The Big Screecher takes a stand on NYC charter school co-locations

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I’m madder than Al Roker in a windowless office over the fact that yesterday’s and today’s politicians continue to do what politicians have done for centuries — the wrong thing.

Look, you all know that we now have this situation in my neck of the woods where a couple of them thar charter schools are being forced down the throats of the good students, teachers, and parents of Community School District 20 and 21 — even though our new mayor ran — and won — on one simple platform — “You want school space? Then rent it!”

But then he went and did Emperor Bloomberg’s bidding and signed off on a charter school moving into the same building that houses on of my most beloved middle schools.

Now I don’t need to tell you that the only reason I voted for Mayor DeBlasio was to make sure the good teachers, parents, and students of Cavallaro Junior High School don’t end up with another school inside their school — and I’m going to use as many em-dashes as is humanly possible to make my point — so get ready — now!

The latest “Rally for the Children” happened on Thursday, March 27, when a huge crowd of parents, teachers, students, union reps, and even the media came forth to show their disgust and displeasure with the mayor for going against his word and choosing to destroy Cavallaro.

If you were there, all you needed to do was read the signs and placards to learn the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth — and here’s my concise breakdown of what some of them said, in the necessary capital letters:


Now I wonder which billionaire could afford to spend prime-time money on commercials? Hmmm.

I’ve been to the past four rallies and saw the Department of Education bull turds inaction, and since this a family newspaper or website or whatever, I’ll simply call it dishonest treachery distorting the truth. Another placard at the rally pointed out the pros — and cons — about charter schools. I asked my editor if he could make me one of those fancy charts they use in the newspapers these days, but he pointed out to me that my column still gets set in hot type, so it is impossible to do. So I’ll break it down for you as only the Screecher knows how: Charter schools are bad and traditional public schools are good.

Another sign was as pointed as a No. 2 pencil: “No More Co-Location,” it read (rules or punctuation insist I leave that comma inside the quotation mark, but I can assure you that it was not actually on the sign).

And it wasn’t just placards on oak tag that got the rally revved-up. Councilmen Vincent Gentile and Mark Treyger were there vowing to sue to stop this thing — by taking it to court! Public Advocate Letita James not only showed strong support, but also listened to the parents at a hearing she had investigating the co-location debacle.

If your were there, you probably didn’t see me, as I hang kinda low sitting atop of Tornado. But you could certainly hear me. My trumpeted “Yeeeaaahhhs!” could be heard for miles around.

In fact, my editor, who works in a lavish Downtown office, rang me on the cellphone and told me to quiet down, as he couldn’t concentrate.

Heather Fiorica, the president of the Community Education Council 21, presented the true facts of the issue: charters have spent $3.8 million dollars on advertising, and those ads have apparently hit their mark, giving the Blaz second thoughts on the issue he campaigned on.

But he fight continues. Organized and led by my bosom buddies Linda Dalton, Maria DiGraziano, Erica Kuskin, Randi Garay as well as the Cavallaro students, parents, and teachers of the “Caring School” that have worked long and hard despite losing promised funding.

Folks, I have a long history with that wonderful school. It was one of the first schools to have its own television studio and made fantastic tapes of the community and its schools in action. Where’s Bloombergs money when you need it?

If you missed channel 2, channel 7, and News 12’s coverage, you can see it on the Facebook at

And if you want to see justice prevail, drop a note to the chancellor and mayor tell you don’t want to see this co-location go through!

Congratulation to all participated and that made the rally great!

Screech at you next week!

Read Carmine's screech every Sunday on E-mail him at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Your own John Wasserman can't WAIT to return to work tomorrow and read this (because there is no way I'm not getting paid to do so)! Pardon me.
March 30, 2014, 11:19 am
StanChaz from GreenPernt says:
I agree.
Strengthen the American public school system --instead of draining away sorely needed funds and resources to these private entities.
Remember Texas Governor Perry struggling and struggling on stage, as he desperately tried to remember that it was the Education Department that he wanted to abolish? That's the real back story:
Conservatives, right-wingers, and hedge fund investors (!!) would just love to divide and conquer the public school system, and us, as they try to destroy unions, pensions, and anything that smacks of the word "government" or "public" - leaving them in charge, God help us, as they bring in their charter school Trojan Horses, as they remove public ownership and public oversight of eduction in this city, and in this country.
Money, money. money, follow the money: These charter school proponents would love to privatize and monetize everything in sight- including your children's future -as they increasingly suck up your tax dollars and public buildings and public resources for their own ideological and profit-making ends --leaving the public schools starved.
When hedge-fund managers start telling you how worried they are about your child's education - RUN! Just look at the fact that nowadays you need to mortgage your entire life, just to get a college education. Not by chance. Not by chance...
Don't believe the incredible hype on this issue, including the recent multi-million dollar NYC commercial blitz ..from these so-called "non-profit" scams.
We've spent many decades building an independent and free PUBLIC school system in this country, and it has served us well. The public school system has challenges., but that reflects our society. This is not the time to abandon our public schools -by undermining and helping to destroy them with private charter schools.
March 31, 2014, 12:38 pm
Stop your Bull!! from Way Downtown says:
Carmine - you are nothing more that a left wing twit!
March 31, 2014, 5:16 pm
Northside Ned from Greenpoint says:
An obese postman with an ant-charter, pro-union agenda? I'm shocked.
April 1, 2014, 8:51 am
Jim from Park Slope says:
Carmine and StanChaz fail to understand that charter schools ARE public schools. Like any public school, they take all kids based on a lottery. But they don't let facts get in their way.

The vast majority of charter school students come from minority and low income communities, that is why some of the strongest support for charters comes from black and latino neighborhoods (hardly bastions of hedge fund investors, conservatives and right wingers!) .

Charters bring innovation and flexibility to education which is why teachers love teaching in them and they consistently produces better results than the failing schools they replace.

My guess is that most of the opposition to charters comes from teacher union members and the politicians that rely on their money for reelection.
April 1, 2014, 9:36 am

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