The Panel for Educational Policy is certain to approve proposals to close 22 more schools at its Monday night vote. And there’s reason to believe more closures will come before the end of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s term.
Schools on the city’s “early engagement” list have finished up their meetings with education officials. They now wait to see which schools the Education Department will propose for phase-out. SchoolBook spent time at the Juan Morel Campos Secondary School which is facing possible closure for the second year in a row.
At a City Council hearing on school co-locations on Thursday, council members complained that when space-sharing plans go bad in their districts, parents turn to them for relief. City education officials said that more than half of the city’s schools share space now, and most of them do so peacefully.
An organization that occupies a middle ground between those who believe schools should be more like community centers, and the education-reform movement, is expanding into six new schools next year. In the past, the group has typically worked with schools that are already overwhelmed by the problems that students living in poverty often present.
After weeks of hearings, many of them emotionally wrenching, the Panel for Educational Policy will decide Thursday night which schools in the city they will close — partially or entirely — for academic failure.
Three days ago Education Department officials told principals at the city’s struggling schools to proceed as usual, despite the state’s suspension of nearly $60 million in federal grant money they had been promised. But with the city-state dispute still unresolved, the Education Department is now advising principals to hold up on spending those federal dollars,
The city’s deputy chancellor for portfolio planning explains the decision to recommend the closing of Washington Irving High School. Marc Sternberg wrote: “Our obligation is to our students, and we are not going to set them up for failure by pretending a school will suddenly make progress after years of failing its kids.”
Marc Sternberg, the deputy chancellor for portfolio planning, responds to some of the questions left over after the SchoolBook community event at the Pratt Institute on Dec. 8. Parents asked about their options, tutoring and “what happens to the students that schools don’t compete for,” among other topics.
A hearing on the city’s plan to open a charter school in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, lasted nearly five hours, as parents and teachers argued over whether the charter would be a boon for the neighborhood or would harm existing schools.
Former school teachers and principals, political aides and the spokeswoman for two Congressional leaders are among the people in Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott’s cabinet.
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