March 13, 2013
Parents, students and teachers vociferously demanded a moratorium on school closings and charter school co-locations by submitting a resolution at a Panel for Educational Policy meeting Monday in Brooklyn. But the 13-member board voted down the resolution and instead voted to phase out 22 public schools. (Read More/Watch Video)
Bill Thompson, former president of the New York City Board of Education and the only mayoral 2014 hopeful in attendance, said that the board’s consideration to close 22 schools is quitting on parents and students.
“For more than a decade, the Bloomberg administration has failed to meet the needs of our students, communities and parents. What they have done over that decade is to close 150 schools. It is time to say no today, to not close those 22 schools,” Thompson said.
The United Federation of Teachers did not have a large presence as in previous years; the UFT publicly said in January that it has given up working with the Bloomberg administration after talks to reach an agreement on teacher evaluations collapsed.
But Michael Mendel, UFT’s secretary, opposed the PEP board’s proposals during the public comment period. He said that the current PEP board unnecessarily closed Jamaica High School despite students’ educational progress.
He angrily noted that no administration has hurt children more than the Bloomberg administration.
Councilman Charles Barron also spoke during the comment period.
“Only 13 percent of our Black and Latino students are prepared for college or a career after this board. Only 10 percent of the students that go to charter high schools are prepared for college or a career.”
Monique Benson, a parent and Citywide and Community Education Council member from Brooklyn, told the board that co-locations and school closings are not working.
“We are demanding a moratorium until there is a fair plan towards students’ success in New York City’s public school system.”
Some parents, however, expressed their support for co-locations. A mother from East New York said her second-grade child is receiving a high-quality education at Achievement First East New York Charter School.
“We have a co-location that has a shared space counsel that has been able to figure out how to make sure that every single child in that school has access to their meals and gym facilities at a reasonable time.”
Two schools—M.S. 45/STARS Prep Academy in Manhattan and Freedom Academy High School in Brooklyn—will close by the end of this school year. The remaining 20 schools will gradually close their doors over several years.