CALLING ALL COMMUNITY MEMBERS, PARENTS, TEACHERS AND ADVOCATES FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION!
The Department of Education, as part of its all-out attack on public education, has closed or threatened with closure almost every large high school in the Bronx.
This year, Bronx career and technical education is particular under attack – every remaining high school that at one time provided hands-on vocational training to provide immediate career opportunities in the borough is now slated for closure or turnaround.
Come to support the students, teachers and parents at one of the schools under attack, Samuel Gompers Career and Technical Education High School on Thursday night.
Located in the heart of the South Bronx, the poorest congressional district in the United States, Gompers serves a high-needs population – over 25% of the students have Special Education IEPs and 92% qualify for free or reduced lunch. Rather than choosing to support the school in its efforts to educate and graduate its students, the DOE has chosen to phase the school out. The school is rumored to be targeted by some charter school operations for its building.
This is direct racial attack on our South Bronx neighborhood which meshes with the campaign of gentrification that is forcing residents out through higher rents. Speak out against the racist campaign of Mayor Bloomberg for school closures and turnarounds, which only help his cronies in the charter business to privatize education by creating chaos and churn inside the public school system, without addressing the real needs of public schools or Black and Latino students.
Join us in defending Samuel Gompers and challenging the DOE’s school closing agenda!
Thursday, February 2nd – 6pm
A Score Card for Changing Schools
Sixty-two New York City schools are on a path to be closed or otherwise re-shaped this year. Here’s a score card to help you keep track of what schools are affected and how.
This post lists the 19 schools that the Department of Education wants to phase out, along with the six that will have their middle school grades removed (that’s called truncation).
Until Feb. 9, when the Panel for Educational Policy votes on the changes, hearings are going on almost every night at the schools that are to be phased out or truncated. You can find the calendar of hearings here.
Earlier this month Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced a new proposal that will affect 33 low-performing schools that had been put on a list to either be closed or given the chance to improve with the help of federal money.
Those schools that are being asked to improve had been placed into one of three federally designated models: Turnaround, Restart or Transformation.
One condition for Restart or Transformation schools to receive federal money is that they must have a teacher evaluation system in place. But talks between the city and the United Federation of Teachers broke down in late December, and the state has said it will withhold $58 million in federal money that was promised to the city for those schools.
So, as a workaround, Mayor Bloomberg said in his State of the City address that he would take the Restart and Transformation schools and convert them to Turnaround schools.
Under this program, the city plans to shut the newly designated Turnaround schools at the end of the school year, overhaul the staff, and open the schools in September with new staffs and new names.
Turnaround schools are not required to have a teacher evaluation system in place. Instead, using a provision of the teachers union contract, the city could unilaterally replace half of a school’s teachers.
City officials said they would leave in place those principals who had served two years or less in their schools, and might seek to protect others. Otherwise, administrators will be part of the house cleaning.
The challenges in these schools are too great, and the need to overcome those challenges is too urgent, to not take immediate action, schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott wrote in a letter to Dr. John B. King Jr., the New York state education commissioner.
The city has not formally submitted an application to Dr. King for permission to begin the shuffle. But the city is expecting a friendly reception when it does: Dr. King has called the mayor’s idea of swapping Transformation and Restart schools for Turnaround designation an approvable model.
The city Education Department must submit proposal descriptions, called educational impact statements, for each school by March. Should the state approve the applications, city officials say public hearings would be scheduled for the spring. Then the Panel for Educational Policy must approve them a high likelihood since the school-governance panel is under the control of the city.
Breaking this down further, there are 13 schools proposed for conversion from Transformation to Turnaround.
Fourteen Restart model schools would convert to the Turnaround model. Those schools would continue relationships with their education partnership organizations (E.P.O.); the partnerships are formed to provide help to school administrators to improve academic performance. The 14 schools are:
Bread and Roses Integrated Arts High School
That’s only 27 low-performing schools. How did the city get to 33? It added six more persistently low-achieving schools to the Turnaround model:
Two schools, Washington Irving High School in Manhattan and Grace Dodge Career and Technical High School in the Bronx, were taken off the improvement list earlier this school year and put on the list to be outright closed.
And these four struggling schools will continue with the Transformation model because the city says they show signs of progress:
Boys and Girls High School
Lastly, four charter schools three of them in the same network have had their charters revoked or not renewed, and will close. The charters are:
Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School in Rockaway, Queens
Williamsburg Charter High School in Brooklyn
Believe Northside Charter High School in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Believe Southside Charter School in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
The Williamsburg and two Greenpoint charters are all in the Believe network overseen by the same group of people, and the city and state’s actions means that charter network has been shut down.