The Failure Of PS 114, Part 3
In our third and final story looking at what went wrong at Brooklyn's PS 114, NY1's Lindsey Christ explains that if the school is closed, a new type of charter school will move in.
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If all goes according to Department of Education plans, PS 114 will slowly close over the next few years. A new charter school will take over part of the building along with many of the first, second and third graders currently in PS 114 -- a first for the city. All charters use a lottery system to fill their classrooms. The Explore Charter Network says it wants to give kids in a failing school a better shot at getting in.
"We wrote a charter naming that we would preference kids impacted by a school closure, which was approved back in April. And then we just waited to see, we didn't know what school it would be that was closed," said Morty Ballen of the Explore Charter Network.
Last week, the DOE announced that school would be PS 114, if the Panel for Educational Policy votes to close it. A new, small public school would also open in the building.
"Everyone is confused. A lot of parents want the charter school but they don't even know what that means," said PS 114 Parent Michael Hall.
It means parents of younger children would be able to choose between the two new schools. But some parents and teachers at PS 114 say the DOE has abandoned their school, letting an incompetent principal remain for five years, driving it into debt.
"It's not a solution to turn us into a charter. If you want to turn into a charter, whatever you are bringing in, you could give us in the regular school we have now," said PS 114 Parent Crystal King.
The two new schools would qualify for additional funding, as start-ups. The head of the city's teachers union says the whole situation calls into question the DOE's motives.
"The Department of Ed is purposefully allowing or purposefully setting up schools to fail so that they can open up more charter schools. We've heard this for years. The Department of Ed denies it but this is the clearest example we've ever seen," said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew.
The leader of Explore Charter schools says he's committed to helping families hurt by school closures, so if PS 114 isn't closed, he'll work with the city to find another community that needs a place for their students to go.
"School closures are difficult things and in the past it's felt like the students and families are the ones who pay the consequences," Ballen said.
The parents and teachers at PS 114 say they're paying the consequences for the DOE's mismanagement.