Adam Dayan, Esq.
Closing Low-Performance Schools
The New York Times and New York Post have reported that 47 New York City public schools are headed for closure due to poor performance. Nineteen of these schools were due to close last year but those closures were put on hold, 12 were identified as the lowest-performing 5% of schools in New York, and 16 were identified by New York City as low-performing based on its own evaluation process. Some of these schools had a very high percentage of special education students. It makes you cringe to think of the students who spent time at these programs because if the schools are closing down now, there's a good chance that problems existed for quite some time before that. There are a few different possibilities for the future of these schools: (1) Phasing out -- all existing grades will be given an opportunity to graduate but no new students will be accepted so that the school gradually ceases to exist; (2) Closure -- school is closed down immediately; and (3) Overhaul -- certain elements of the program are replaced in an attempt to turn things around. The closure would be the most drastic of these options because where will all these students go? Before any action is taken, a series of meetings will be held at each school to give parents, teachers, and school executives an opportunity to object if they believe that the school should be kept intact. Mayor Bloomberg has suffered the brunt of the criticism for shutting things down instead of developing a workable plan for fixing what's broken.