Stop the Closings

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At the moment it appears the only hope for stopping the city Department of Education from closing August Martin High School and 23 other schools is intervention by the courts.

The puppet city Panel for Educational Policy voted three weeks ago to close the schools. The panel, dominated by appointees of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, decided to spare two schools that had friends in high places.

The plan has been vigorously denounced by Council members, state senators and state Assembly members representing the districts where these schools are located. They are speaking for the people they represent who are angry about the closings.

Who is lame-duck Bloomberg speaking for? In essence, he is saying he knows better than the people who elected him. In fact, he does not understand what these schools mean to communities. His plan to close August Martin HS and reopen it with a new administration and name is costly and foolish.

The decision to make all the teachers in these schools resign and reapply for their positions is mean-spirited. The DOE is blaming teachers for its failure to fund and monitor these schools and control class sizes.

The millions spent on closing the schools would have been better spent fixing them.

We urge the elected officials who have denounced the mayor’s plan to not give up. Challenge the plan at City Hall. Challenge the plan in Albany. And, most importantly, challenge the plan in the courts.

If this city is still a democracy, the closings should not happen.

Troubled Dream Act

As of this writing, the Dream Act, a bill that would help undocumented immigrants obtain public funds to pay for college, is stalled in Albany. Even Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reluctant to take a stand.

This bill is made for the Tea Party activists opposed to spending taxpayer money on anything other than the deportation of immigrants.

In the end, the Dream Act controversy is a tempest in a teapot. It is estimated that the cost of giving these students access to funds will be less than $1 million a year.

The state Legislature should pass the Dream Act before the current session ends.

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