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VIDEO: Parents Protest for PS 256 in Bed-Stuy to be Fixed NOT Closed!

October 19, 2011

Parents argue $427,000 in DOE cuts over last three years real reason for sudden drop in Bed-Stuy school’s performance

Some say co-located charter school expansion behind DOE move

The Department of Education placed Bedford-Stuyvesant’s PS 256 on a list of 20 low performing elementary and middle schools last month—a move many in the community saw as the first step toward closing their beloved school next year. Angry parents protested the DOE at a rally, arguing that $427,000 in cuts over the last three years led to the school’s sudden drop in performance, and demanding their resource-starved school get the help it needs from the City to get back on track.

Many parents also believe that the DOE is moving to shut down 256 so that a co-located charter school in the building, Community Partnership Charter School, can expand.

Natasha Dainty, PTA president for PS 256

“DOE set our school up to fail with almost half-a-million dollars in budget cuts over the last three years,” said Natasha Dainty, President of the PTA at PS 256. “They also raised standards while decreasing resources. Closing 256 will hurt my daughter’s education—so I will fight for my school until the very end.”

“PS 256 was co-located with a charter school last year, and closing our school will probably allow it to expand or for another charter school to move in,” said Jimmy Dinkins, Vice President of the PTA at PS 256. “Denying our school much-needed resources and then closing it is an assault on public education, and we will not stand silently and watch our children be denied their right to a quality education.”

“We have lost an art teacher, our reading intervention teacher, a school employee, a kindergarten teacher, our Saturday Academy—how can our school perform well under these circumstances?” said PS 256 parent Marquese Paige. “Our school is suffering from years of budget cuts and a lack of support from DOE. Parents are saying enough is enough: fix our school, don’t close it!”

“There is no research that shows that closing a school improves the quality of education, we need research-based solutions to improve struggling schools,” said Julian Vinocur of the Alliance for Quality Education.

This rally was organized by the parents of PS 256, the Alliance for Quality Education and the Coalition for Educational Justice.

Parents will continue to fight to make sure that PS 256 gets the supports, services and opportunities that their children deserve.

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