The schools targeted for closing educate a significantly higher percentage of high-needs students — English language learners, special education students and poor students — than surrounding schools. The criteria for closing schools seem to be a moving target, with different DOE measures being cited in different cases; and some of the schools on the list have made progress on every measure or received bonuses for improving scores. Rather than address the needs of struggling schools and provide resources and support, the DOE’s response is to walk away and shut down the schools. But this will simply displace vulnerable students yet again, pushing them further to the margins. It does not address the real needs of high-needs learners at all. Tell the Bloomberg administration that these proposed school closings represent a fundamental abrogation by the DOE of its duty to educate all of our city’s children.
This is called "school choice." It means that Mayor Bloomberg can choose to leave your neighborhood with less school space, or even no school space. He can diminish or close your school, and if you have no neighborhood school he won't even give you a damn metrocard so you can get to whatever school he says you need to go to. Public transport too expensive? Walking an hour-and-a-half in the below-zero wind chill helps battle childhood obesity.
Most communities wouldn't stand for the decimation of their school systems. But New York City has turned their community over to a demagogue who cares only to get as much public school money into the hands of as many private entities as possible."
This will be our last chance to tell PEP that closing schools should be a last resort, not a first, and to call the DOE on its cynical strategy of closing schools to blame the schools and their teachers for a school’s problems, instead of the DOE’s own mismanagement or neglect. Check out the UFT’s comprehensive Web page on the school closing campaign, where you’ll find links to related news stories, all the public hearing dates and locations, videos produced by the schools, links to school’s Facebook pages, and much more.
TRUMAN staff: Please email me if you are intending to go to any or all of these and, as usual, we will try for a contingent. All of the protests are starting at 4 p.m., so there's no time to go for a drink first. We'll have to "get into the mood" on the subway, where experience has shown repeatedly that if you carry posters on the train, you'll do more to educate New Yorkers than most of the city's news media.