Monday, August 27

Another space-sharing debacle

East New York Preparatory Charter School, which has been located in the PS 158 building in Brooklyn since it opened last year, was told to hit the road this year, even though the DOE had promised it could stay at PS 158 for two years, the Daily News reports today. PS 158 had made sharing space unpleasant for East New York Prep, denying the school's kids use of a nearby bathroom and instead requiring that they go down four flights of stairs to the basement; the DOE intervened last year to resolve that issue, but evidently things were not going to get better this year because East New York Prep has been told to move to PS 323, about 30 blocks away.

What's interesting about these space-sharing showdowns -- and there have been at least half a dozen at this point, in almost every borough -- is that we're seeing parents who might not have been the most involved before organize for the benefit of their schools. If their unity outlasts the immediate crisis, this shift could help them improve their neighborhood schools even more. But it is just plain spiteful for undercrowded schools to display such open antagonism against new small schools sharing their space. A principal who would humiliate small children to make a point about sharing space is not one I would want making decisions about my kids' education.

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