Wednesday, August 17, 2011

NY Education Department says no to Hispanic school

The New York State Education Department has rejected for the second time a school devoted to the Hispanic community

ROSLYN, N.Y. -- New York State Education Department rejected the proposed Dignitas Academy Charter School (DACS), formally Phoenix Academy, for the second time. DACS was a school for English Language learners to be located in Community School District 30 which encompasses different parts of Queens including Astoria, Ditmars, East Elmhurst, Hunters Point, Jackson Heights, Long Island City, Sunnyside, and Woodside.

According to the NYSED release results of grades 3-8 in English State Tests issued on August 8, 2011, only 12.6% of English Language Learners (ELLs) statewide met or exceeded the new ELA proficiency standard which is down from 14.3% last year. Brad Gerstman, and advocate for Dignitas Academy, was outraged by the decision. "These students are not receiving the personal attention they need and SED continues to deny them help. Who plans on serving these children now?"

The charter school had support from the district Elected Officials, local legislators and community stake holders. Their opinion did not go far with SED. New York State Senator Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) was even more disappointed to see the school be rejected for a second time. "We've reiterated our support for a second language learning school over and over again. Our education system needs a school like this. The records prove it."

Last year State Education Department would not comment to the press on why the proposal was denied but stressed that the applicant could apply again in January 2011. "What are they going to say now, there's always next year?" states Gerstman.

Of the 36 proposed charter schools, 21 were approved for a capacity interview with NYSED. Dignitas Academy Charter School was the only one solely committed to ELL students. "How can State Ed face these second language learners' families and explain with a straight face why they chose to deny a school for them," says Gerstman. "Apparently the families of English Language learners don't have a voice within SED because it is clear that educating these children is not a top priority."

SOURCE Dignitas Academy Charter School

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