To the Editors:
Your characterization of the parents and our principal in what you term a "nasty school war" couldn't be farther from the truth. The problem isn't parents, principals or the charter school, but the Department of Education. Quite frankly, if someone were in charge, the Department of Education miscalculation which created the appearance of space and led to the displacement decision wouldn't have happened.
The co-existence of the two schools just can not work based on simple space and utilization planning, and will prevent the success of either school and ultimately harm our children and their education. To give any credence to the Department of Education allegations of manipulation is unconscionable when the facts are examined.
Having the two schools share the building at 111 Columbia Street "for only two years" will be long enough to ensure the failure of the Ross model charter school and the destruction of the Nest+m Upper and Middle schools. As involved parents, we have evaluated the classroom and support spaces and their utilization in our building. It is very clear the addition of the Ross grades and populations will increase Nest class sizes and cancel many advanced course offerings. This planning, analysis, and concern for all children, is something Tweed and their Office of New Schools did not do in their calculation of space at Nest. This is an indisputable fact.
The Chancellor has recently announced a higher standard of accountability for his educators and their schools. As public school parents, we welcome this but expect the same accountability from the Department of Education. Nest+m is one of the most successful in the city in the five short years and earned its talented and gifted accreditation barely a year ago, after four years of hard work from the very same district students who will also be attending the Ross Global Academy. The Department of Education's actions are working directly against their accountability mandate to the detriment of both the Ross and Nest schools and most important, all of the children.
Regrettably the solution is difficult. The Department of Education must be held accountable for their actions. The Chancellor must look beyond politics and the donors on the side of the Charter School and take the responsibility to change a bad decision made at the staff level. Finding a proper home for the Ross Global academy will be even harder. But two years in the life of a child is a very long time and both schools deserve a chance to succeed. The harm caused by Tweed will be detrimental to not only our children but citywide education as a whole.
Nest+m School Leadership Team parent member
Editor's Note: If it's not a "nasty school war," why are you firing off nasty letters about it? For the record, The Independent never used the word "nasty" in our articles about the schools.
JOHN A FIELD
May 23, 2006