DOE's Panel for Educational Policy voted seven to one in favor of Success Academies, which is led by former Councilwoman and current CEO Eva Moskowitz.
The charter elementary school will take up vacant space in the M.S. 50 building, located at 183 South Third Street, left by the Academy for Young Writers, which recently got its own building in East Williamsburg, according to DOE.
The decision followed weeks of opposition from community members who said the area needs a new middle school instead of another elementary school.
Those in favor of the charter school say it will bring a higher level of education to the area.
Williamsburg resident Elishia Prince said she put applications in to the school, set to open in September 2012, for her two kids, one for kindergarten and the other first grade.
“I found out about Success Academies when I started looking for schools for my children,” Prince said.
She said she looked online and saw Success Academies received a 10 out of 10 rating on GreatSchools.org.
“A lot of the parent reviews were really, really awesome,” she said.
Next, Prince went on a tour of a Success Academy on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where she saw its unorthodox but successful educating methods, she said.
“I was completely blown away,” Prince said, “and I was left feeling very, very excited.”
The Success Academy is a positive way to fill the space in M.S. 50, she said, and will help the middle school by sending students to it who received a good educational foundation.
“It's about quality education,” Prince said. “It's about the children.”
But not everyone in the neighborhood agrees.
For example, more than 150 public school advocates held a rally outside M.S. 50 before attending a DOE hearing regarding the proposal on Thursday, February 16. Speakers at a press conference accompanying the rally expressed fear that the co-location will eventually lead to the closure of M.S. 50.
“We are being told as a community,” Councilwoman Diana Reyna said at the conference, “we must accept what would be the decision on behalf of the Department of Education to co-locate another charter school in this district.”
She said charter schools are a quick fix on behalf of DOE, which is failing to improve struggling public schools on a citywide level.
“Today, we are here to tell the Department of Education they must be responsible for the education of our children,” she said. “Any failure assumed by our students is a failure on their minds, hearts and soul.”