Today’s news:

Fort Greene charter school is tougher than Harvard

The Brooklyn Paper

Compared to the competition for a kindergarten slot, Harvard will be a safety school for these kids.

At a lottery on Tuesday night, more than 400 students sought just 37 kindergarten slots at Fort Greene’s Community Roots Charter School — an acceptance rate far stingier than America’s top universities.

“It’s an indication that times are tough and people are looking for a good public school for their kids,” said Fredrik Anderson, who has children in kindergarten and second grade at the school, which occupies the third floor of PS 67 on St. Edwards Street.

It’s also an indication of continuing discontent with PS 20, on nearby Adelphi Street, and its principal, Sean Keaton.

“The principal is a disaster,” said one poster on insideschools.org, a non-partisan guide to New York City public schools. “He is authoritarian, defensive, and almost incapable of taking input seriously. He has been hostile and even abusive to some parents, sent angry e-mails to parents who dared challenge his authority, and … has pitted parents against each other.”

Some parents have defended Keaton, but statistics show that he is having trouble attracting students from within the school’s catchment area. Only 27 percent of the kindergarten-age students who live in the school’s zone attend. And next year, the school will have only two kindergarten classes, down from three this year.

“He’s losing students,” said one Community Roots parent who did not want to be identified.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education did not return a call and Keaton could not be reached before the Passover holiday.

Meanwhile, the charter school is surging. This year’s 419 applicants for 37 slots next year is up from 299 last year. That 8.8 percent acceptance rate beats Harvard (9.2), Princeton (9.7) and Yale (9.9).

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Carlton Banks from FG says:
For the record Harvard's acceptance rate is 7%. Slightly lower than the 9.25% here (37/400). I'm not sure where you're getting your number from.

http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=522754
April 9, 2009, 12:12 pm
Carlton Banks from FG says:
For the record Harvard's acceptance rate is 7%. Slightly lower than the 9% here (37/419). I'm not sure where you're getting your number from.

http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=522754
April 9, 2009, 12:13 pm
Kevin from N/A says:
You know... it might be helpful to mention somewhere in this article that admission to all NY charter schools (and almost all charters nationally) is by random lottery.

Preference is usually given to students with siblings in the school... but that's basically the only legal exception.
April 9, 2009, 12:14 pm
dreamking from Fort Greene says:
As a product of the NYC public education system, I believe in its role and value. I always wanted my kids to be a part of it. But I've heard firsthand accounts from parents who have dealt with PS20 and principal Keaton, and suddenly we find ourselves reevaluating our options.

Being a principal is one of the hardest jobs. It's not for everyone at every time. Maybe there was a time when Keaton's tactics would have gotten results without a hitch, but this is no longer that time. The man is out of ideas. It hurts the kids and the community when he pits new arrivals against 'trustworthy' long-time residents as a distraction for his control issues. It feeds into the worst impulses and fears people have, and ensures a divided community. I don't understand why the DOE and the city allows this to happen.

Most people WANT the neighborhood school to be the heart of the community, but Keaton has made it clear he's not interested in surrendering his assumptions about his methods and expectations to give that a chance to happen.
April 9, 2009, 12:20 pm
Alex from Carroll Gardens says:
The Brooklyn New School has had similar acceptance rates for years now. How come that isn't newsworthy? Progressive public schools are highly sought after in Brooklyn. Isn't that the peg?
April 13, 2009, 9:23 pm
Leslie from Park Slope says:
It is also worth noting that P.S. 20 is set to become the home of a new citywide gifted & talented program called Technology, Inquiry, Enrichment and Research (TIER). One wonders why the DOE chose this school and whether the new program will change its reputation....
April 16, 2009, 4:44 pm
K from Slope says:
Like Alex above, I think including Brooklyn New School's numbers would have been informative. With all the hype around charter schools, it may look like parents are pining for Community Roots b/c it is a charter when in fact what many people are looking for (myself included) is a break from the testing factories that the majority of our public schools have become.

I fail to understand why the DOE cannot see this and, rather than creating more schools on the successful BNS model, pushes for more G&T options, more "academies", etc.
April 19, 2009, 12:27 am
ellen cogut says:
Thank you for highlighting a wonderful charter school. I wish the article could have focused more on the positive of the stronger school than on the negatives of the weaker.
April 21, 2009, 4:27 pm
Candace from Fort Greene says:
Frederik Anderson has been a parent for one year and suddenly he is the spokesperson for an entire community. Frederik's children like Meghan's and Sarah's did not receive proper training at home and were very wild in school and it is unfortunate that these individuals would attack Mr. Keaton's reputation. Ironically, Meghan lives in Bed-Stuy, so her zone status was revoked when she relocated East.
June 17, 2009, 10:52 am
Candace from Fort Greene says:
The real issues at PS 20 are about race, class and alternative lifestyles. White people, although they voted for Barack Obama they do not want a black man to oversee their child's education. Secondly, Frederik Anderson is crazy because he believes that just because he donated $10K to start a French language program, he owned Mr. Keaton and could impose his will to convert PS 20 into a dual language school.This is some real slavery stuff in Fort Greene, you work for me boy!. Finally, Mr. Keaton was expected to openly accept and embrace parents who have chosen to engage in alternative lifestyles and chose to tell their children that they do not have a dad or that they do not have a mom.
June 17, 2009, 11:04 am
Candace from Fort Greene says:
The real issues at PS 20 are about race, class and alternative lifestyles. White people, although they voted for Barack Obama they do not want a black man to oversee their child's education. Secondly, Frederik Anderson is crazy because he believes that just because he donated $10K to start a French language program, he owned Mr. Keaton and could impose his will to convert PS 20 into a dual language school.This is some real slavery stuff in Fort Greene, you work for me boy!.
June 17, 2009, 11:05 am
Candace from Fort Greene says:
The real issues at PS 20 are about race, class and alternative lifestyles. White people, although they voted for Barack Obama they do not want a black man to oversee their child's education. Secondly, Frederik Anderson is crazy because he believes that just because he donated $10K to start a French language program, he owned Mr. Keaton and could impose his will to convert PS 20 into a dual language school.This is some real slavery stuff in Fort Greene, you work for me boy!.
Finally, Mr. Keaton was expected to openly accept and embrace parents who have chosen to engage in alternative lifestyles and chose to tell their children that they do not have a dad or that they do not have a mom.
June 17, 2009, 11:09 am
Candace from Fort Greene says:
Frederik Anderson is nothing more than a spoiled man who likes to take it in the ***. Move on already and stop taking about Mr. Keaton. I know that Meghan was in love with the man does this apply to you as well. Focus your time raising you children who I have observed running wildly in Fort Greene Park, PS 20 park and the Brooklyn Tech sports field.

I have more to share and will expose you the world as the liar that you are.
June 17, 2009, 11:13 am
cynthia from ft. greene says:
I have a child at this school.. The principal will 'hear' your concerns about your child or the school, but she will not budge or work with you. She doesn't like to be wrong..
They separate the kids each year I have seen, not just mine, but many many others, so they are not with their friends the next year, and if you have a concern with your child's behavior, friends etc. the blame will be put on you (as in: well, there must be something going on at home) instead of listening to you.. ok yes sometimes that is the case. But I work and I spend little time except for the weekends with my child. My child is all day from 8:15am til 3:45pm at this school... yeah.. just a thought... Oh! and I think these kids do waaaaaaay too much academic stuff.. A child should be able to play and play-like to learn... I think academic stuff should start around mid 3rd-grade 4th... These kids need to be kids.... My child will come home saying that they are just "do this, do that" and there's no individualism... ok. yes, they are preparing them for the outside world etc.. but you can deff. put a child off on the learning front if bombarded with so much to do..
May 19, 2010, 10:05 am
dre from fort green says:
candace from fort greene has no grasp on the truth.there was no racism (mr anderson's partner is black). the gift was given with no strings attached per my info for the french program. Mr anderson's 2 boys were adopted and are black and extremely well mannered and apparently extremely happy at community roots which seems to value parental involvement far more than mr keaton. i am familiar with the family and manners and respect for everyone are very important in that household. teachers cannot be blamed for all the ills in schools and parents need to put in their fair share, to call this out is not racism, it is COMMON SENSE. you need to be more involved in your kids education to make any long lasting impact in their lives.
Oct. 10, 2010, 8:01 pm

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