The issue of co-locating charter and public schools in the same building is a contentious one, and at an education hearing discussing the topic yesterday afternoon, the first two Council Members to speak thoroughly attacked the proposals in their districts.
“Co-location has been nothing but chaos,” East New York Councilman Charles Barron declared while criticizing the poor graduation rate among black and Latino students. “If you go into some of the schools in our district, you will see that the battles around co-location are taking away from serious educational approaches to our children.”
He concluded his speech by saying, “I just want overall to say in my last five seconds, you’ve been a dismal failure no matter how much you want to come here with this kind of nonsense. Failure. Failure.”
For her part, Councilwoman Tish James took a more measured approach in her objections, supporting co-locations in some situations while objecting to the philosophy of sprinkling them around throughout New York City.
“In your statement you said co-location is a fact of life in our city,” Ms. James said to the Board of Education officials. “I will argue co-location should only be a fact of life when a school is underutilized.”
She proceeded to make a passionate case against adding charter schools to two particular public school buildings in her district.
“We’re finally getting stability in that one school, that’s 596,” she said about one of the locations, “And now you just want to add another 5th school. This is not co-location, this is cramming, and I categorically oppose it. … You know I’m going to oppose this with every fiber of my being. That includes but is not limited to a lawsuit, I’ve already hired some high-powered attorneys, and we will see you in court.”
Watch the exchange below: