Panel to Close 19 Schools Despite Angry Protest

High SchoolsSchoolsElectionsEducationPaul Robeson Jr.WPIX

After a heated, raucous meeting Tuesday that lasted nearly 11 hours, the Panel for Educational Policy finally voted at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday to close 19 New York City schools.

Almost 350 speakers addressed the panel at Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene after Panel Chairman David C. Chang argued against fellow members that no vote could be held until all of the registered speakers were heard.

Many of the teachers, parents and others expressed outrage toward NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, whose opening statement was met with loud boos.

A common theme among the speakers was a perception that the panel was too quick to close under-performing schools without addressing the unique challenges posed by the demographics.

Many of the high schools that have recently been closed have had high concentrations of students from low-income households, often with vastly different needs than the majority of students attending higher-performing schools.

Since Mayor Bloomberg took control of the school system in 2002, the city has phased out 91 schools, many of them large schools that are reconverted into groups of small schools and charters. Many of these smaller schools have done well, but the success is often at the expense of the remaining larger schools, some argue.

Six of the 19 schools that were voted on Wednesday are smaller high schools that were created after previous school closures.

The schools set for closure include large schools like Paul Robeson H.S., Christopher Columbus H.S. , Jamaica H.S. and Norman Thomas H.S.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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High SchoolsSchoolsElectionsEducationPaul Robeson Jr.WPIX