Four more NYC schools slated for closing

December 3, 2009 3:13:27 PM PST
The New York City Department of Education wants to close four more city schools due to poor performance. The four schools are Fredrick Douglas Academy 3 Middle School in the Bronx, Maxwell Career and Technical High School in Brooklyn, and the Academy of Environmental Science Secondary High School and Kappa Two, both in Manhattan.

Maxwell has 990 students and actually improved from an F grade three years ago to a D this year.

"Even though maybe it might not be the best school, it gives a lot of opportunity. Like cosmetology, you can get your license," student Jamalia Benjamin said.

It was just last month that these and other teachers at the vocational and technical school won bonuses for improved student performance.

"We're a staff that earned 180-thousand dollars because we improved the school this year," said teacher Jeffrey Bernstein.

The Department of Education says that although Maxwell teachers earned bonuses for single year performance goals, the school has a history of not preparing students for the future.

Maxwell would be phased out over the next few years, along with a middle school called Kappa Two and the Academy of Environmental Science, both in Manhattan. The middle school portion of Frederick Douglass Academy-3 in the Bronx would be eliminated.

Fredrick Douglas Middle School earned a C on its latest progress report, but the student progress report was a failing grade. The others received a D grade.

New state law requires a 45-day period for public comment, including a public hearing on each school, before a proposal to close can be adopted.

The Panel for Educational Policy, which is controlled by the mayor, must approve the closings.

Mayor Bloomberg's effort to overhaul the city's school system has resulted in 91 other closings since 2002.