Today’s news:

Magna Carmine: Screecher wants to end mayor’s tyranical school policies

for The Brooklyn Paper

How “Low” can you go!?! I’m madder than a squirrel who’s lost his nuts over the city’s cockamamie plan to put little kids inside Seth Low Intermediate School in Bensonhurst as part of an even more cockamamie plan to house a charter school in my beloved IS 96.

And what gets me even more steamed is the fact that it is the same cockamamie plan!

Look, you all know that the ol’Screecher was once a card-carrying member of the local Community School District back when men were men and the mayor didn’t control what went on in or schools — or give away space within those walls to new schools run by people who are not running the old school.

Back then, our schools were considered the best in the city, and we did just fine without having to worry about tyrants in City Hall stealing the democracy out from under us. And we certainly didn’t worry about former couicilmembers shoving their own schools down our throats.

The latest bad idea has another one of those charter schools — this one with little tiny kids in it — moving into Seth Low, home of bigger kids.

Now, folks, I don’t need to tell you that this is an obamanation form the get-go, because what kind of sick parent would want to put his kindergartner in a school with a bunch of potty-mouth tweens and teens in the first place?

And I also know exactly what you are thinking now: “Carmine, how the heck can you condemn an entire generation of students like that when you can’t possibly know for certain that every kid uses expressions like “Shut the front door.”

Well I’ll tell you how I know — because its true!

But that isn’t the only reason I wouldn’t allow these little tykes in with the bigger kids. In fact, there is another one, and it has do do with finances. Do you know how much it would cost to lower all the urinals so the little ones can make? Well, I don’t either, but my guess is a lot, and it ain’t worth it!

Couldn’t the charter school find a place that already has bathrooms that are little-kid friendly?

So that was one of the points I made last week during a hearing on this plan. As usual, I charged down to the gathering and was the first in line to speak. But they wouldn’t let me and my trusty steed Tornado take the microphone until after a slew of politicians, the principal of Seth Low, and some kids from the school spoke first.

Now you know as well as I do that the old adage in Vaudville is to never follow kids or animals. Faced with this impossible dilemma, all I could do was echo the sentiments of all those people who spoke against the plan — and they all did — then bring up the problem with the urinals.

So that didn’t go over to well for me, but I tell you this, something went over even worse.

Turns out while I was out doing my civic duty and demanding a misguided plan be stopped in it’s tracks, my lovely wife Sharon was at Kohl’s charging up a storm on her credit card. And when I say her credit card, I mean our credit card, because who do you think gets stuck with the bill?

So, we learned two things this week: the co-location at Seth Low is bad, and when you hear that incredibly loud screech later in the month, it’s me getting my Kohls bill!

Screech at you next week!

Read Carmine's screech every Sunday on E-mail him at

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Jim from Cobble Hill says:
"Carmie" can whine "charter schools BAD!" all he wants, but he's certainly not standing when he does it.
Oct. 6, 2013, 9:30 am
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Pardon me, Jim. My name is John Wasserman. Hello. Are you ok? Normally, what people that have smarts still left in them, would normally disregard such a colmn. I'd "normally" ask you why you even bother. It's a nice day, and NE is playing CN. Dig it, as my son "edger" says!
Oct. 6, 2013, 2:08 pm
Ed from Bay Ridge says:
JohnW, with all due apologetic respect, it is NOT a "nice" day (as generally understood via totality of circumstances). It is gray and gonna-rain-y, which I have tried to redeem via three tacos, two beers, a tortoni, vacuuming the Cheetos out of my car and reading an "important" (aka boring) book, which my dog sort of ate part of ... But let's move on.

For the first time ever or ever again, I agree (gag, choke) with crazy Carmine, at least schoolwise.
Oct. 6, 2013, 4:14 pm
Joe from Bay Ridge says:
District 20 and 21 are lucky to have the Success Academy Charter schools coming into the area. Look at their record, students coming out of these schools do better than G&T students on tests and their every day work is a grade or above their peers. If there is a cost to changing the bathrooms, I'm sure Success would foot that bill as they have made improvements to other schools where they are housed.

As for the schools being better before Mayoral control, that is just laughable. Under the Board of Education, we had a system with no accountablity. When our schools scored below similar schools in the state and nation, who did we have to blame? The Mayor - nope; the boro presidents - not really; the chancellor? We're getting warmer - but who did he answer to?

In those days the schools were literally falling apart and textbooks were woefully outdated. The dropout rate was skyhigh and on campus drug use in schools like Fort Hamiliton was common place.

Charters are not for everyone and no one is forced to send their kid to one. But, they do offer an alternative for partents who are not happy with their zoned school.

Why is a choice so threatening?
Oct. 7, 2013, 10:43 am
HB from FG says:

Carmine doesn't seem to be expressing that he's against charter schools. He is pointing out that it could be a lose-lose situation in that the LOCATION is not good for older kids as it will intrude on limited resources, nor for the younger kids for the many reasons he outlined.
Oct. 7, 2013, Noon
Joe from Bay Ridge says:
HB: It's hard to figure what his position is on charters but when he writes "we did just fine without having to worry about tyrants in City Hall stealing the democracy out from under us. And we certainly didn’t worry about former couicilmembers shoving their own schools down our throats." It seems to be in defense of the old BOE system vs. today's system, which offers more choice.

I have to be honest and admit that I'm not familiar with the dynamics at Seth Lowe. However, Success co-locates in other locations and the children are safe and kept separated. Community members pulled their hair out, screamed bloody murder, and predicted the end of all time before these schools opened. What ended up happening is that the schools opened, the sun came out the next day and all went well for all parties involved.

The people who are most upset by Success and their success is the UFT. This is a matter of choice and nothing more.
Oct. 7, 2013, 12:34 pm
Vito from Sheepshead Bay says:
Hey,Carmine, stick to the pasta fazool ! Its a you that don't alike my recipe. You a Fooly cause you donta make a real pasta fazooly! I no a wanta your gassy column! Ciao!
Oct. 8, 2013, 12:52 pm
Vito from Sheepshead Bay says:
P.S. Now looka at a Joe . He know a real fazool when he eata one ! Very Gassy!
Oct. 8, 2013, 12:54 pm

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