[ProgressiveEd] URGENT: Virtual Rally Information -- CHANGE

[email protected] [email protected]
Mon, 3 Mar 2003 12:42:05 EST

Dear PENNY members,
We had to change the format for sending the cover letter.  Below is a list of 
the people to send emails to.  Please copy the letter below and send it to 
the appropriate people.  Please copy the letter below, and add a sentence of 
your own supporting progressive schools in New York.  Then, under your name, 
identify your school(s).  
Here are the names with email addresses.
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
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Copy this letter:
                                            March 3, 2003
Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein, Deputy Chancellor Diana Lam, and Regional 
We applaud you for taking decisive steps to turn around education in New York 
City.  We agree that change is necessary and that accountability is a major 
part of making our schools successful.  We agree with Chancellor Klein’s 
efforts to create smaller school communities and support his commitment to 
autonomy for schools that can demonstrate that they’re successful.
Over thirty years ago, the cutting edge of public school reform arose in New 
York City.  At that time, a pair of provocative ideas – small schools and 
school choice – generated wide ranging discussions that soon became part of 
the national lexicon surrounding effective public schooling.  These ideas 
have achieved prominence, gaining even more adherents than the charter or 
voucher movements.
These small schools exist because parents choose them.  Every year, parents 
seek to enroll their youngsters in these “alternative” schools in numbers 
that far outstrip the current capacity of these schools.
What distinguishes these small schools?
• A degree of autonomy in terms of staffing, curriculum, school structure, 
and program,
• Support for parental, student, and staff choice,
• Small size, so that students, parents, and staff can be known by one 
• Cohesive vision,
• A wide range of learners, including recently arrived immigrant students and 
children with special needs (a non-exclusive admissions policy),
• Students who are critical thinkers and activist citizens in a democracy,
• Extensive parent involvement,
• Collaborative relationships,
• Shared leadership among staff and parents,
• Peer staff development,
• Authentic methods of assessment,
• High attendance,
• Orderly environment (low suspension rate).
Our schools are very successful when measured by:
• the achievements of our graduates,
• the level of parent participation,
• the diversity of the student body,
• the level of staff development and commitment,
• the creative and engaging curricula,
• the relationship of trust between teachers and students.
We feel strongly that using results from standardized tests to measure a 
school’s success is limited, at best.  We envision for our school system an 
educational experience where children are treated with respect and dignity, 
where they develop minds open to exploration and inquiry, where teachers are 
dedicated and fulfilled, where all children are engaged and challenged, and 
where children who have historically been excluded from opportunity are 
deliberately included.
We hope you share our vision and that you will do all in your power to enable 
us to continue to do this extraordinary work and to create more schools like 
ours.  An important step is to grant our waiver requests.  
Bruce Kanze
For the Progressive Education Network of New York
Fax Number 212 831 5155