Parents protest at P.S. 137

October 25, 2011 2:42:34 PM PDT
Parents protested on the Lower East Side at a once top school that's now failing.

They say P.S. 137 students have fallen behind because of a bad decision made five years ago.

Parents of P.S. 137 are convinced that the Department of Education plans to shut the school down.

The D.O.E. moved the school to this location five years ago, which it now shares with P.S. 134, to make room for a school called Shuang Wen, which specializes in Chinese language and culture.

Since the move, this school has fallen off a cliff, in terms of the letter grades issued by the Department of Education, which measure school progress.

The P.S. 137 school progress report dropped dramatically between the school year 2008-2009, when it got an "A", and last school year, with a letter grade of "F".

But schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott says the "A" from three years ago was inaccurate.

"If you remember, the state recalibrated the way they do the scores and so as a result of the state recalibration, a lot of the schools that received "A's" went to a lower grade," Walcott said.

82% of P.S. 137 students are low income and qualify for free lunch.

24% are special education students with physical or learning disabilities, and 18% are English language learners.

Those figures are well above the city average.

"If we had the resources that we need, our children will achieve better," said Lisbeth Torres, a parent.

Not all parents expect a shutdown.

"I truly believe that with our efforts and what the parents want, that they're willing to work with us," said Theresa Falcon, a parent.

The chancellor says P.S. 137 parents will have their say before any decisions are made.