Today, Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC Department of Education released seven of the thirty-three schools they had been holding hostage.
The NYC DoE announced that it would not close the schools which had a grade of “A” or “B” on this year’s School Progress Reports – Maxwell High School, Harlem Renaissance High School, Intermediate School 136, Brooklyn School for Global Studies, Cobble Hill School of American Studies, Franklin D. Roosevelt High School, and William E. Grady High School.
Clearly, the growing opposition to Bloomberg’s reckless mass closure of public schools has taken its toll. The single-minded reliance upon mass closure of schools as their sole strategy demonstrates the exhaustion of educational ideas at City Hall and Tweed. And the embarrassment of closing schools that the NYC DoE itself had given high grades had become too high a price to bear.
But the school hostage crisis is not over. Twenty-six schools, including 12 other schools which do not meet the DoE’s own minimum criteria for closure, remain under the Tweed guillotine. And there is an agreement, signed by Chancellor Walcott and President Mulgrew, which places all of these schools in the Transformation and Restart models. That agreement must be followed.
So long as one school which does not deserve to be closed is held hostage by Bloomberg and the DoE, the UFT and all of NYC public school communities will continue the struggle to save them.