Opponents of the opening of another Success Academy charter school in Williamsburg were out in force on Tuesday night at a hearing to discuss the merits of opening a charter school in the neighborhood.
The Williamsburg community is being split in half by the issue where many newcomers to the neighborhood who are more affluent and tend to live on the north side of Williamsburg are in favor; and the less well-off, south-siders, who have in many cases grown up in the neighborhood, are opposed.
Those in opposition to opening the charter school say the issue is about who has the ultimate say when it comes to decisions about schools in their neighborhood. Parents who support the charter school claim that all they are concerned with is getting the best possible education for their children.
“The north side is totally different from what it was a few years ago, and I don’t even feel welcome in this community anymore, and one of the reasons, too, is I can’t even afford to live here even being a person who was raised in this community” said resident Andy Capellan.
The public schools in the area are struggling with poor performance. The Success Academy charter schools claim to have among the city’s best test scores in poor neighborhoods like Harlem and the south Bronx.
Former City Councilwoman Eva Moscowitz runs the Success charters, which are located within public school buildings, requiring the sharing of what is sometimes scarce space for the students already enrolled in the public school.
The parents in support of the opening of the charter school say they want better options for their children.
“This is not about new Williamsburg versus old Williamsburg. There is only one goal that we all have as parents, and that’s the best education for our children” said resident Henry Mazurek.
Since Mayor Bloomberg controls the Panel for Educational Policy, which is the board which must decide whether to allow the Success Academy to open or not, it is almost a certainty that the Success Academy will indeed by given the go-ahead to open a new school in Williamsburg, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of people at last night’s meeting were there in opposition.