Astoria Moms Defend Children’s Rights
March 19, 2013 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Schools / Queens Buzz. Editorial / Report. We attended a Community Board One Meeting Tuesday evening, following up on the concerns of Astoria parents, regarding the proposed changes to PS 122, which were recently announced by the Department of Education [DOE].
Having spent a week in pursuit of information from the DOE about the proposed changes – statements regarding the difficulty in obtaining information from them - rang true.
In the photo above, Anastasia Cunningham and her son talk about how the Dept of Ed hasn't put anything in writing, hasn't conducted any impact study, and she talked about how the changes could possibly destroy the learning environment that contributes to the success of PS 122 in Astoria.
Click here to read the rest of our Editorial / Report on the Community Board One Meeting regarding Department of Education proposed changes to PS 122 Astoria.
Astoria Moms Defend Children’s Rights
Madmen: Bloomberg Dept of Education Does A Don Draper
The terse repetitive DOE responses we received about the planned changes, brought to mind an episode of the popular television series – Madmen - where philandering Don Draper is accused of sleeping with another woman. Don repeatedly denies it, saying absolutely as little as possible.
The DOE’s response to our inquiry about the possible connection between these proposed changes and the recent public announcement of a charter school company targeting this district , consisted of the following statement: “The suggestion that this plan is about making room for a charter school is, simply, a total myth.”
These parents find the Department of Education's proposal disrespectful. Many of them find it highly coincidental that the Department of Education has suddenly become so very concerned with reconfiguring PS 122, after decades in its current configuration, particularly in light of its great academic success which includes the past six consecutive years of A performance.
They also find that this new DOE initiative seems to neatly coincide with Success Academy Charter School’s recent public announcement that they would like to open a new charter school in District 30. In the photo above, Claudia Lieto-McKenna, Co President of the PS 122 PTA, speaks on behalf of 2,200 concerned petition signers, 350 of whom have written letters to the Department of Education.
Coincidence? Maybe yes … but maybe not. Instead of dismantling one of the most successful public schools in Queens & NYC, perhaps the DOE should be trying to emulate PS 122 by attempting to replicate it.
Based on what we know today, the proposed changes don’t seem to make any academic or organizational sense, they don’t appear to be in the best interests of the school children at PS 122 and surrounding schools, and they don’t appear to be in the best interests of the Astoria Queens neighborhood.
This Bloomberg Department of Education episode reminded us of one of the story lines in Madmen. In our analogy the Department of Education is Don Draper, the Success Academy Charter Schools is the other woman, and the PS 122 PTA is Betty Draper. Mind you that this is the OPINION portion of our report and an ANALOGY, and that these are organizations, not individual people.
So that said, Betty Draper [PS 122] suspects Don [the DOE] of sleeping with the other woman [Success Academy]. She asks why Don needs to leave her / his family to go into the office on a holiday weekend [why forsake / dismantle PS122 when it is one of NYC's most successful public schools while opening the door to a new charter school]. And isn't it an interesting coincidence that Jimmy’s wife is working that same weekend [eg. the timing of Success Academy's planned move into Queens School District 30 coincides neatly with PS122's dismantling]. And given PS 122 is working so well with six years of grade A performance [why would Don abandon Betty for another woman], maybe the Bloomberg Department of Education should emulate this school, not destroy it [maybe Don should spend more time with his wife Betty instead of destroying their family by chasing other women]. So we’re left to conclude that perhaps the Bloomberg Department Of Education [aka Don] isn’t telling us everything, because it doesn't make sense.
Please note that there's a PEP [Panel for Educational Policy] Meeting at Brooklyn Tech High School, Wednesday, March 20th at 6 pm at 29 Fort Greene Place in Brooklyn about the proposed changes.
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