Editorial: A Letter to the next mayor

Dear Mayor de Blasio,


Congratulations on having won the election. We look forward to you succeeding Mayor Michael Bloomberg and leading our city.

When you are sworn in on January 1, 2014, there is an issue we’d like you to tackle right away: co-locations.

You see, 16 co-locations have been proposed for the next school year for schools in Brooklyn.

This is absurd.

How can we expect our children to succeed in school if they have no room to learn?

Cramming multiple schools into one building would be a severe impediment to teaching – and learning.

Class size would balloon. Common spaces – cafeterias, gymnasiums, etc. – would have to be shared. Courses, including Advanced Placement, music and art, would be endangered.

Even sports programs might suffer due to decreased enrollment.

And students may be made to feel alienated within the walls of their own school.

In July, United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Michael Mulgrew announced a union lawsuit to stop the Bloomberg administration from locking in more than a dozen school co-locations that would start after the next mayor took office.

He’s not the only one. City Councilmember Lew Fidler  — who has contended that the mayor was “shoving” charter school co-locations down the throats of communities opposed to them –also promised a lawsuit “if common sense and fairness don’t prevail.” That said, the Panel for Educational Policy has so far rubber-stamped the proposed co-locations that have come before it.

Mr. de Blasio, we ask that you reexamine the issue.

Putting charter schools into public school buildings is “setting up a system that’s separate and unequal when some students have music, art, technology and are not allowed on certain floors; when there are two exits,” charged Councilmember Letitia James, who in January will be sworn in as public advocate during one recent co-location hearing.

“We won’t have enough space or enough teachers,” said one local seventh grader. “It’s unfair for this to happen, not only to us but the kids who will be here in the future.”

We couldn’t agree more.

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