To Close a School - A Decision Rooted in Data, but Colored by Nuance

On a recent December morning, a trio of education higher-ups arrived unannounced in the principal’s office at Public School 90 in the Bronx. The school would be gradually shut down, they told the principal, Patricia West. Incredulous, Ms. West, who has been at P.S. 90’s helm for six years, asked them to repeat themselves.

“I knew we had to improve, but I was shocked,” she said. “It’s like being told you are arrested and you go to jail. ... Full Story »

Posted by Dale Penn
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Posted by: Posted by Dale Penn - Feb 1, 2009 - 10:03 PM PST
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Edited by: Dale Penn - Feb 1, 2009 - 10:03 PM PST


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Kristin Gorski
by Kristin Gorski - Feb. 2, 2009

Explains the general process of deciding to close schools. I came away with a bit greater understanding of why NYC takes such extreme actions, though I still have many unanswered questions. Key stakeholders -- like parents, students, teachers at closing schools -- were not featured.

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Fabrice Florin
by Fabrice Florin - Feb. 2, 2009

Informative article on the recent closure of 13 schools in New York, due to the city's "unbending accountability system" based on poor test scores. This report provides good factual evidence and thoughtful context about this recent decision, citing well-selected viewpoints from both supporters and critics.

While I'm all in favor of school reform, I am concerned about the potential negative effect of school closures on the most vulnerable students. This whole decision process strikes me as too data-driven for such a complex issue, and the decision-makers should have spent more time trying to develop new programs within the existing schools, in my humble opinion.

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Dale Penn
by Dale Penn - Feb. 3, 2009

I would have liked to see more information about the cost of closing this school, financial and emotional to teachers, students and the community.

My father served on the school board in the district I attended. One of the hardest decisions he ever had to make in that capacity was whether or not to close a primary school in the village next to ours and consolidate with the school in our village. Of course the decision wasn't his alone, but when it happened he was blamed, and I by proxy. Threats from locals nearly lead to my removal from the school for safety reasons. The passion surrounding that school closing is surely ... More »

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Patricia L'Herrou
by Patricia L'Herrou - Feb. 3, 2009

a complex issue around the country described here in personal details from various points of view. i missed having some teachers points of view here. there's really not enough details about the classroom settings, offerings, etc. nor about what may change to judge the validity of change here.

the public school attended by my grandson, who's with me daily after school, which is both small in numbers and in a low-income n'hood, was failing in state tests (Virginia). so the county gave it a new principal , poured more resources into it to lower class size, offer gifted and other resources, including arts, and transformed it into a wonderful place where all staff know all students and nurture and mold each one and, it no longer fails.

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Peter L. Combs
by Peter L. Combs - Feb. 3, 2009

A well written article which illustrates clearly the realities and tough decisions needed to turnaround the largely failed American Public school system. While showing empathy for those who have tried and not been successful. School reform is now a catch up game for America.

After raising our four children, all of whom attended some public but mostly private schools ( I was on the board of two) education has more to do with having quality and accountable teachers coupled with intense co-operation and involvement of the parents is the only way. A lack of TOTAL commitment on either side will result in poor results.

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Kenneth Sibbett
by Kenneth Sibbett - Feb. 2, 2009

We had our first experience with school closings a few years ago and it accomplished nothing. The school was mostly Afro-American and Mexican because the white families, who could afford it drove their kids to better schools. I live in the country, and now some children have to ride the bus over an hour to and fro.So instead of changing the teacher's, they closed the school. Now we have a fairly nice school, just sitting there. Who makes these decisions?

I don't believe that a person's education should depend on their Color or financial situation. Charter schools, Vouchers, whatever, something needs to be done to get America back to learning, not testing.

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