Monday, April 25, 2011

Harlem/Brooklyn Success Academy Video Week

April 25, 2011
HSA ad from Williamsburg subway stop, slightly altered

I will be sharing a batch of videos this week that I extracted from the District 14 Community Education Council meeting with Harlem Success Academy reps on April 14. It really was a remarkable meeting as HSA faced a unified pushback from all parts of the district. Their tactic of divide and conquer did not work - they didn't bring busloads of parents from Harlem as they are able to do at PEP meetings.

This may be the first time HSA is facing organized resistance as District 13 and 14 passed joint resolutions opposing more HSA charters. Of course with sugar daddy WalBloom on their side it may not make a difference, but they will not find the process very comfortable - as you can see in this video.

They brag about the 1400 people on the waiting list - all that after months of advertizing all over a wide area of Brooklyn. Now they are using these signatures to justify adding two more schools. Once they get capacity, they then use these parents as political shock troops to steam roller local public schools.

I will be putting up an individual segment every day. You will find this 18 minute video worth watching as I culled and edited various interactions between audience members and HSA reps. I repeated a few segments to make a point. Princpal Brian DeVale tells the HSA parents he is happy they love their school in Harlem, but he doesn't go up to Harlem to tell people where to send their children. And lots more. At times the normally cool and collected HSA spokesperson Jenny Sedlis seemed a bit shaken as she was forced to leave her seat to defend HSA.

Here is the blurb from Vimeo I put up:
Harlem Success Academy's attempt to push into District 14 in Brooklyn meets with fierce resistance at the Community Education Council (CEC) meeting held on April 14. Principals, parents, and teachers raise fundamental questions about HSA's tactics in inundating wide areas of Brooklyn with slick literature in an attempt to create "demand" they then use to justify pushing their schools into public school spaces. "You may have 1400 signatures but none of them are from District 14," says one speaker. Another challenges HSA to produce their lists. A teacher talks about how HSA paid someone $10 an hour to hand out lit to parents on open school night. CSA leaders say they were lied too. And an educator from Harlem shares the negative experience in his school with HSA as his kids are forced into the basement.
Gotham's Anna Philips was present for most of the meeting but for some reason chose not to write about it.

Excuse the bad and uneven sound as the amplified echo was heavy duty.


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