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Second Thoughts on Jamaica High School

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When the bureaucrats at the city Department of Education were considering closing down Jamaica High School, did it ever occur to them to consult parents of currently enrolled students, alumni and the Jamaica community? Did they visit the school and speak with students and teachers?

The value of a school cannot be measured solely by test scores and graduation rates.

For understandable reasons, Jamaica High School was placed on a state list of “persistently dangerous schools” in 2007. A final decision on the phase-out of the school is expected later this month. City Councilmen Leroy Comrie and James Gennaro, state Assemblyman Rory Lancman and state Sen. Shirley Huntley have asked the city schools chancellor to reconsider.

Among other concerns, community leaders said closing Jamaica High School will create overcrowding in other Queens high schools.

Something has to be done. The graduation rates are unacceptable, but since the announcement from the DOE we have seen this school is an important part of its community.

We cannot believe there is not some way to turn this school around other than cutting it into pieces. We urge the chancellor to come to Jamaica and meet with parents, elected officials and community leaders.

The Limits of Term Limits

In an otherwise inspired State of the State message in which he called for widespread ethics reform, Gov. David Paterson also asked for term limits for state legislators. He suggested senators and assembly members serve a maximum of six terms.

Unfortunately, this would do little to curb the corruption rampant in Albany and deprive voters of their right to re-elect dedicated legislators who know their needs and have served them well.

This is a democracy and we trust voters to make an informed decision whether to keep a legislator for one term or 20 terms.

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