Thursday, February 24, 2011


Here is more on the debate related to Charter schools in our community. The following was sent by NYC Councilman Koppel’s office. Councilman Koppel is fighting against the application process he believes is unfair to immigrants and other non-English speaking learners, as well as increased input by the community.


Disturbed by what he heard at the DOE’s presentation on February 16th about the new charter high schools on the Kennedy Campus, Council Member Oliver Koppell met with the Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg on February 22nd to reiterate his concerns that the new schools will enroll few, if any, of the increasing numbers of new immigrants and other English language learners in the district. The meeting was also attended by Elizabeth Ritter from State Senator Adriano Espaillat’s office.

Koppell indicated that many new immigrants in the Northwest Bronx will be unaware of the application process for the charter schools or ineligible to apply because they were not here during the application process. They will be sent to schools that are already overcrowded and unable to meet their needs. He quoted a principal at one of these schools who told Koppell that “he had a dozen students who are walking from class to class not understanding anything.”

Koppell pointed out the success the E.L.L.I.S. Preparatory Academy on the Kennedy Campus has had with newly arrived immigrants and called for its expansion. He was heartened to hear that this is something the DOE is considering for next year, although he questioned whether there would be room in the building with the new schools coming in.

Koppell also expressed his objections to the process by which the new schools were selected to replace Kennedy, saying that there was little public input and that the community was essentially presented with a foregone conclusion.

“If there were broader input, the DOE might have been aware of the need for expanded educational opportunities for English language learners in our district prior to the selection of new schools,” Koppell said. He hoped to speak with Chancellor Kathy Black later this week to make his views known about the selection process.

Koppell said, “I was happy to learn that the DOE has given priority for admission to the charter schools to students in District 10. I am hopeful that these schools will provide a quality education for these pupils. However, I continue to be concerned that there will be no place where the many newly arrived immigrants and other English language learners in the district can obtain a meaningful education and I will continue to press the DOE to provide satisfactory educational opportunities for them.”

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