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We all know the outcome of tonight's PEP meeting. Twenty-four schools will close at the end of the night...or in the wee hours of the morning. Mayor Bloomberg will get his way, and all the yelling and screaming will become part of the "protocol" for closing schools. Education officials' minds are made up, and I would dare to say they were made up about the two high schools spared this morning as well.
The Panel for Educational Policy is expected to vote to close 24 more schools tonight. It's the latest attempt by Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Education to improve student performance by phasing out large struggling schools and replacing them with several smaller ones.
It comes after the DOE decided this morning to remove Grover Cleveland High School and Bushwick Community High School from the list. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott says those schools have "demonstrated an ability to continue their improvements without more comprehensive actions." What do you say?
Would you vote to close the 24 schools on the chopping block at tonight's PEP meeting? Why do you think the DOE spared two schools at the last minute? Since the PEP has never voted against a DOE proposal, do you find the panel to be an accurate representation of New York City residents?
Send your thoughts using the link above.
Some of those schools probably should be closed, but the Mayor went a little too far based on very superficial data.
Rosalie from Canarsie
Closing and re-opening these schools is pointless as teachers are not the cause of the problem. It is a tool to break the UFT.Cleveland's Chapter Leader organized effective protests that got public attention and the help of Assembly Education Chair Cathy Nolan,as Cleveland is located in her district.
(Former Cleveland Teacher)
Absolutely not! A combination of proof of improvement, as well as parents and community pressure factored in a last minute reprieve for the two schools that were spared. Past voting patterns seems to indicate that the panel is controlled by the powers that be.
The two schools are just two crumbs that this dictator is throwing everyone and in the end he is still the master of his man made universe that he has bought and paid for.
NOT ONE PERSON ON ANY PANEL OF ANY KIND WILL EVER GO AGAINST THIS DICTATORS WISHES.
I STILL SAY THAT WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO WAIT FOR AN ELECTION YEAR TO GET RID OF THESE DICTATORS. THEY SHOULD START TO PERFORM IMMEDIATELY AND NOT JUST DOUBLE TALK US AND CONTINUE TO MAKE FOOL OF US ALL TIME AND TIME AGAIN.
JUST HOW MANY MONTHS WHICH ENDS UP BEING YEARS DO THEY CAMPAIGN AND CONTINUE TO PROMISE AND KEEP PROMISING UNTIL ELECTION DAY AND THEN THEY DO WHATEVER THEY PLEASE JUST TO PLEASE THEMSELVES.
The PEP is a sham, it was created to do the mayors bidding, which is to weaken public schools and create more semi private charter schools.
Felix Bay Ridge
Living in Maspeth, Queens, I was glad to hear they are keeping Grover Cleveland High School open . I was worried those kids would be going to the H.S.they are building here in Maspeth. A new H.S., our resident kids wont be able to go to. We didn't want the new school but our council member Elizabeth Crowley shoved it down our throats. We have an elementary school, a middle school and every morning I see our resident kids being bussed out and other kids being bussed in. A total waste of time, money and space. I believe that the kids should go to school in their area so that not only the kid, but the parent can be locally involved with the kids. I think Bloomberg should let the teachers teach and get the parents involved. I think Bloomberg's idea of closing schools , opening them and then having the teachers reapply for their jobs is a waste of the tax payers money. Just like the salaries of whomever thought of it.
Shirley, Maspeth, Queens
Gateway HS in the Bronx is closing, and WE didn't get off the hook~ I find that very disappointing. What's even more a slap in the face is Walcott talking about what he knows the answers...really!!??
I have had it. Again, it's politicians trying to be educators, and people calling themselves educators who are in disguise as politicians!
How ironic is that game they play!!!
I've had it!
Gateway HS, Bronx!
or should I say formerly of ...
I think the PEP, the Dept. of Education, Dennis Walcott, Bloomberg and every other government official having anything to do with schools should be on the chopping block.
Port Richmond, SI
Even though my school Grover Cleveland High School was taken off the list this morning, I am still outraged at how one man (The Mayor) and his political hacks can hold the entire city hostage and force their policies down the throats of the people he has been hired to protect and govern. I have never seen such disregard for parents , children, community leaders, local politicians or the common man. My colleagues and I were forced to work under very stressful conditions and it was just unfair to be judged by non- educators. Our children are not digits or fractions- they are people and they deserve a voice in their future. Shame on the city for allowing Mayor Bloomberg to ignore the public and dictate his own agenda. Shame Shame Shame......A Proud NYC Teacher
This Mayor is a Robin Hood for the rich. The closing of August Martin and John Adams is to make way for two hotels, because of the casino that is not far from these two school.
Many feel this mayor brought teachers in to over throw the schools and they got paid to not teach, so he can do what he is doing to our schools and kids.
We are the only group of people he is targeting, no other set of people is getting hit with his closing of hospital, seniors centers, and schools.
Councilman Tom White and Assemblywoman Vivian Cook gave lots of funds to August Martin and this school has been redecorate.This school have a state of an art Video Studio's.
This mayor does not care about anyone expect the rich who brought this 3rd election so he can do just what they plan in their back room deals.
He does not care about the kids in South Ozone Park, because everyday when they get out of school he have his rookies cops out harassing taking their bikes later you see the ambulance at the precinct.
He have sold us out in South Ozone Park, he should be impeached. I can not stand to watch him on T.V and can not stand his voice.
If you walk through the halls of Bryant High School in Queens before, during, or after school hours you will see our staff tutoring students, helping them with information and technology skills, teaching SAT Prep and College Now classes, advising our numerous and varied clubs as well as our school publications, peer-mediation groups, global organizations, the Mouse Squad, student government, the Bryant Union, and our student Honor Society. You will also see our staff coaching a wide variety of boys and girls sports, rehearsing students for full-scale theatre productions, concerts, multicultural festivals, and dance shows, preparing students for academic competitions and art, science, and math fairs, and planning special events featuring distinguished guests; e.g., survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, YA authors, motivational speakers, college representatives, and local politicians (who always comment on how impressed they are with our school and students).
Not only does our staff advise extracurricular activities and organize school events, but we also work together during weekly PDs to brainstorm ways to help our lower-achieving students succeed academically.
Our parent coordinator, teachers, guidance counselors, administrators, and other staff work diligently to encourage parental support through letters, emails, phone-calls, PA meetings, and Parent-Teacher conferences. Unfortunately, not all parents respond to this outreach, but we haven’t given up.
We are also a school that fosters and promotes social conscience. We have organized assemblies, fundraisers, and events (often initiated by our wonderful students), for a myriad of social causes such as “Respect for All Week”, blood drives, cancer walks, and Tsunami relief. Many of our students volunteer their time performing service for our principal and assistant principals, teachers, guidance counselors, librarians, deans, school nurses, mediation and college advisors, and coaches.
In addition to extracurricular activities, our school offers a variety of academic and elective courses ranging from Theatre, Music, and Art to Foreign Languages (Spanish, Italian, French, Greek, and German), Technology, and Business to AP Sciences, Math, and English. We have a large and beautiful library whose collection of print and multimedia resources reflects the diversity of the school as well as its curriculum. Some of our staff members have created and implemented blogs, Websites, videos, Comic Life, and other multimedia and communication tools in their daily instruction and have begun to share their knowledge with other teachers. In other words, we want Bryant to work and to work well. We have poured our hearts and souls into improving our school with very little support.
Are we perfect? No. Unlike charter, private, and Catholic schools, we cannot kick out students who disrupt, don't show up, or are low-performing, so we try our best to help and counsel these students. Despite what some politicians are leading people and the media to believe, most teachers go into this profession because they want to make a difference in the lives of all children, especially those who struggle. Even though we do not, like charter schools, get to select our student body, we work hard to help each student who walks through our doors succeed. Not every student wants our help, and they let us know in no uncertain terms that we are wasting our time, but we don't give up on them. However, it is difficult to carry on a tough job with the negativity and bias created against public schools and public school teachers by our mayor and other politicians, corporate executives, and media moguls. Instead of celebrating our successes, they revel in our failures—failures that are not necessarily our fault but the fault of a system designed to promote failure, and that is not conducive to our students or to education. If teachers used this line of thinking in the classroom, the results would be disastrous. Shame on the mayor for his failure to improve public education, for having an ego that would rather destroy lives, careers, and students than admit a mistake in judgment, and for blaming hardworking professionals for the mess he created. We know there is always room for improvement in any school setting, and we are willing to try anything to help our low-performing students, but we need the support of our mayor, not his derision.
Considering the strides we have made at Bryant and continue to make despite the lack of support, we feel we are unjustly targeted for closure. I am sure many of the other schools are in the same boat. The staff and students at Bryant used to laugh and smile all the time. Now most of us are heartbroken, afraid, angry, and depressed. A true leader inspires and encourages, but this is not the way Bloomberg leads. I think it’s time to close his Department of Education.
From Someone Who Cares About Public Education
I attended the "public hearing" at John Dewey a couple of weeks ago. That the outcome of tonight's PEP meeting is preordained was clearly shown by Deputy Superintendent Sternberg's language: despite claiming that the closing was not yet decided, he repeatedly referred to the new school that would occupy the building, the new name, etc - once or twice saying "proposed" new school but then dropping even that. His opening statement, about JDHS performance and safety issues, provided no clear rationale for closing the school when cheaper and less disruptive options are available. He never offered any justification for the unproven "turnaround model."
He rebutted the arguments of the speakers - everyone else on stage and everyone who spoke from the audience opposed the closure with passion and evidence - by saying 2 things: 1) JDHS is performing worse than its cohort schools in graduation rates and college readiness, and 2) yearly class size is shrinking, which, he says "suggests" dissatisfaction with the school. He never rebutted the arguments about safety: that this was largely a leadership problem, and that the situation was much improved already, since the recent replacement of the principal.
What he did not say is that the "cohort" selected by the DOE to compare with JDHS consists mainly of schools which have little in common with JDHS in terms of community served, population, and history. Nor did he mention that when looked at in terms of improvement over the last few years, JDHS is far and away the leader over its cohort (I confirmed this with him afterwards), and if this trend continues it will not be long before JDHS is firmly among the best performers (why interrupt this process? How do they expect the improvement rate to improve?). He did not mention that NONE of the "cohort" schools suffered the influx of low-performing students that dramatically affected JDHS when Lafayette High School was closed (not to mention the immediate action that the staff and faculty of JDHS undertook when they saw the effect of this influx, which is the reason for their huge improvement). And lastly, declining enrollment "suggests" many things and it is specious to claim it is related to satisfaction with the school, without asking who is leaving, and then asking them why they left (one easily imagined reason would be the relentless campaign of bad publicity and closure threats engineered by the DOE - who wants to send their kid to a school facing closure?) - not to mention looking at other factors outside the school itself which might contribute to the decline.
It is easy to see through the fake claims of openness in the procedure, false use of statistics, claims of independence of the PEP board, and claims of concern for students. It is disingenuous and in fact insulting and offensive to pretend and speak as if the outcome were not preordained, to chide us that "the vote is not yet taken" as if we cannot see the history and composition of the PEP and the plans already in place. We know the fix is in, despite the self-righteous claims to fairness, transparency and independence.
These "public hearings" and PEP votes are an example of government at its worst, a civics lesson for students in sham democracy and doublespeak. Unfortunately, as long as there is a lack of clear and in-depth reporting to the public on these issues, the mayor can act with impunity. As long as no one hears about it, the injustice and destruction that are the result of his dismal policies are as inevitable as the closing of John Dewey High School.
I wish the mayor & school chancellor would realize that not only are current teachers and student bodies affected by their decisions but also people who were once graduated from these schools with honors. Their actions will taint us too.
Arlene, Sheepshead Bay
Bloomberg's like a child who doesn't want to eat his vegetables so he pushes them around his plate to fool his mom. But we all know mom's ain't tricked that easily.
Close Ms 391
Closing schools causes havoc to the community, the student body, and the staff. It takes a long time to stabilize and regain productivity. Additionally, it is an insult to New Yorkers that Bloomberg, not even a native of this town himself, wants to remove the historical names on our high schools. As a teacher I have witnessed the confusion, frustration, and disappointment these threatened closings cause to the parents and students applying to these high schools.
The public also needs to be aware that schools are being renovated into luxury condominiums. These are well built structures, some on beautiful properties in up and coming areas, and some of the high schools on the list have pools. There is a building in Harlem that has already been renovated into condominiums. Fact.
I completely get this situation as a high school sophmore in manhattan, although my school is not on the list every school is entering panicked states for this situation. It's very sad when school stops being about the fun and benefit of education but become a place where your expected to memorize things from a textbook for this absurd regents exam. It's selfish of the department of education and of the U.S.A.
Bianca From East Harlem
The Poll numbers are out and yet once again parents, teachers, students and communities' at large are still having to scream and protest at these PEP meetings over school closures and tonight turnaround schools. And the saving of 2 schools at the last minute -- please wasn't that the same game the DOE played back in February before the last Panel meeting. What do they think that people are stupid? It is just quite sickening that people know what the Panel's final vote will be and that their decision is predetermined. But once again there sit the Panel members doing their perpetual recital of schools closures without a care in the world. Hope they feel powerful -- I know that 1 or 2 do!
I guess Mayor Bloomberg does not pay attention or care about this poll numbers with over a 60% disapproval rating of his handling of the NYC public school system and a vast majority wanting the next Mayor to end the educational direction of his reign. Mayor Bloomberg, these voters make-up all economic classes -- Affluent, lower and middle. How can you keep ignoring all these people?
AND CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE A FARCE!! I know an acquaintance of mine who tried to get her disabled son into a Charter. Charter Schools are not required to accept all students -- they can pick and choose as opposed to public schools. Charter Schools are Semi-Private Schools using Taxpayer Dollars. Should taxpayers not have a say in this?
I DO NOT WANT MY TAXES BEING USED TO SUPPORT ANY CHARTER SCHOOL WHICH DISCRIMINATES AGAINST CHILDREN BASED ON COLOR, RACE OR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES!
Upper East Side
Bloomberg is the problem, and nothing will be fixed until he is no longer mayor of New York City.
I go to William Bryant high school. And I believe this closing is something we all need. And being so the city will become strict and the student can't fool around. Threw out my 3years in high school I notice that some teachers don't go tuff on students and that's the problem. We need better teacher and better guidance . And we need this change. This was suppose to happen and I'm glad it is. A lot of people taking this closing negative but I think it's a positive change . It's sad to say how Ny is not doing as great in education as other country and because of that im in favor with the closing!! Close all big school and take control!
MiMi from queens
How can you sit here and tell people its the teachers. Not the students. Im a strong believer in the idea that if you dont want to learn you will.not learn, i have never met a greater amount pf people who show the amount of.love that these teachers show to us. Its not the teachers its the students a student that doesnt cant be forced to. I for one am a great example my freshman year i had a great set of teachers but i chose not to care , my sophomore year i have a different view on things and i repeat I've never seen a greater amount of people waiting for me arms open to help.me.
It will take the next mayor of our city to undo the damage created by Bloomberg. His data driven mania has done more harm than good. The PEP are his puppets and will continue to do his bidding.
Kenn from Bayside
I am a student in Bushwick Community HS & to receive the news this morning that my school was off the list was a great feeling, oppose to how I felt when I thought my school was going to be closed down . My school is a school of transformation not a transfer school . BCHS is a second chance for students like myself that were once lost in this crazy school system . And closing down all these schools would just take away every other students second chance to make things better for themselves.
I have the highest regard for teachers - I work with them, and understand what a specialized set of skills and incredible dedication it requires. But it can take years to get rid of bad teachers. If it was easier, then we wouldn't have to close entire schools and dissolve the talented teams that make up so many schools.
Myself and brother graduated from Grover Cleveland and are both have become successful. I believe the school closing is about getting rid of City teachers and privatizing education. Teachers retire with large pensions and expensive healthcare, all this is simply unsustainable.
I'm could understand the DOE spare 2 schools since they are making good progress.
I would not vote to close the other schools if the teachers' union could work with the DOE to get rip of bad teachers / principals faster and easier. Protecting those bad teachers / principals not only cause such a mess to the students & parents, also to their colleagues as well.
Chen from Upper East Side
I am a student from Long Island City High school. I believe It's wrong how the DOE just doesn't consider how my school has so many opportunities like many AP classes, 32 sports teams, culinary and arts program. After this turnover, do they guarantee that we will still have the same opportunities. Our teachers are exceptional , they try their best to encourage all their students to do well, and if the students choose not to do so ..It's most certainly not the teachers' fault
Without a doubt this is about breaking the teacher's union and privatizing public education with charter schools. Closing schools in order to reopen them with rehiring only half of the teachers is blatantly about getting rid of older, tenured, unionized, higher paid teachers and hiring cheaper, younger non-unionized teachers. Bloomberg runs this city like a corporation, this is what is going on in the private sector right now, as well as with other city workers. Full time workers are laid off or are forced to become part-time without benefits, and younger, cheaper part-time workers are hired to fill in those lost hours. New York City is not a corporation trying to maximize profits and school children are not commodities. This entire process is shameful.
Meryl from Manhattan
I work at Newtown. My kids grad from Newtown it has been open for 115 year I think it should remain open
I vote for no schools to be closed in NYC.
Don't you get it that our Dictator Mayor wants to use the school's space to give it to his friends, the developers to build high-risers.
It's time to stop the dictator Mayor who imposed himself on the last mayoral elections and on the hard working New Yorkers just
to give this great city to his friends and drive us all out of New York City.
Now I see why money talks.
A concerned New yorker.
The UFT was afraid to back Thompson in that last mayoral race with good reason: this mayor is a greedy bully. They knew that he holds infantile grudges and would push back if empowered and he has. He is dumbing down the Regents, taking credit for higher scores, and using our public education system to make more money. Many people are unhappy with America's mandatory educational system and the mayor sees an opportunity to get money from charter school tuition.
It absolutely sickens me to know that the BOE is even considering this. They do not care about the students nor their performance grade or the graduation rate. The only thing they honestly care about is how much more money will end up in their bank accounts. Students are the future, why ruin us for your own expense?
Long Island City is a wonderful school! I found out I was pregnant in the beginning of my sophomore year. I was lost, confused and petrified, how was I suppose to create a bright future for my daughter and I? For 40 weeks and the following year the teachers and staff took my situation into consideration, not once did they turn me down! When my daughter was 3 months old, she was accepted into the LYFE Center so I can continue my education without having to worry about the expenses of an outside daycare anymore. Because of friends, teachers and staff not only did I regain my confidence and beat the statistics of teenage mothers being unsuccessful, I have surpassed even my own expectations. It has been two years since then and as of today my daughter is now one years old, my current GPA is a 92.50 and I am determined to get into Hunter College. Long Island City HS is not what the media portrays. How can Bloomberg judge us when he has never once stepped foot into our school? I do admit that we have a low attendance and graduation rates but the teachers are not the ones at fault! You are what you make yourself and nobody else.
Parents and students are not blameless. Teachers do the best they can.
Mayor Bloomberg is a bully and is out of control. Its his way or the highway.
He has no compassion for his constituents.
The reason they want to close the schools is because they want the students to do good. Its about the schools then why not listen to them and keep the schools open.
Proof positive the PEP is a sham! This gentleman on the PEP Panel is but one of many panel members not even paying attention to the speakers tonight! Will the other 24 schools close, you ask? Yes, with puppets like these on the panel. Puppets don't need to listen. Bloomberg pulls their strings!
Not to detract form the efforts of the “saved” schools, but it appears their being removed from the chopping block had more to do with appearances than “hearing the people”. What if no school was saved? It was a calculated maneuver to detract from the appearance of Mayor Bloomberg being a complete tyrant. With Bloomberg it’s all about privatizing and busting unions, while spin-doctoring to look like a savior, and establish an illusion that the workers are the root of all problems.
This is what we get from a super narcissistic CEO running a city of People, NOT employees. Bloomberg was a failed experiment of electing a Businessman/Tyrant as Mayor.
Can someone please explain to me why the PEP bothers to vote? They just rubber stamps what the mayor proposes anyway, so why bother to vote? The PEP is a useless panel that should be disbanded. They DONOT represent the views and opinions of New Yorkers and the deck is stacked in the mayor's favor anyway. I do not understand how this has been allowed to go on for so long. The mayor, the chancellor, the DOE and the PEP have all made a mockery out of democracy and public education. This farce they call reform has done very little to improve public education. They have distorted the “non-facts” so much so that they are confusing themselves!
I would think public officials would spend more time promoting public education, but instead they demonize and demoralize teachers, students and the very schools they are suppose to be supporting! For 10 years we have listened to the mayor blame teachers for everything that is wrong with education. I have yet to hear this administration take responsibility for their ineptness. After 10 years, they are still closing schools? Really?!??! NYC teachers, students and parents are the stakeholders, yet our voices have been silenced by an administration that thinks that they know everything and that everyone else knows nothing! This administration has done very little to restore the public’s faith in public education. Can't wait for the day that they are gone!
Hearing the news that these schools, including Newtown High School, a school full of newly arrived immigrants, struggling to learn a new language and adapt to a new land, is truly a let down. We had hope until the end.
Newtown is not what the almighty Bloomberg would like to make everyone believe. It is a school full of dedicated teachers who come in early or stay afterschool to help and tutor students who struggle; teachers who go out of their way to provide students with as many opportunities as they can; teachers who attended the school themselves and love and believe in their school, and a principal who has wholeheartedly given his life to his school. Mr. John Ficalora is a Newtown High School alum, who student taught in Newtown, was a teacher in Newtown and has been raising the Newtown family, taking care of it as though it were his own, for over 40 years. And now, that is over.
Newtown is the borough of Queens, the most diverse place in the country, packed and rolled into one building. You will all too often have students arrive, who speak languages that are brand new to the building, or students who are completely illiterate at the age of 16,17, or 18 years old. These same students are expected to graduate in four years and held to the same standard as children who have been in this country their entire lives. Newtown turns no one away, eventhough it many negatively affect their "numbers," but that is not mentioned. Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Walcott never mentioned or even congratulated the Newtown High School students who as I write this, are in St. Louis, competing in the National Robotics competition, having won the city championship, over schools such as Bronx Science and Stuyvesant, without all the resources those schools are provided! These students are Newtown's pride and hope and are an example of what Newtown is: a population of kids struggling to get by, but working with the cards they've been dealt outside of school and trying to make it work in school.
The PEP is a farce. The vote is a sham. And this mayor is a lie. The "potential new leader" aka possible new principal, has been parading herself around the building for about a month, as though there was no doubt the vote would work in her favor, working as an intimidating factor where teachers and staff are now scared to even speak up for fear of not being rehired. The "potential" principal even sat in at the public hearing, inappropriately so, where it was easily noted that most of the speakers were students and retired or in-line to retire teachers, with nothing to lose at this point.
It is sad how our community is being treated and even sadder that the kids know that noone can help them at this point. "3000 bodies, 1 heart!" is what the kids yell and shout, as the quieter ones just say, "Give Newtown a chance," but sadly they know, no one is listening.
From a graduate of the so-called failing schools.
DON'T WORRY NEW YORKERS LESS THAN 20 MONTHS TO GO AND THE NIGHTMARE WILL BE OVER. BLOOMBERG AND ALL HIS BOZOS WILL BE OUT THE DOOR.
On a poltical end finally, we forget how the doe is straining the nyc budget. They are asked to review themselves internally and they refused, now bloomberg finally outsmarts them in their own game - for they not performing to the level they were expected to. I feel for the teachers that do well however they as a shole should vote better when the choose their reps and the people who they choose to provide format. Most importantly its the students we cannot have the majority of kids our future failing granted hecan change their family but we can help with their education so let him.