Posts tagged "school closures"
April 2, 2013
As some of the biggest news in New York City politics unfolded this morning, Mayor Bloomberg was focused on a story that hasn’t changed in more than a decade
He called a press conference to tout this year’s crop of new schools — 78 in all — at the same time as several elected officials were being arrested for trying to sell a slot on the mayoral ballot.
The 78 new schools, 26 of which are charters, represent the largest single-year total for an administration that has opened more than 650 schools since 2002. As the last new schools to open under Bloomberg, they also represent the uncertain future of the administration’s signature policies: closing low-performing schools and replacing them with new ones. (more…)
March 12, 2013
At Monday night’s Panel for Educational Policy meeting, there was a single moment of consensus: All of the panel members voted to support the proposed location for Eagle Academy for Young Men of Harlem.
But for the rest of the meeting, as expected, the panel members split along the same lines that have divided them for years, and came to the same conclusions. Mayor Bloomberg’s seven appointees backed all of the 52 other proposals to close, open, and move schools, while four members appointed by borough presidents voted against them.
The divide held when the panel considered a resolution to support a moratorium on school closures and co-locations. The resolution was brought by panel members appointed by the borough presidents: Patrick Sullivan from Manhattan; Kevin Diamond, representing Brooklyn; Robert Powell of the Bronx; and Dmytro Fedkowskyj of Queens, who called the agenda of proposals “excessive and out of control.” (more…)
March 11, 2013
If you can’t be at Brooklyn Technical High School tonight, you can follow along here. A team of reporters from the Covering Education class at Columbia University’s journalism school are reporting on Twitter from the Panel for Educational Policy vote on 24 proposed school closures. Use the hashtag #PEP311 to join in.
March 11, 2013
This year’s Panel for Educational Policy hearing about 24 proposed school closures, set to start in just over an hour, is shaping up to be a little bit different from similar hearings in year’s past.
One reason is that we won’t be live-blogging the vote, something we’ve done five times before. Instead, a team of reporters from the Covering Education class at Columbia University’s journalism school will be covering the hearing. They’ll be reporting on Twitter all night, using the hashtag #PEP311, and they’ll have the full story tomorrow.
But a more substantive shift is that the meeting is likely to be less raucous than in past years. While parents, teachers, and students have spoken out against the closure proposals at hearings across the city, organized protest has been minimal. Tonight’s resistance is likely to focus less on individual schools and more on the Bloomberg administration’s closure policy, which the panel itself will have to discuss because of a resolution calling for a moratorium on closures. (more…)
March 7, 2013
For the third time in just over a year, Herbert H. Lehman High School is being pulled off of the chopping block.
The Department of Education announced today that it would withdraw proposals to close Lehman and one other school, P.S. 140 in Queens. The two schools were among 24 facing closure votes at Monday’s Panel for Educational Policy meeting.
Department officials said they had reviewed the public comments made at the schools’ closure hearings and determined that they were likely to improve in the future. It’s a determination the department has made for a couple of schools each year, usually just days before the PEP is scheduled to vote on their closure plans.
Despite the announcement, Lehman will not actually stay open in its current form. The department announced that the school would shrink over time — from more than 2,700 students this year to about 1,000 in the future — and would still have three new schools open in its building next year, for a total of six in the building. (more…)
March 1, 2013
The massive auditorium at Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers was nearly empty Thursday night when District 2 Superintendent Marisol Bradbury read aloud the Department of Education’s proposal to open a new high school in the lower Manhattan building.
The new school would work with the National Parks Service to offer career training in carpentry, masonry, landscaping, and restoration, Bradbury explained to the handful of adults in the audience. It would open in September with a ninth grade and expand to as many as 500 students over three years, according to the department’s proposal.
At the same time as the new school grows, Murry Bergtraum would lose students. By 2018, the school would have around 450 fewer students than the 1,806 who currently attend.
The proposal would mean a jarring new change for a once-venerable high school whose reputation and performance have plummeted in recent years. But where educators and students at other schools being asked to share space have made concerted efforts to hold on to their classrooms, few at Murry Bergtraum attended the city’s public hearing to comment on the plans.
The sparse attendance at the hearing did not surprise social studies teacher and teachers union chapter leader John Elfrank-Dana, who was not at the hearing himself. “We don’t have any community here,” he said. “When you send high-needs kids across town to school, you don’t have a community.” (more…)
February 27, 2013
High schools up for closure this year actually serve fewer students with special needs than they used to, according to a new report by the city’s data watchdog group.
But because the nine high schools are much smaller than they once were, students with special needs still represent a far higher share of their total enrollment, according to the report released today by the city’s Independent Budget Office. All together, the high schools enrolled a third fewer new students last year than in 2006, the IBO found.
The report marks the fourth time that the IBO has compiled enrollment, spending, and performance data about schools that the city is trying to close. It also marked the fourth time that the office, which state law charges with scrutinizing Department of Education data, has concluded that schools up for closure have higher-than-average concentrations of high-need students. (more…)
February 22, 2013
Reprising a march they held last fall, parents and community leaders stood outside P.S. 64 Pura Belpre with signs and mock sirens and declared a “state of emergency” in District 9 Thursday evening just before a public hearing about whether the South Bronx school should be phased out.
Local residents agreed on two things: P.S. 64 remains a failing school, and they are also frustrated with the Department of Education. But they had different views on what to do next.
Everybody, including department officials, recognizes that P.S. 64 is in need of a fresh start. At the hearing, parents complained that their children almost never come home with homework, that administrators are nearly impossible to reach on the phone, and that teachers are incompetent. But while some accept that the school is beyond salvation and want the department to provide a better setting for current students, others in the community think a total closure is a bad idea. (more…)
February 20, 2013
At a public hearing where accusations flew about who is responsible for a South Bronx school’s challenges, only one person stood up to take blame.
“I apologize publicly for not doing what was expected by the community of me,” said William Hewlett, the founding principal of M.S. 203, at a hearing last week about the school’s proposed closure.
The Department of Education announced in January that it would seek to shutter M.S. 203, open since 2001, because of low performance. The middle school’s test scores put it among the bottom 5 percent of schools in the state, and it earned a C grade or lower on its last three city progress reports, which focus on student growth.
As M.S. 203 phases out, the department announced, a charter elementary school, Bronx Success Academy 1, that had shared its building for a year would be able to expand to serve middle school grades. Two other schools in the building — the Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters and P168, which serves students with severe disabilities — would stay on, but with new neighbors. (more…)
February 13, 2013
Students who attend schools the city is shuttering for poor performance will be allowed to leave, under a new policy that the Department of Education is rolling out at school closure hearings that begin tonight.
For the last decade, the Department of Education has closed schools — more than 150 in all — through a phase-out process in which no new students enter but existing students stay on until they graduate, up to three years after the closure decision. By the time the schools finally close their doors, only barebones staff and program offerings remain for the final students.
“The past policy was sort of like saying, ‘We’re going to get divorced in two years but we have to live together until then.’ It was not tenable,” said Clara Hemphill, who has reported about the impact of closures on schools and students as the editor of Insideschools. “It seems only fair that children should not be trapped in a school that the DOE has deemed to be failing.”
Now, the department will give each student in phaseout schools a list of higher-performing schools to which they can apply as part of the regular transfer process. When the department decides which transfer requests to approve, students from phaseout schools will be assigned first, starting with the neediest students who are looking for a new school. (more…)