New York City is having trouble finding space for all its new small schools, and many of its existing schools feel they have no room to accomodate them. One public school in Lower Manhattan went nuts when a charter school was slated to move in. That charter school will now be housed in the Tweed Courthouse, below the offices of Chancellor Joel Klein. I liked that because it was gutsy and shows he cares about charter schools and wants to give them a chance to educate kids.
Competing for shared resources is always a tricky deal, but it seems to be exacerbated by a sense of institutional rivalry when there are charter schools involved. My own school’s administration often has difficulties with the administration of the public school we are attached to. This summer our students had to use the other school’s cafeteria (because the Board of Ed refused to deliver hot lunch to our cafeteria since it was only a “warming kitchen” and not a full-fledged cafeteria). This was not our choice, but our students still had to eat, and there were only a handful of students at summer school in the public school. But instead of letting us walk through the hallway (mind you, we walk in silent, straight lines), which really makes the most sense and creates the least disturbance, the other school’s principal made us go through the basement or around the outside of the school. When asked, she had no explanation for this demand. I hate that kind of bureaucratic, power-play nonsense, especially since we are all working toward the same goal (or should be): to create better lives for the students in our community. Can’t we all just get along?
–Guest blogger Newoldschoolteacher