Monday, April 9, 2012

School closing hearings at John Ericsson JHS and Grover Cleveland HS

The following is by Pat Dobosz, a teacher and a graduate of John Ericsson MS 126:
On Wednesday, April 4 we attended the closing hearing at John Ericsson MS 126 in Brooklyn. This was a "restart" school that is now becoming a "turnaround" school. This euphemism means it will close, lose 50% of its staff and get a new number and name. We heard many pleas from students, teachers, parents and politicians to give this school a chance. It has a new principal that everyone respects, and was just put under the restart model in September. Assemblyman Joe Lentol said that it was an insult to the new principal to switch gears now.  This school has 40% of its students receiving special education services, compared to 15.64% citywide. 25% of its student body are English Language Learners, several of whom spoke passionately about the education and services they were receiving at 126.
John Ericsson has suffered neglect for many years because of poor administrators that were allowed to bring it down. The DOE has a moral obligation to give support so that it  can once again be a model middle school as it was when I went there as a student.  These hearings are heartbreaking as the school communities speak on behalf of their second "families." It is outrageous that NY State, Bloomberg and The DOE/PEP turn a deaf ear to public outcry.
My school past will be only captured in yearbooks. My elementary school is now co-located with Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy charter, my high school has been closed, and now they want to close my Junior High School. The wonderful education and memories I had at each of these schools will be only that, memories. My future grandchildren and friends' children will not have the pleasure of saying they went to the school their parents went to.

Below are videos of the  emotional Grover Cleveland HS "turnaround" hearings on April 2. 

Francis Lewis HS' dynamic  chapter leader and teacher Arthur Goldstein asks: How would you rate Mayor Bloomberg based on his record on overcrowding and class size?  Highly effective, effective, developing, or ineffective?  Based on his failed record, perhaps it is Tweed, not Grover Cleveland, that needs to be closed.

Grover Cleveland teacher: Mayor Bloomberg, shame on you! We will not let you hurt our students!

Dmytro Fedkowskyj, Queens appointee to the Panel for Educational Policy, and an alumnus of Grover Cleveland HS, who asks people to attend the PEP meeting of April 26: "The battle to keep this school open is not over."

Assemblymember Cathy Nolan, chair of the NYS Assembly Education member, also a proud graduate of Grover Cleveland HS.  "There is something to be said for a large, neighborhood comprehensive high school.  It was Cleveland that helped give me a wide variety of experiences, and gave me an opportunity to help me learn who I was.  Grover Cleveland is a part of me." The question is, is anyone in the Mayor's office or DOE listening?

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