The New York Times: When to Shut Down Failing Schools

Posted by on 11 / 03 / 2014 0 Reactions

by Joe Shahen
Last week, The New York Times published an editorial addressing the state of school closures in New York City, joining a chorus of editiorial boards in pushing the de Blasio administration to do more for failing schools (read more here, here, here and here).
The de Blasio administration is hesitant to close failing schools, instead favoring support to turn those schools around. This process has been slow-going as the city has fallen months behind on submitting state-mandated plans for turnarounds.
The administration’s ineffective practices for dealing with failing schools has been embodied in its handling of the long-struggling Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn.
This spring, after years of warnings of closure from the state, the de Blasio administration was given a list of options for Boys and Girls: closure, phase in a replacement school, or restructure the school’s administration. The city moved ahead with administrative restructuring, which has thus far proved ineffective. The principal resigned in September, claiming that city officials had no turnaround plan for Boys and Girls.
If closures are not on the board for the administration, this is a situation that could repeat itself over and over for the city’s worst schools. The Times says that the bar for judging the administration’s reforms should be high, and that the Board of Regents should use its authority to take action on schools that are “clearly beyond saving in their present form.”
UPDATE: Mayor de Blasio announced his plan for fixing failing schools, but it does not include anything about the 50,000 families trapped on charter school wait lists


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