Achievement First Middle School - Crown Heights

My name is Jasmine Crawford and I’m a parent at Achievement First in Crown Heights. On Monday night, after stories surfaced about dozens of children being mistreated, more than 70 parents came together and attended the Achievement First Crown Heights Board meeting to call for a change to the school’s discipline policies. This was the most parents they had ever seen at a board meeting.

As parents, we are outraged at the excessive disciplinary actions taken against our children in Achievement First schools, and, at the meeting, we let our feelings be known. Many of the scholars have had detention almost every day of the year! Trivial infractions such as dropping a pencil, not making eye contact and “slouching” have landed our children in after-school detention. Students have received demerits for having tissues in class if they were sick; one scholar stood up and told of how, after she’d used her asthma inhaler, she laid her head on the desk and received a demerit…

Even at the onset of our press conference, held before the board meeting, AF staff tried to silence parents and challenged students as liars.But we would not be silenced then, and we won’t be now…

Parents recanted stories of terror on the parts of their children in the school. With each story, a constant theme was being developed: a lack of respect from the school’s administration for parents and students, especially from Principal Blanchard and Dean Solomon.

More alarming and disturbing is that Chi Tschang, who has a history of emotionally and physically abusing children, was brought in as Superintendent of their schools. Mr. Tschang had been reported in California to have put his hands on students and using harsh punishments like sitting out in extreme cold/sun for hours. We are calling for the removal of Mr. Tschang immediately…

UPDATE: Retribution on our kids was seen the very next day at school. Scholars were forced to sign a statement in support of Mr. Solomon and praise the school and staff on videotape. More disgusting, a teacher denied a scholar a high school recommendation because of the board meeting. All was done without parent knowledge and the penalty for not following was an automatic detention…
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SCHOOL BIG 'BULLIES' KIDS, November 1, 2010, New York Post (NY) 
A Brooklyn charter school administrator who gave up his old gig in California amid charges that he had been physically and emotionally abusive to students is at it again, fed-up parents told The Post. 

Just over a year into Chi Tschang's role as assistant superintendent of middle schools for the Achievement First charter school network in Brooklyn, a student’s mother said he aggressively grabbed an 11-year-old boy he was kicking out of class last month.


"[Tschang’s] not supposed to do that," said the AF Crown Heights mom, who asked to be identified only as Lorna. "He’s supposed to speak with his mouth, not grab him." 

Several other parents at the Crown Heights school questioned Achievement First’s judgment in hiring an educator who resigned as head of KIPP Fresno, part of the Knowledge Is Power Program charter network, in February 2009 after an investigation into his disciplinary practices. 

Achievement First officials, who have fielded complaints about their strict discipline in the past, stood by Tschang, despite the ruckus raised earlier this year when he took a misbehaving Crown Heights student home in his car.
That incident prompted the network’s co-CEO, Doug McCurry, to write parents a six-page letter in May that qualified Tschang’s move as a misunderstanding of school policy…

Tschang resigned following a report issued in December 2008 in which the school district of Fresno, Calif., found that he had pushed students against the wall, repeatedly yelled at them and instituted various forms of punishment that "exceeded the bounds of the law."… 

In response to an allegation that he had picked a student up, held him against the wall by his neck and dropped him, Tschang told probers, "I don’t remember picking up and dropping a student, I do remember shaking a kid."
A message left at a number listed for Tschang Friday was not returned. 

Fresno district officials dismissed the characterization of their probe as biased, noting it had been conducted by an independent investigator.

Chi Tschang was featured in this segment on Oprah in 2003 when he was a teacher at Boston’s Academy of the Pacific Rim charter school. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was turned down for a position at Achievement First.
I am telling my story to our state representatives. I do not want another one of these schools in our state, especially after I did some digging and realized what they are looking for, in my opinion.
I left home at 13. My mother was a drug addict. I lived on the streets for three years, making sure that I went to school as much as possible. I collected bottles and cans for money in order to eat.
I got an apartment when I was 16 years of age and worked any job on the side in order to make it.
I went to college and earned my BA, then a couple of MA's. I won teaching awards and then became an administrator.
I saved to children's lives in four years as a VP.
I am a minority candidate who, as a teacher, had her classrooms always score at the top.
I never sent a kid to the office in seven years.
In my interview, I felt like I was was almost as if I was taking up the interviewers time. She was so honed in on was incredible.
It was only after the interview that I looked closer, beyond what I had heard and had my "aha" moment.
Look into this group before you leap. There are single sex black high schools that are making miracles and look at the Harlem Children's Zone...they look at the whole interviewee as well as the whole child.