Mayor de Blasio plans to ax 13 struggling public schools, a move critics say proves his policies aren’t working.
De Blasio’s Panel for Educational Policy is scheduled to vote during a public hearing at lower Manhattan’s Murry Bergtraum High School Wednesday night on his bid to close the schools.
The mayor’s plans to chop the schools need the panel’s go-ahead. Since the citywide school board is controlled by de Blasio appointees, approval is expected.
Critics say the planned closures show the mayor’s so-called “renewal” school plan isn’t working.
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“De Blasio’s renewal school program has completely failed to bring about the change parents are demanding,” said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis. “The mayor is totally out of step with what parents want and he must radically rethink his education policy.”
The schools de Blasio seeks to close in June currently enroll 2,600 students. Education Department officials said the kids and school staff will move to other schools.
The group includes eight schools from the controversial renewal program. Many have dismal enrollment numbers, graduation rates or state test scores.
Wednesday’s hearing marks the most schools de Blasio has sought to close in a single batch since he took office. Previously, the mayor has closed 10 district-run public schools and merged 52 others. The closures up for a vote Wednesday were announced in December.
Education Department spokesman Michael Aciman said the city held multiple meetings with school communities ahead of the move.
“The decision to close a school is always made in the best interests of students and after a careful review of several factors including graduation rates, test scores, attendance, enrollment, classroom instruction, leadership and a school’s overall trajectory,” Aciman said.
The schools up for closure include Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation, where a student was killed in September.
Since 2014, the city has spent $582 million for added social services, longer school days and increased teacher training at renewal schools. But many of the schools haven’t met their targets for improvement, and studies have found the gains made in the program have come at relatively high cost compared against alternatives.
City Council Education Committee chairman Mark Treyger said the city’s decision to close the renewal schools is premature.
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