By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Families and supporters from three schools on the Tilden Educational Campus in Crown Heights, Brooklyn are protesting the city’s plan to add another school to the complex, this time a charter elementary school.
The Department of Education (DOE) wants to co-locate The New American Academy Charter School, which serves students in kindergarten through fifth grade, in the same building as three high schools: The Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School, It Takes a Village Academy and The Cultural Academy for the Arts and Sciences.
DOE says the campus, located at 5800 Tilden Avenue, is underutilized, with the three existing schools using only about half the available space. According to DOE, the charter school co-location “is intended to create an additional high-quality educational option for families in District 18."
Families question DOE’s methodology, however, and say the co-location would take away more than 40 classrooms and some specialized classes from the current high schools in order to accommodate the charter school.
They also say that District 18 already has high-quality options for families at P.S. 244, the elementary school closest to the Tilden Campus, which earned A's & B's on the last three DOE progress reports. P.S. 244 is under-enrolled by at least 300 students, according to the DOE's building utilization plan. DOE did not identify District 18 in its capital budget as a district in need of additional school seats.
Students held a rally and press conference at Tweed Courthouse, Department of Education headquarters on Thursday after school.
The Mayor’s Panel for Educational Policy will vote on the co-location on March 20 at 6 p.m. at Brooklyn Technical High School, 29 Fort Greene Place. (This vote was originally scheduled for March 11.)
New American Academy's sometimes-chaotic "open classroom" environment was described by the New York Times in 2011.