UPDATE April 27: The Panel on Educational Policy voted last night to close and reopen 24 schools including high profile and often sought-after schools such as John Dewey and Lehman High School. Others are huge historic neighborhood schools that have long served a large immigrant population such as Flushing High School and Richmond Hill, both in Queens. They will all have new names and a new staff sometime soon.
There were no surprises in the voting, GothamSchools reports. The seven mayoral appointees at the meeting voted for every turnaround plan, as did the Staten Island borough president’s appointee, Diane Peruggia. The four other borough presidents’ appointees voted against each proposal. That's how the voting has gone in other school closure hearings this year and last.
The decision comes after an emotional hearing last week in which graduates of Bushwick, a last-chance transfer school for older students, spoke about how the school and its educators had turned their lives around. An Education Department official appeared moved by the appeals and promised to take the message back to the chancellor.
Cleveland, a large traditional high school in Queens which serves a diverse population, also attracted vocal supporters at hearings earlier this year. A statement from the chancellor said that "public comments" helped confirm that both schools "had the capacity to make great improvements."
Originally the list of schools to be "turned around" by changing the name and replacing teachers and the principal, was at 33. Earlier this month Chancellor Walcott took seven schools off the list, saying they had made sufficient progress to continue as is.
Today, he said that Cleveland and Bushwick Community "have demonstrated an ability to continue their improvements without the more comprehensive actions that are clearly needed at 24 other schools" and have been "removed from the agenda" of tonight's PEP meeting, at Prospect Heights High School.
And, read Meredith Kolodner's "five reasons why turnaround won't help kids" here.
(updated April 27; original post April 26)