Your July 8-14 editorial “Jamaica HS Saved from the Gallows” concluded with, “There are problems at the school that need to be addressed, but closing the school is no longer an option.” That misses the point, I think.
The Appellate Division in its one-page opinion prevented the school from being closed right now. But the city Department of Education’s announcement of the school’s closing dramatically lowered the number of applications to its freshman class and has begun the school’s demise in spite of the court’s intervention. The DOE is also dismembering the school even now by moving other units into the building.
A careful reading of the court’s decision reveals the usual derisive attitude demonstrated by the DOE to the requirements of the law. Apparently the DOE made no attempt to follow the modest procedures in place. They submitted little more than boiler plate instead of analysis and failed to hold required hearings.
It will take little effort on the part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein to meet the weak requirements of the statute next time and close this school and others which have been irreparably harmed by them already. They will simply write a better report and hold the hearings, though the outcome will be known before anyone is heard. No doubt they will cite the low number of freshmen as an additional factor.
Surrounding high schools are already bracing for even more overcrowding than last year and we in Queens already have the most overcrowded high schools in the city.
For this travesty, we can thank most of the state legislators from Queens who voted last year to continue the mayor’s virtually dictatorial control of the schools. The mayor got exactly the bill he paid for with his generous personal campaign contributions — thus he can continue to close schools instead of improve them.
©2010 Community News Group
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