The City will open 54 new schools in the fall, including 24 charters, Mayor Bloomberg and Education Chancellor Walcott announced in a press conference on Tuesday. Bloomberg is now just 50 schools away from his goal: 1800 New York City public schools before he leaves office in 2013.
Way back in 2002, when we launched Insideschools and Bloomberg was known for being a business tycoon rather than the education mayor, there were only about 1100 schools.
Since then the large neighborhood schools have been headed for extinction faster than chalk and blackboards, making way for small themed schools with long fancy names. Case in point: Washington Irving High School, where the mayor held his press conference. One of Manhattan's few large, all-purpose high schools, it will graduate its last class in 2014. Three new schools already co-exist in the building -- Gramercy Arts, International High School at Union Square and the High School for Language and Diplomacy; two new ones will join them in the fall -- Union Square Academy for Health Sciences and the Academy for Software Engineering.
People continue to debate whether or not Bloomberg's slash and burn strategy is effective. Some protest the closures of large schools, others point to higher graduation rates at the new small ones. Regardless of what you think about the strategy, we're wondering: What's in a name? Is it a good idea for new schools to be based on a theme?