Screening of Brooklyn Castle
Wednesday, October 16 at 7:30pm
46 West 116th Street
After the screening there will be a panel discussion featuring Junior Open Champion Justus Williams, Director/Producer Katie Dellamaggiore, Georgios Alexopoulos, and Nadya Ortiz. They will discuss Wall Street, Charter Schools, and Chess.
For tickets (click here)
BROOKLYN CASTLE tells the stories of five members of the chess team at Intermediate School 318, a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country and the first middle school team to win the United States Chess Federation’s national high school championship.
Mayor Bloomberg cut the budget, and there is no money for after school programs like the chess team at I.S. 318. Unless the kids can raise $20,000, the famous chess team is dead. Yet, Eva Moskowitz Founder and CEO of the Success Academy held a fundraiser for her charter school chain and raised $7 million in one night. Success Academy currently has 20 schools in New York City and is looking to grow to 100 within the next decade.
The Board of Directors for the Success Academy includes many hedge fund-managers such as Joel Greenblatt, John Petry, Jay Bryant, Steven M. Galbraith, Kevin Hall, W. Yen Liow, Daniel S. Loeb, Richard S. Pzena, and John H. Scully. Wall Street is looking to privatize America’s public schools. Using a number of policy schemes including school vouchers and for-profit charter schools, the education privatization movement seeks to take over America’s largely public K-12 education system and put it in the hands of some of the very same people who caused the financial crash on Wall Street.
One group that has been successful in pushing this wave of privatization is Democrats For Education Reform (DFER), a group of largely finance industry Democrats who advocate for expansion of charter schools and high-stakes testing, among other policies. Daily News Columnists and Democracy Now! co-host reported on the relationship between Wall Street and charter schools:
I’ve been trying now for a couple of years is to try to figure out why is it that so many hedge fund managers, wealthy Americans and big banks, Wall Street banks, have — executives of Wall Street banks, have all lined up supporting and getting involved in the development of charter schools. And I think I may have come across one of the reasons: there’s a lot of money to be made in charter schools. And I’m not talking just about the for-profit management companies that run a lot of these charter schools.
It turns out that at the tail end of the Clinton administration in 2000, Congress passed a new kind of tax credit called a New Markets Tax Credit. And what this allows is it gives an enormous federal tax credit to banks and equity funds that invest in community projects in underserved communities, and it’s been used heavily now for the last several years for charter schools.
An article in The New York Times raises the issue:
[D]o [charter schools] cherry-pick students, if not by gaming the admissions process, then by counseling out children who might be more expensive or difficult to educate — and who could bring down their test scores, graduation rates and safety records?
The idea that Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy indeed cherry-picks its students is supported by an article in The Daily News:
The Upper West Side Success Academy charter school has touted itself for not trying to push out kids with special needs or behavior problems, but a parent has audio to the contrary.