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Do Not Kill It, Fix It

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This time it is the state Department of Education which has recommended closing August Martin High School in Jamaica. A commission’s report cites a “low incidence of higher order thinking activities” along with ineffective teaching and pervasive lateness.

Many of the problems in the report are real. There are not enough electives for students, the science classes do not include the mandated 1,200 minutes of lab time and school resources are limited.

This is either because the principals and teachers are using school funds for vacations or the state is not allocating sufficient funds to cover the school’s needs. How is it possible the people who wrote this report could not figure that out?

What the panel that created this report found at August Martin is discouraging. It learned that mathematics classes do not have adequate access to calculators.

We are guessing the school’s teachers and administrators wanted to scream when they saw this report. They have had to make do with inadequate funding for years, but rather than address the funding problems, the panel suggested closing the school.

It may be the principal is burned out by years of trying to deal with an unresponsive bureaucracy. We can only imagine how difficult his job has been. If that is the case, new leadership may be needed, but we do not see what can be accomplished by closing a school that has been an important part of southeast Queens.

Closing any of the city’s public high schools should not be an option. If schools like August Martin and Jamaica High School have problems, then fix them.

Another Senseless Murder

The murder of Rabia Mohammed in front of her husband because she would not hand over her purse has shocked the city. Three teenagers have been arrested and charged with the murder. They allegedly were captured on a video camera walking as they walked away after killing the woman.

The NYPD posted a $12,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the murderers and it was not long until the three suspects were taken into custody. We hope the aggressive response by the police and district attorney to this crime will bring comfort to Mohammed’s family.

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