Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Degrading Neighborhoods, One School at a Time

Mayor Bloomberg has made a great show of closing schools. After he does so, he dumps four or five "academies" in the buildings and calls them small schools. I've seen commercials in which one of the academies is compared with the closed school. Never mind that it's got only 20% of the population, none of the kids are the same, and the "academy" doesn't serve ESL or special ed. kids. The graduation rate of the new kids is higher, so it's a great victory for the "reformers." Except, of course, when they fail (despite valiant efforts to juke the stats).

Sometimes hizzoner doesn't wait to close the school, but dumps an academy right into an existing school. And James Eterno, chapter chair of Jamaica High School, makes a compelling argument that the playing field is far from equal.

It's a shame that Mayor Bloomberg sees fit to shuffle kids around like this. There's nothing that adds value to a neighborhood like a good school. By sabatoging public schools with overcrowding, by closing them rather than fixing them, and by leaving neighborhoods without zoned schools (to accomodate the likes of Eva Moscowitz) Mayor Bloomberg is doing a disservice to neighborhoods all over the city.
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