Today’s news:

A Sad Day for Public Education

A Manhattan judge has ruled that the mayor can move forward with his plan to close 22 city schools, including Jamaica and Beach Channel high schools.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Paul Feinman ruled Friday that the city Department of Education can close the schools despite opposition coming from the communities where these schools are located. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Manhattan-based crew have worn out their welcome. They have no idea what these schools mean to the communities they serve.

The judge offered the following twisted logic: “Because plaintiffs have failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits on their claims for a declaration that would enjoin the closure or phase-out of the designated schools, or would bar the co-locations of the charter schools in the designed public school buildings, their motion must be denied.”

His judicial robes barely conceal the emptiness of his argument. Jamaica and Beach Channel high schools are an important part of the neighborhoods they serve. If they have failed, the DOE deserves the lion’s share of the blame. The challenges these schools have faced are enormous.

We are disappointed city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott hailed Feinman’s decision.

“From the beginning of the Bloomberg administration, we have said that a primary focus of our reform efforts would be to phase out schools that have failed our children year after year and offer families new, high-quality options,” he said.

Replacing these schools with charter or smaller schools with names cooked-up on Madison Avenue is not a solution.

The problem is that Bloomberg does not understand any neighborhood in what he calls the “outerboroughs.” The teachers union and the NAACP, which filed lawsuits attempting to block the closing of the schools, are not alone. Nearly every elected Queens official is opposed to the closings, as are thousands of parents and students. For the administration to pretend the opposition comes from a small minority is dishonest.

We trust the NAACP and the teacher’s union will appeal this decision and delay this action until Bloomberg gets his walking papers.

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