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Ready or not, it’s closing time again
Despite being rebuffed repeatedly over the years by communities — and the courts — opposed to his efforts to close neighborhood schools, Mayor Michael Bloomberg still hasn’t learned the error of his ways and is at it again.
In his latest assault on New York City’s public school communities, the mayor is proposing to close 26 schools with persistently low student scores on state standardized tests. Some of the schools are ones that his administration opened and championed.
This policy is just the latest example of the mayor giving up on challenged schools and high-needs students and looking for an easy way out instead of giving them the attention, resources, support and time they need to improve. Bottom line: He does not believe that he should support schools.
He has no new strategies for reaching high-needs learners or new justifications for abandoning scores of schools, only the same old excuses that communities and the courts have rejected before. And he is still tone-deaf to residents’ and educators’ complaints about how closing schools destabilizes the communities they serve.
The mayor appears indifferent to parental concerns about what will happen to the student populations of shuttered schools with large concentrations of high-needs students who will suffer the most as a result. If past practice is a guide, they will likely end up at schools that will later be targeted themselves for closure.
None of this seems to matter to Mayor Bloomberg as he proceeds, intent on closing as many schools as he can in his final years in office, in a misguided attempt to shore up his education legacy.
The UFT has joined with school communities and organizations such as the NAACP to successfully oppose many of the mayor’s efforts in legal battles — as well as in the court of public opinion.
And the union stands ready to do so again and again for as long as it takes for the mayor to get the message that educators and parents will not give up on struggling schools and struggling students.