Chancellor Walcott, NYC Dept of Education
PEP Members, Department of Education’s (DOE) Panel on Education Policy (PEP)
Mark Sternberg, Deputy Chancellor Department of Portfolio Planning
Alex Shub, Department of Portfolio Planning
Jennifer Peng, Department of Portfolio Planning
Councilwoman Melissa Mark Viverito, the NYC Council
Councilman Robert Jackson, the NYC Council
CPE middle school campaign, CPE I&II
Rebecca Herrero, Consultant for Latino outreach of Tom Allon campaign
Maribel Torres, contact person for Bill Thompson campaign
Geoffrey Eaton, contact person for Charles Rangel
Wendy Gellman, contact person for Kirsten Gillibrand
Emily Arsenault, contact person for Kirsten Gillibrand
Socrates Solano, contact person for Charles Rangel
Jenna Jones, contact person for Chuck Schumer
Tom Allon, Mayoral Candidate
Drew Patterson, Department of Portfolio Planning
Christine Quinn, Mayoral Candidate
As a concerned citizen and parent, I am writing to you on behalf of Central Park East (CPE) I & II Elementary School in East Harlem, two small, progressive public schools founded more than 35 years ago by famed educator Deborah Meier. It seems to me the Department of Education is not giving these schools, and other progressive public schools in New York City, the same opportunities to expand and...
As a concerned citizen and parent, I am writing to you on behalf of Central Park East (CPE) I & II Elementary School in East Harlem, two small, progressive public schools founded more than 35 years ago by famed educator Deborah Meier. It seems to me the Department of Education is not giving these schools, and other progressive public schools in New York City, the same opportunities to expand and thrive as untested, privately run charter schools.
Sister schools CPE I and II have been collaborating on an expansion for a combined middle school for the past four years. Last year, CPE II applied for expansion after being assessed as “well-developed” on the DOE school quality review (January, 2012). In fact, our District 4 superintendent was impressed by CPE II’s high quality, enriched instruction and active learning approach to education. Based on this academic assessment, and the fact that few middle schools in New York City offer progressive education, and there are none within District 4, it is clear a CPE Middle School would be in the community’s best interest. DOE officials seemed to agree last spring when they indicated the only thing holding back CPE II's ability to expand to the eighth grade was a lack of physical space in District 4.
I was, therefore, understandably dismayed to learn that when space recently became available in the Jackie Robinson Alternative Educational Complex, the DOE decided to extend the stay of the East Harlem Scholars Academy 1 charter school -- previously scheduled to end its incubation this year -- and let EHSA 1 start a second elementary school, EHSA 2, at the same location instead of giving the space to a CPE I/II Middle School.
The Jackie Robinson Alternative Educational Complex is the current home to CPE I and located only a few blocks away from CPE II, making it an ideal space for a CPE Middle School for many reasons. It seems, however, that yet again, the DOE is giving preference and public spaces to unproven charter schools over public schools with successful track records and a solid demand for admittance.
CPE I and II are highly sought-after schools. Every year there are 200 applications for 18 available kindergarten spots. Families who send their children to these schools overwhelmingly keep them here through the fifth grade. These parents have, therefore, expressed a keen interest in expanding through the middle grades, and welcoming new parents and students to our school community for grades six through the eight.
Don't let charter schools take over the building and infringe on a beloved, sought after and successful school. I ask that you reconsider your position on the co-location at the Jackie Robinson Alternative Educational Complex and give your consideration to a CPE I/II Middle School and Progressive Education. Ensure that NYC parents are able to have real school choices.