Q: What are you trying to do?
A: The schools in other neighborhoods that you desperately want your kid to get into didn’t start out fabulous. They got that way through strong leadership and involved parents. The same transformation can be accomplished in Bed-Stuy, and we’re here to encourage and support that.
Q: Sounds good, but why should I bother to become an official member?
A: When we go talk to our elected officials and community leaders, they all want to know: how many members do you have? To them, that means, how many people do you speak for? How many out there agree with you? Why should we listen to you? There is strength in numbers.
Q: Can I get into a District 16 school if I’m not zoned for it?
A: Yes! The biggest problem in our schools is that they are under-enrolled. That’s not just because people have gone elsewhere, it’s also because of demographic trends in Bed-Stuy. The upside to that is that if you like a school, you can get in, and the classes are small.
Q: I’m looking at neighborhood schools on the Internet, and they don’t have good test scores. Why would I send my kid to one?
A: Test scores are best at telling you one thing: the socioeconomic status of the kids who were tested. They don’t tell you how you’ll feel once you walk in the door.. As schools diversify, the evidence shows, outcomes are going to improve — for all kids.
Q: What if I don’t send my child to a neighborhood school? Can I still be a member?
A: Of course! Every child and family has different needs. And our schools need support from the whole community, not just enrolled families. But we would like our members to consider District 16 schools as an option.
Q: What do you do with my membership dues?
A: BSPC is an all-volunteer organization, so no money is spent on salaries or space. We do need soap, toothpaste and Doritos. Also, we make fliers, rent space, write grants, hire speakers, keep books, provide child care, and take care of assorted other organizational chores. You may see some marketing items like tote bags — those are designed to promote not just BSPC’s mission, but District 16 schools as well.
Q: Are my membership dues tax deductible?
A: Yes! Except if you get a tote bag, then it’s partially tax deductible.
Q: What do I get for being a member?
A: You get to be a member! By becoming a member, you are participating in our mission, amplifying our voice and contributing to our community. BSPC was formed by Bed-Stuy parents and the mission was shaped by consensus. The BSPC is you!
Q: What has BSPC done so far?
A: BSPC has organized school tours for dozens of parents. We’ve connected schools to enrichment opportunities like music and art instruction. We’ve donated hundreds of new children’s books. We’ve volunteered at the first-ever district science and literacy fairs. We’ve written multiple grant proposals. We’ve done three fundraisers. We have at least a dozen kids enrolling at our two District 16 focus schools, P.S. 309 and Brighter Choice, this year!
Q: Speaking of fundraisers, why do you talk so much about raising money?
A: You should see the appeals other schools send out, expecting every family to donate $1,500 or more a year to pay for $50,000 worth of extra supplies, $5,000 per class for teacher’s aides, $65,000 for art programs and $60,000 for teacher salary support. When 90 percent of your district’s students are poor, you can’t raise anywhere close to that kind of money from your own families. You can’t even ask for it. PTA fundraising is, in the words of one Clinton Hill school administrator, hidden yet “pivotal in the highly unequal districts of New York City.” This is where the broader community must step in.