For months, the Department of Education (DOE) had been evaluating city schools’ progress reports, noting those that were in danger of closing. The process is continuing, and now several Queens schools could possibly be phased out.
This process, which eliminates one grade at a time from the troubled schools, will be finalized after a vote this coming March. Public School 140 in Jamaica; Law, Government and Community Service High School in Jamaica; and the Business, Computer Applications & Entrepreneurship High School in St. Albans are all on the chopping block. P.S. 156 in Laurelton faces a possible truncation, which will eliminate its middle school.
“We expect success,” said DOE Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg. “Ultimately, we know we can better serve our students and families with new options and a new start.”
However, the community is not taking the news lying down.
“I will continue to press the administration to keep these schools open,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie. “Many people at these schools work extremely hard to give their students the best education possible, but the city makes their jobs much harder by not allocating the proper resources and ignoring community input.”
Sternberg countered this claim, saying that the DOE has listened to the community and provided support services to the low-performing schools based on their needs, but it is time to take action.
However, Comrie said the city standards used to measure schools are “confusing, arbitrary, and hindering, rather than helping, to improve the education system.”
The Law, Government and Community Service High School in particular was one school with a good reputation, and according to Comrie, was asked by the DOE to take in more students. However, while they took in the additional students, they were not given the extra resources needed to accommodate them.
Citywide, 22 schools are facing phase-outs, two are looking at possible closure, and two more could be truncated.
“We expect every school to deliver for our students, and are working hard to offer families more high performing choices,” said Sternberg.
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