Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Students At Adult Learning Center Worry About Proposed Co-Location With Charter High School

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TWC News: Students At Adult Learning Center Worry About Proposed Co-Location With Charter High School
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Some adult students in Manhattan are worried about what will happen to their programs when a charter high school moves in with them in the fall, and a public hearing on the topic turned rowdy Monday night. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

Shouts of fear came from adult students on one side of the room. There was reserved concern from parents and their children on the other. It amounts to the dreams of different generations clashing.

Stephy Nivar-Martinez is in eighth grade at Democracy Prep and plans to attend high school at the Mid Manhattan Adult Training Center when her charter school co-locates here in the fall.

"I want to have a bright future," Nivar-Martinez said. "I want to have something positive in my life."

Matthew Valdez worries about the move. He passed his GED at the school and now takes computer repair classes.

"They're going to move the charter school in here little by little and push our classes out," Valdez said.

Students and teachers at the adult center echoed that concern over and over during a public hearing on the move Monday night.

But the Department of Education said the fear is unfounded, that there's plenty of room for both adults and high school kids in the four-story building.

The founder of the charter school and a community education council member got into it after NY1 interviewed them both.

"We're actually looking to form a partnership with the Mid Manhattan Adult Learning community to be able to allow our parents to take some of their classes and really have a deep partnership in this building," said Seth Andrew, the founder of Democracy Prep Public Schools.

"To say it's a great idea to have parents and students together, we're all in favor of it, but what's happening here is that the program for the parents is being cut," said Noah Gotbaum of Community Education Council District 3.

Students and educators at the learning center maintained that they've already experienced cuts, but the DOE promises that the move will not affect the program, or the success of its students, at all.

"We want to take advantage of available space that's there," said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. "We'll go through the normal process, and we'll see what happens."

The Department of Education calls the building an adult learning program, not technically a school. Therefore, the Panel for Educational Policy does not need to approve the co-location. So unless the DOE reverses itself, this seems like a done deal.

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