Despite criticism, the city Department of Education is moving forward with its plan to close “struggling” neighborhood schools and reopen them in the same building with new names.
In western Queens, the DOE is targeting Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood and William Cullen Bryant HS in Astoria. The schools will close at the end of the school year and reopen as “new schools” in the fall. The plan is maddening and opposed by nearly every elected official and the communities that these schools serve.
This is a show put on in order to receive federal School Improvement Grants. The Panel for Education Policy is scheduled to vote April 26 on whether or not to close these and other schools. The PEP has never voted against the wishes of the puppet master at City Hall.
What sense do the closings make? If these schools are not performing up to the standards set by the DOE, then find out why and make the changes that need to be made. This will require investing more money into the schools and making certain teachers have the textbooks and equipment they need to deliver a quality education. The DOE plan to close and reopen schools will also require a substantial investment.
The DOE needs to look at class sizes, infrastructure and the challenges faced by students in each of these schools. It may be that the administrations need to be changed and some teachers may need to be trained. After years of neglect, it is infuriating the DOE has decided to destroy schools.
The last time the DOE held a public meeting in Brooklyn to discuss this approach, the people who could squeeze in were so angry the DOE officials could not be heard. But the officials did not get the message that the parents with children in the targeted schools are mad as hell.
The United Federation of Teachers is opposed to the plan. Sadly, the Bloomberg administration has never listened to or shown respect for the teachers’ union.
A spokesman for City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said her office was “totally opposed” to closing Grover Cleveland HS and would be working with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott to keep it open.
©2012 Community News Group
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