Some W’burg parents don’t want ‘Success’ in their schools

Some W’burg parents don’t want ‘Success’ in their schools
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Opponents of a plan to bring a politically connected charter school to Williamsburg slapped disparaging remarks on subway ads promoting it.

Critics vandalized a series of subway ads for the Success Charter Network — a group of charter schools that aims to open an elementary school in Williamsburg this fall — on the same week that the neighborhood’s community board called on the city to reject plans for the school.

The sticker taggers targeted ads at the Bedford Avenue L-train station, slapping down stickers featuring speech bubbles that chastize the education organization for its aggressive marketing and its alleged mistreatment of Spanish-speaking students, among other critiques.

“$uccess Academy spent $1.6 million on marketing in 2009-2010,” one of the stickers reads. “Could this money have been used in the classroom?”

Another sticker turns a photograph of a student into an attack on the school.

“There is one focus at a Success Academy school — testing,” the sticker reads.

The Success Charter Network, run by former Manhattan councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, put up the glossy ads in the Williamsburg subway station, not far from JHS 50 on S. Third Street, where the organization wants to add a 200-child elementary school.

The Department of Education proposed the charter school share space with an existing junior high school, but community leaders and parents have denounced the move.

Community Board 1 members urged the city to reject the co-location plan in a resolution at a full board meeting on Tuesday and about 50 parents met on Wednesday night in Williamsburg to express their frustrations.

“Success Charter is not what our community needs — they’re offering an elementary school when we have four in the neighborhood,” said CB1 member Esteban Duran. “The city just wants to give the whole entire space to Eva.”

A Success Charter Network spokeswoman said Williamsburg is an attractive destination for a school because “there is a need for better elementary and middle schools” in the neighborhood and the charter organization’s schools are among the highest performing in the state.

Moskowitz began expanding her Manhattan charter network into Brooklyn last year and hopes to add new schools in Cobble Hill and Bedford Stuyvesant, which have also faced stauch opposition.

But the Success Charter Network boasts powerful friends — including Mayor Bloomberg, who praised Success as the city’s “most successful charter school operator” and called on it to expedite expansion plans.

Success Charter Network opponents like Williamsburg resident Kate Yourke fear the charter school will “elbow out” existing public schools in the neighborhood’s historically Latino southside.

“[Success Academy’s] claims to success in education are a mask for its real intent — to allow private money to feed at the public funding of public education,” said Yourke, who is mobilizing parents to attend a public hearing on Jan. 17.

Public hearing on Success Charter Academy at JHS 50. [183 S. Third St. at Roebling Street in Williamsburg. (718) 387-4184] on Jan 17. at 6 pm.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.

Using stickers shaped like speech bubbles, opponents of the Success Academy defaced the subway ads.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini