class up two grade levels within the school year, and the children love every second of it. Don't let liberal politics interfere with the choice you make for children. And this is coming from a liberal. Stop protesting and find another cause.
Oct. 29, 2011, 8:53 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Again it must be said that the comments section of Brooklyn Paper would be greatly enhanced if pseudonymity and anonymity were avoided, possibly by partnering with Facebook the way NY Post has.

Can anyone provide real statistics and analysis as to why [or why not] Moskowitz's schools 'succeed' [or not] in comparison to other schools. And can we get it from objective sources, and not from another compromised individual earning a paycheck from Moskowitz and feigning "liberalism" while urging solutions other than liberalism. What is up with Brooklyn Paper that it continues to attract conservative bots that are now passing themselves off as "liberals" but only to attack "liberals"? The readers need REAL play-by-play of how the issue and situation stands, and not oversimplifications from, egad, a teacher no less!
Oct. 29, 2011, 10:02 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
NYCParent attributes the success of Moskowitz's schools to displacement of under-performers than the placement of successful students. Is there any factual basis for this argument? Because, if it is true, I would say that blows enormous holes in the arguments by Tony from ? [oh, how clever and ironic] and "Success Charter Teacher" [reads like a hustle].
Oct. 29, 2011, 10:05 am
ChickenUnderwear from Park Slope says:
Maybe "Success Charter Teacher from Bedford-Stuyvesant" in on the payroll of the Eva's $16,000 high-powered lobbyist
Oct. 29, 2011, 12:38 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I wish the best of luck for those fighting this charter school. Why do their needs outweigh the needs of public schools? I guess anything can happen when you have friends in high places. Also I don't see why Moskowitz can't just find another place to place her charter school rather than where a public school stand. The reason why the UFT and NAACP are teaming up to fight this is mainly because the public schools hardly even get equal space to use the same facility when the charter schools get the use them more. One other thing, if Moskowitz thinks her schools are so great, then how about she pays for them with her own wallet rather than use the taxpayers seeing that these are private schools? Then again, Bloomberg never met a rich buddy he said he didn't like.
Oct. 29, 2011, 6:08 pm
Tony from From you A says:
hEY Dennis sinneD, yes sure you love the NY Post
Oct. 29, 2011, 9:02 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Well, actually, I despise the NY Post. And with so many people out of power right now, and snowed in, the best possible use I can think of for the NY Post is to kindle long-defunct fireplaces and to fortify dwindling restroom supplies. But I often find that the comments section in the NY Post is occasionally as good as the comments section in the NY Times. The reason in the latter is that comments are moderated, and the reason in the former is that commenting via Facebook identifies parties--one of the great things celebrated about the Internet all these years has been an ugly handicap if you ask me, namely that people can "be free" and comment from behind anonymity and pseudonymity. But letting people say "what's on their minds" has revealed, after all these years, that there is so much that is ugly and reprehensible and evil that lurks in the minds of humans waiting to come out, and the catharsis of the individual evil has not necessarily been to the social good. Without the fact of their names/identities involved, people become not something else--they become who they are. And who they are is often downright ugly. Interestingly, a similar situation happens in both gentrification of neighborhoods and in a specific situation like fin-de-siecle Vienna. In the former, societal and land development opened up "high society" to the "volk"--once exposed and afforded avenues of creative expression formerly denied, the synthesis of "volk" in "high society" led to the gruesome right wing monsters of Nazi Eastern Europe [notice I say Nazi Eastern Europe and Nazi Germany, because we're talking about forces that preceded and buoyed Nazism]. This isn't to say I think the NY Post is a Nazi rag, or that conservative folk exposed to mass channels of communication have similar development forms as the moments immediately preceding the rise of Nazism, but I used to think who people "really are" was something beautiful, not I just want people to tell me their name and tell me what they "should be."
Oct. 30, 2011, 9:30 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
EXcuse me, the last line should read, "This isn't to say I think the NY Post is a Nazi rag, or that conservative folk exposed to mass channels of communication have similar development forms as the moments immediately preceding the rise of Nazism, but I used to think who people "really are" was something beautiful, *now I just want people to tell me their name and tell me what they "should be.""
Oct. 30, 2011, 9:31 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
I just realized I'm laboring under the irony of my own pseudonym: I forgot that in Williamsburg my face and body are better known as "Dennis sinneD" than "Dennis Farr." Alas.
Oct. 30, 2011, 10:17 am
Nicole from Crown Heights says:
You all know that this paper is owned by news corp right?

Eva gets a lot of flack for trying to educate and while it may be in poor taste to give public school resources to charter schools, how about we be nice and see where there might be another space that could be occupied by a high performing school. We definitely need more schools, that's for sure.
Oct. 31, 2011, 11:42 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
@ Nicole - don't know about everyone else, but yep, did know that. All the more the message should be received and directed here that, if God is just, the editors of everything owned and run by NewsCorp will pay for the crimes of so many trees felled for so terrible a paper. Of course, we will soon run into a future where "the paper" will completely fall away to "the Internet paper," but thank God! The only organisms that will need suffering will be those who have this forsaken paper, along with the NY Post, beamed right into their minds.
Oct. 31, 2011, 2:51 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Also, Nicole, to your statement, "We definitely need more schools, that's for sure." Wouldn't it be nice if Brooklyn got some of this type of school [I'd like it in Williamsburg, and I bet you'd like it in Crown Heights--may the better neighborhood dream then!]:

"Based on an early reading of the proposals over the weekend, Mr. Bloomberg said the city had underestimated the potential economic impact of the project.
“The proposals we received on Friday suggest our estimate might be conservative,” the mayor said. Based on earlier expressions of interest in the project, the city had estimated the project would generate $6 billion in overall economic activity across the five boroughs over 35 years, plus more than 30,000 permanent and construction jobs.
The high quality of the proposals has put pressure on the mayor to try to figure out how to choose more than one winner. But the city has set aside just $100 million for infrastructure upgrades and that could pose challenges to a multiple-winner scenario.

Read more:
Oct. 31, 2011, 4:24 pm
gb191 from Carroll Gardens says:
If the neighborhood NEEDS this Charter so badly have them SHARE Brooklyn Prospects space.
Or better yet Eva why don't you wait 2 years and petition for St Thomas Aquinas which the DOE will leave when PS 131 on 4th Ave is finished...
Nov. 14, 2011, 11:37 am

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