Thursday, March 13, 2014


“This is a city blessed with such diversity. Our schools, especially our particularly exceptional schools, need to reflect that diversity.” -- Mayor de Blasio.

But black students continue to be pushed out or excluded altogether from top-tier urban schools and re-segregated charters as cities increasingly become whitenized. New York's selective-enrollment schools are a great example.

This from the N.Y. Times
Admission to the city's most exclusive specialized high schools skews white (26 percent) and Asian (53 percent), as usual, while black and Latino students, who make up 70 percent of NYC public schools, were offered just 12 percent of the freshman spots based on single test. At Stuy, offers to black teenagers dropped two, from 9 to 7, with Latinos down to 21 from 24. 
De Blasio has his work cut out for him if he is serious about reversing the Tale of Two Cities trend. From the moment he was sworn in as mayor, the city's powerful hedge-fund school-reform gang with chief charter hustler Eva Moscowitz as their spear carrier, has gone after him with a fury rarely seen. It's a tale right out of DuBois' Black Reconstruction in America, the story of how the overthrown southern slave-ocracy organized its counter-revolution against a budding southern democracy after their defeat in the Civil War.

N.Y. is a far cry from 1860's Black Reconstruction, but there are parallels. In this case, it's the so-called corporate "reformers" who ruled the roost under Bloomberg's regime, who are reeling from a surprise election defeat by de Blasio's army of progressives, labor movement and Working Familes Party activists. Their frenzied counter-offensive against the new mayor's tiny incursion into their privately-run charter school space is an overreaction. But it has the full backing of Gov. Cuomo and presumably of Ed Sec. Arne Duncan who early on claimed that expanding mayoral control of urban schools was his top priority.
"At the end of my tenure, if only seven mayors are in control, I think I will have failed," Duncan said. He offered to do whatever he can to make the case. "I'll come to your cities," Duncan said. "I'll meet with your editorial boards. I'll talk with your business communities. I will be there."
Of course Duncan wasn't talking about mayors like de Blasio. I don't see him being there for this mayor. Do you? And you can make that double if Ras Baraka wins in neighboring Newark.

Same story in Chicago (except that this mayor is the equivalent of Moskowitz-in-office) where the gap between Rahm's top-tier selective-enrollment schools and re-segregated black community schools is growing wider by the day. Chicago is the nation's failed great experiment with mayoral control. Rahm continues to demolish community schools in the black community and replace them with re-segregated privately run charters.

Among the most shocking stories was reported by Linda Lutton yesterday on WBEZ.

Students at the so-called Austin Business and Entrepreneurship Academy on the city’s West Side,  have spent much of this year without key teachers.

Junior Uriah White has no science or English teacher.
If you ask seniors Kendale Brice and Janiqua Johnson to list the teachers they’re missing at Austin Business, it sounds like they’re reading from a job board: "We need a music teacher," Kendale says. "We need a Spanish teacher," Janiqua adds. "Last year we didn’t have a Spanish teacher, so we had to take Spanish online," Kendale says. "We need a science teacher—which is biology and forensic science," says Janiqua. "We need an English teacher for juniors and seniors." 
Keyshawn Fields, a junior slated to take the ACT exam next month, says he had a biology teacher “for maybe three weeks at the beginning of the year, then she was gone.” Music and Spanish—requirements for graduation—are offered online only, students say.
Austin Business was started inside the previously closed Austin High School, by charter operator Michael Bakalis, president of American Quality Schools, under Arne Duncan's Renaissance 2010 program. But Bakalis has long abandoned the school, handing it back to CPS and leaving it depleted of resources -- a school that few students want to attend and where few teachers want to teach.
Austin Business—which was started as a Renaissance 2010 school after CPS closed down Austin High School in 2004 for poor performance.... All three schools that opened in the Austin High building under Renaissance 2010 are struggling to attract kids, and struggling to keep promises of a better education. One of the schools, Austin Polytechnical Academy, had to write a grant this year to be able to pay for a college counselor; per pupil funding from CPS did not cover the cost.
But ironically, Chicago is adding high schools. The district recently approved seven new charters—five of them with high school seats—meaning students will be spread even thinner across schools like Austin. 
Now, charter hustler Bakalis and other corporate reformers are blaming the failure of the ill-conceived and badly-resourced schools in Austin on their small size. But these schools are small because of attrition, not by design. They are the result of a shakeout in an increasingly market-driven, two-tier school system.

Under the present regime in City Hall and with mayoral control of the schools, there's no relief in sight.

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