Special Education – Don’t put your child in this school

Equality was found guilty last year at an Impartial Hearing for not serving a student with an IEP and violating his rights under IDEA.

For more information and the FACTS click on the links below:

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2010/05/03/2010-05-03_charters_fail_special_ed_critics_knock_low_enrollment_of_severely_disabled.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joel-shatzky/charter-schools-pulling-t_b_508043.html

http://www.citylimits.org/news/article_print.cfm?article_id=4205

Puppet Parent Group

After much pushing, Equality finally allowed parents in March 2010, to have an election for their parent group.  NOT ONE PARENT ran for office AND the meeting was poorly attended.  In the end parents were appointed because nobody wanted to be bothered or controlled especially when the school year is up anyway.  The parent group has met less than a handful of times since March 2010 and the meetings are poorly attended because the parents know the group is controlled by the recently fired principal and new principal who got rid of the old principal.

The principal and unelected parents refuse to comply with the law and create an independent Parent Association that is run and controlled by the parents.

Afterall, if you have parents you don’t control they may actually expect you to educate their kids.

Corruption at Equality

The last months of the 2009/2010 school year, beginning in the Spring, the unemployed husband and live-in boyfriend of the Principal and Assistant Principal started hanging at the school, in the hallways EVERYDAY.  Then it dawned on them all, let’s hire them and give them a job because we can do whatever we want, the board won’t stop us and the parents won’t say anything.

So, they created two new positions called 7th and 8th grade deans and hired their men instead of spending that money on the students, perhaps providing tutoring for the majority of students who ended up failing the NYS ELA and Math Tests.

In December, there was an altercation between the Assistant Principal and the Principal’s husband resulting in the husband threatening the safety of the Assistant Principal and her notifying the board.  This resulted in the Principal and Assistant Principal no longer speaking to each other, including at the board meeting and the Principal finally getting fired by the board.

Now we have the Assistant Principal with her live-in boyfriend running the school with the incompetent board still impotent and dysfunctional as ever.

More to come, but this is the tip of the iceberg…

Inside Schools Review of Equality

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2011: A few weeks after our visit Joann Meyers was fired as principal and replaced with the assistant principal, Caitlin Franco.

2011 REVIEW: Located in Co-op City in a building shared with PS 160, Equality Charter School serves children in grades 6 to 8 and plans to expand to include high school grades in 2014. The school focuses on core academics with 90-minute periods of math and English and there is a heavy emphasis on preparing students for standardized tests.

Average class size is 25 students. Principal Joann Meyers has put in place a remedial reading program called Read 180, designed to bring students who are more than two grades behind in reading up to grade-level within one to two years. She said a few students moved from the remedial class to a regular English class after the first year.

The school tests students in each subject every four to six weeks and results showing students’ progress are posted on “data walls” in each classroom. Teachers struggle to engage their classes and instill discipline. “We have the components, it’s the execution we have to work on now,” Meyers acknowledged. “Teachers are still learning the foundation.”

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a program designed to improve student behavior and academic performance is the basis for “Home and Career,” a class using Jack Canfield’s Success Principles for Teens to give students the tools to deal with life situations. “It’s not enough to have math, reading and writing, students have to have goals for life,” said Meyers. Morning announcements also outline one area of PBIS daily, the children chanting affirmations such as “I am responsible” to go along with the mantra.

To deal with discipline issues using preventative measures, the school has added a dean for each grade, hoping to stop conflicts between students before they occur.  Students are required to wear a uniform. They must attend detention if they fail to wear a uniform, if they come to class late, or if they fail to complete homework.

In 2010, the school added after school homework help, student council, boys’ and girls’ basketball, flag football and track “It’s been proven that the more extracurricular kids are involved in, the higher their GPA,” stated Meyers.

Special education: Most classes are co-taught with a subject teacher and one who is certified in special education.

Admissions: A lottery is held in April. Students in District 11 and siblings of students already enrolled have priority. There is currently a wait list of over 500 students. (Aryn Bloodworth, January 2011)