City adds two more Brooklyn schools to its closure list

In what has become  a grim pattern in the Bloomberg administration, the New York City Department of Education on Tuesday named nine more schools it intends to close or shrink, bringing the total in this latest round of closures to 26. On Monday, DOE had announced the first batch of 17 schools. 

The city says the schools are low-performing on measures including standardized test scores, graduation rates and classroom environments, despite being given "comprehensive support." Schools were selected after weighing community input and assessing how likely the schools are to improve without being closed, DOE said.  Schools Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg said in a statement on Monday, "Ultimately, we know we can better serve our students and families with new options and a new start."

But many parents and school advocates say the city simply closes weak schools instead of giving them real support.  "The suggestion that the DOE has provided 'comprehensive supports' to the struggling schools on this list is absurd," the United Federation of Teachers said in a statement.

According to a lawsuit filed by  the Urban Youth Collaborative and the Coalition for Educational Justice, since 2003 DOE has closed 140 schools serving many of the city’s highest needs students. These closed schools had higher percentage of students living in poverty, with disabilities and English Language Learners than the school system as a whole.

The organizations call the closings destabilizing to poor children. "We have seen the impact similar actions have had on poor and working-class communities of color across the country. We have seen all of the harms that befall children whose educational lives are rendered unstable."

In Brooklyn, DOE wants to close 8 schools:

  • P.S. 174 Dumont
  • P.S. 073 Thomas S. Boyland
  • Freedom Academy High School
  • P.S. 167 The Parkway
  • J.H.S. 166 George Gershwin
  • J.H.S. 302 Rafael Cordero
  • Sheepshead Bay High School
  • General D. Chappie James Middle School of Science