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Stop the DOE Madness

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Talk about not learning fast. Once again, the city Department of Education is talking about closing Jamaica High School and three other schools in southeast Queens. The idea is as dumb now as it was a year ago. The DOE bureaucrats do not have a clue what this school means to its community.

The other schools targeted for closure are Beach Channel HS, IS 231 Magnetech 2000 in Laurelton and PS 30 in Jamaica. They are on a list of 26 “failing schools” citywide. They will be required to stop taking in new students, opening the way for the creation of smaller schools in the same building.

We urge incoming city Schools Chancellor Cathie Black to put a moratorium on this madness. Jamaica HS is more than a set of scores on a standardized test. It is part of a community with a history and has a role to play in Jamaica’s future.

While the DOE did meet with parents and members of the community, the decision was made from the agency’s fortress in Lower Manhattan, most likely by bureaucrats who have never been inside the schools they want to shutter. The UFT has vowed to fight the proposal.

City Councilman Ruben Wills said he will work with the DOE to find a better solution for students. He and Councilman James Sanders should ask Black to visit southeast Queens to see firsthand the unique challenges faced by the targeted schools, including the fact that many of the students come from low-income homes where, in many cases, parents speak broken English.

It may be that Black will see a need to make some changes in the administrations. It may also be that she will want to revisit what constitutes success in an inner-city school. There is more to look at than test scores on a spread sheet. Every school is part of a community.

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