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More School Closings
December 6th, 2010

The Department of Education has just announced 11 schools it seeks to close or phase out and also said it would not renew the charter for one charter school, Ross Global.

If there is any lesson to be drawn from the list, it is that some of the most touted reforms of the recent years do not, in and of themselves, guarantee success. The list includes the charter school, a single sex school, several new schools that replaced larger failing ones, and a school that set out to copy another successful school. It also, of course, includes some more traditional schools.

Five of the schools — Kappa II, Academy of Environmental Science, School for Community Research and Learning, Beach Channel High School and New Day Academy — were slated to be phased out or closed intime for this school year. They clung on to life after courts, acting on lawsuit filed by the United Federation of Teachers and the NAACP, halted the closures, saying the city had not adequately assessed the impact shutting the school would have.

Earlier this year, the Department of Education cited 55 schools it considers struggling for possible closing or phase out. Today’s announcement, though, does not mean the 43 other schools on the list can breathe easy. The city will announce another round of closures tomorrow, according to a statement from Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg.

More on Ross and the 11 other schools after the jump.

The statement says it will soon propose replacing at least some of the schools being phased out with new schools in the same building.

The closures must be approved by the Panel for Educational Policy, which is expected to review them plans at a meeting in February. Last year, the panel approved the department’s recommendations for closing school despite hours of emotional objections from community members, students and teachers. There is no reason to expect that will not wield that rubber stamp again.

After being widely lambasted last school year for not consulting with the community on some of the closings, Sternberg in his statement said that this time around the department had “many weeks of conversations with school communities and families,” before reaching decisions he described as “tough” and “difficult.”

For Ross Global, the announcement represents a dramatic fall from grace since it was launched amid fanfare in 2006 by multimillionaire Courtney Ross. Ross aimed to replicate aspects of her posh private school in the Hamptons in Lower Manhattan. The school for grades kindergarten through eight pledged to provide a “holistic education,” and featured classes in Chinese and a longer school day The Department of Education for a time gave the school space in its own headquarters at Tweed Courthouse.

In five years, though, Ross Global has had seven principals. Last February, the Post reported that in a single school year, 91 of 410 students left as teachers turnover soared and parents complained of discipline problems. It had the dubious distinction of having the lowest grade of any city school on the progress reports — school report cards — issued earlier this year.

In addition to Ross, the schools being closed are:

P.S. 30 in Jamaica; grades pre-k through 5

P.S. 260, the Breuckelen School, in East New York; grade pre=k through 6;

M.S. 571the Bergen Upper School, in Prospect Heights; grade 6 through 8;

Kappa II in East Harlem; grade 6 through 8. When it was slated for closure last year, virtually no one objected.

I.S. 231, Magnetech 2000, in Springfield Gardens; grades 6 through 9;

John F. Kennedy High School in Kingsbridge; grade 9 through 12; this is somewhat small than many of the high school the city has closed with about 1,300 students;

Academy of Environmental Science Secondary High School in East Harlem; grades 7 through 12. This was one of the small schools created by the city to replace larger, failing high schools. It has an enrollment of less than 500.

School for Community Research and Learning in Soundview; grades 9 through 12. Another small school — with about 400 students — it launched in 2003 as a collaboration with Lehman College;

Beach Channel High School in Far Rockaway; grade 9 through 12 with about 1,350 students;

New Day Academy in Morrisania; grade 6 through 12. Also a relatively new school, it opened in 2005 and was founded by Replications, a nonprofits that identifies successful schools in poor area and tries to repeat their success in other schools. New Day was modeled after Central Park East Secondary School.

Urban Assembly for History and Citizenship for Young men in Tremont; grades 9 through 12. This school opened in the building that once housed Taft High School in 2004, another in the effort to replace large failing high school with smaller school, founded on a theme. This one, with about 258 students, stressed African heritage and civic responsibility.

By on December 6, 2010, 1:32 pm
In category: Education,Gotham City | 4 Comments »

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4 Responses to “More School Closings”

  1. sal Says:
    December 7th, 2010 at 9:04 am

    “schools on the list can breathe easy” – the correct form of “easy” should be an adverb, “easily.” Journalists need to clean up their grammatical skills before we start closing “failing schools.” But that is just my opinion.

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