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Public Prep: A Public School With A Private Feel

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So far, at least, most charter schools have focused on serving low-income kids and ensuring that they learn basic skills. That's where the biggest need is. Now some folks are thinking about starting charter schools of a different kind -- aimed at a more elite educational model: private schools. It's happening already in a fancy park of Brooklyn (2 Park Slope Fathers Dream Big NY Sun), and I can't imagine it not happening elsewhere.* And, I'm not sure there's anything wrong with it. Like a magnet school or G&T program, it brings private school parents back into the public system (or keeps them there). At the same time, it brings private school ideas into the public school testing ground, where they may flourish or fail. Either way, an interesting development.

*The only example I know of is LA's private school Crossroads spinning off into New Roads and then Camino Nuevo charter.

3 Comments

What, please, is a "G&T Program"???

sorry -- gifted and talented

Hi Alex,
This is Daniel one of the two founders of Brooklyn Prospect the school you are discussing. While I appreciate the thoughts and the photo-shoped graphic of Curtis’ book, there is one point I would like to clarify. Although the press has picked up on the “elite” or “private” school backgrounds of some of the planning team, the school will be open to students in neighborhoods well beyond Park Slope. Every student in Community School District (CSD) 15, which includes the diverse neighborhoods of Windsor Terrace, Redhook, Sunset Park, Gowanus, and Cobble Hill among others, has an equal chance of being accepted. In New York State, admissions to charter schools are decided by lottery within the CSD. Diversity is a core value for Brooklyn Prospect, and we believe students from different socio-economic and racial backgrounds greatly benefit from sitting next to each other in classrooms. We intend for Brooklyn Prospect to be a vehicle to increase diversity in public schools; thus, our school is designed to serve “low income” students by giving them the same opportunities as middle and upper income students.

I would personally never describe our curriculum, school design or personnel as “elite” since there are many high performing public and private schools implementing similar programs. If “elite” means we are going to find the most talented educators available and use a well researched program to teach the students who show up at our door, then I think the label sticks. But if “elite” means exclusive, then it’s just not true.

Please feel free to check out our website www.brooklynprospect.org to learn more about the school.

DKR

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