Last night, the Panel for Educational Policy voted to close or partially shutter 23 public schools, a record-setting decision that has many parents angry and upset. Nearly 2,000 angry moms and dads, joined by protesters from the Occupy movement, crowded into the Fort Greene auditorium where the vote was being held last night to demand an explanation. Most of the schools slated for closure are in Central Brooklyn, but the city also voted to shut down three in Manhattan. Of the 23 schools voted on, 18 will be shut down entirely, while the remaining five will lose some of their grades (and therefore, some funding).
The schools in question came under scrutiny for their low test scores and graduation rates. Many of them suffered under the burden of special-needs and poverty-stricken students, factors that can make it difficult for instructors to help students even when they are well-trained.
Mayor Bloomberg has long advocated completely shutting down failing public schools in order to re-open new ones in the same areas, a move that many have criticized as too little, too late. City Councilmember Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn said at the hearing, “The mayor has had 10 years and he’s failed.”
But Councilmember Byron Davis told PIX 11 after the vote, “Why would you want your kid to go to a school where only 50 to 60 percent graduate. Because they don’t know the system.”
The full list of school closures is as follows:
PS 215 Lucretia Mott, 535 Briar Place, Far Rockaway