You have to see the headline here--After Blasting Success Board Chair Chancellor Rosa to Visit Success Academy on the First Day of School. Over at reformy Chalkbeat, it's Moskowitz now, Moskowitz later, and Moskowitz all the time, because that's what's important over there. Here's the thing--PS 55 is mentioned in passing:
“Chancellor Rosa selected two schools to visit in her hometown community in the Bronx, P.S. 55 and Bronx [Success] Academy 2, which are co-located in the same building,” said department spokeswoman Emily DeSantis. “These schools collaborate to provide the best learning environment possible for students in the school community. As chancellor of the Board of Regents, it is Chancellor Rosa’s duty to serve in the best interest of all schoolchildren.”
That's a quote, of course. After that, the reporter goes back the Chalbeat beat--everything you ever wanted to know about the Moskowitz Academy. They rehash recent history, and fill us in on everything we read over the last two weeks. The writer says not one word about PS/ CS 55. For all we know from reading the article, it may as well be a lamppost.
But I know for a fact that this is a very special school with a unique and activist principal. I met PS 55 principal Luis E. Torres at Fordham when we were on a panel together. I didn't agree with everything he said (what with his being a principal and all), but it was quite clear to everyone in the room that Torres was a passionate educator willing to go the extra mile for the students he served.
Torres has been principal since 2004, and seems to have turned his school around without resorting to the endless test prep that characterizes Moskowitz Academies. Torres runs a public school and you won't see kids there peeing their pants because they're fearful of abandoning test prep. You see, in public schools, they consider denying basic human needs to constitute corporal punishment. (Of course, Chancellor's Regulations don't apply in Moskowitz Academies. They're public schools only in the sense that they take public money.)
I'm pretty sure that Torres doesn't simply toss kids out when they don't pass tests. For one thing, he seems to have been underestimated when he was a kid. Some counselor told him he wasn't college material. I cannot imagine that Torres, after having made a career of proving the counselor wrong, would treat kids the way that counselor treated him. Also, what with his school being public and all, he can't make up "got to go" lists.
I'm not a professional reporter. I'm just a lowly schoolteacher. So ask yourself this--how come I know about Luis E. Torres and Chalkbeat doesn't? Isn't it their job to know whether the school has a health, wellness and learning center, for example? Shouldn't they know if he won awards? I'm absolutely sure that Torres has done a whole lot of things I don't know about. But here's the thing--I did five minutes of research and I know more than Chalkbeat does.
If you read the Chalkbeat piece, you'd probably mistake PS 55 for a 99 cent store, or a laundromat, or something. I mean, it isn't a charter school so why bother doing even the most cursory research on it? And really, what's the difference between Luis E. Torres and Iggy Wochuck? You never heard of Iggy Wochuck? Well, reformy Chalkbeat has never heard of Luis E. Torres.
By focusing on charters and ignoring what's great in public schools, Chalkbeat ignores the vast majority of what's going on in New York City education. The writer goes to Moskowitz for a quote, but doesn't bother speaking to Torres. It's all about Eva over at Chalkbeat World.
I don't speak for Chancellor Rosa, and I can't read her mind. But what about this--could it be that she wishes to see PS 55, it happens to be in the same building as the Moskowitz Academy, and she's therefore visiting that too? I really don't know, but it's just as possible as any other explanation.
If you relied on Chalkbeat for education information, that thought would never cross your mind.