Northwest Bronx
for Change

Concerned Citizens for Change is a grassroots organization working to advance progressive issues at the city, state and federal levels.  

Education

We are concerned about several education issues:
Class Size

Research shows that smaller class sizes have a positive effect on academics and helps to close the achievement gap for low-income and minority children.

Here are two examples of that research:


and
 
      
Neither New York State nor New York City is funding efforts to reduce class sizes as they should.




Overcrowding

Many New York City schools are severely overcrowded due to the lack of an adequate school construction program. 

Class Size Matters is leading the fight to remedy this very serious deficiency. They have produced a report which lays out the sad facts on this issue:




We support their efforts to secure a budget that is  adequately funded for much needed school construction.




Charter Schools

The original concept of charter schools envisioned places which would not be bound by the bureaucratic restraints that applied to public schools. They would be free to experiment with new ideas and when those new approaches worked they would be imported into the public schools.

Over the years that concept morphed into the idea that charter schools should replace public schools. Proponents of the drive to eliminate public schools call themselves education reformers.

There are two motives behind this so called reform movement:

 There is money to be made in privatizing our schools. Lots and lots of it.
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 It is part of a larger ideological effort to weaken or destroy unions because they have been defenders and builders of the middle class.

Charter schools, by and large, do not have to have unions. Teachers’ unions have been a big part of the union movement and destroying them would advance the goals of the interests FDR called organized money who want even more control of our government than they already have.

A public school must accept any student zoned for their school.

Charter schools, however, require that parents file an application before their children can be admitted. This guarantees that charter schools are going to have a parent population more likely to be knowledgeable and involved.



There are indications that charter schools with high test scores are achieving those results by forcing out students who are liable to do badly on the annual tests.

Here is a report that appeared on the PBS NewsHour about one charter school chain:

Is Kindergarten Too Young to Suspend a Student?

And here is a New York Times story which ran about a "Got To Go" list in one school in that charter school chain:

At a Success Academy Charter School, Singling Out Pupils Who Have "Got to Go"


Charter schools are allowed to operate without accountability and transparency.  Many have been clear failures and others have been subject to financial scandal.

The Center For Popular Democracy and the Alliance To Reclaim Our Schools have issued a report on the waste, fraud, and abuse that have accompanied many charter schools:

The Tip of the Iceberg Charter School Vulnerabilities To Waste, Fraud, And Abuse




We think both the federal government and New York should pass laws which insure that charter schools are subject to both transparency and accountability. The great satirical cartoonist, Mark Fiore, has produced two animated cartoons  which sum it up pretty well:




Reign of Error by eduction historian Diane Ravitch is an excellent book for anyone who wants to learn mor about the so-called "reform movement" i s harming education in America.