The New York City teachers union is defending their UFT Charter School amid poor grades and a revolving door of principals, as the school undergoes a review period that will decide its fate, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Brooklyn school was founded in 2005, when former United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten wanted to demonstrate that they could create a successful charter school where educators worked under the existing teachers contract. The school has about 1,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and was – at the time – the first union-led charter school in the country.
But, according to the Journal, students have faltered on state tests, while principals have been replaced several times in the past seven years. This year, the elementary and middle school levels received their second D in three years on a city report card.
"After some years of struggling, we are seeing some important signs of progress," Sheila Evans-Tranumn, the school director since 2010, told the Journal.
The school's fate will be at the hands of the State University of New York, though, who approved the charter for an original five-year contract, and a subsequent three-year renewal after posting "ambiguous or mixed" results in 2010.
Staffers from SUNY's Charter School Institute are evaluating the UFT school in East New York this week, with a decision likely be made by February, a SUNY spokesman told the paper.
According to a report given to the SUNY board of trustees last month – and first obtained by GothamSchools – the UFT charter was the only one of 13 elementary or middle schools up for renewal that scored on par or below others schools in its district.
“As part of the renewal process, we will be meeting with the SUNY Charter School staff [sic] to discuss the situation at the school, and to talk about the new programs we are instituting — including Saturday remediation and a College Bound program — designed to improve student performance, particularly in the middle school grades,” school board member Evelyn DeJesus told the blog, in a statement.