New York City has announced plans to close or merge 19 of its most poorly performing public schools.
The New York Times reports that 14 of the affected schools are part of the city’s Renewal Schools program, which provides support and extra funding to struggling schools around the city. Five schools in the renewal program will be combined with other schools, and another 21 schools will graduate out of the program.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the creation of the program a little more than three years ago. He pledged to support struggling schools, in contrast to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration, which preferred to shut down and replace struggling schools.
The cost of the renewal program will amount to $582 million by the end of this academic year, and so far, there is scarce evidence that the schools have made significant improvement.
Among the schools the city plans to close, many have seen their enrollment fall, even precipitously. Enrollment at 52 Renewal Schools fell by at least 10 percent from the 2014-15 school year to the 2016-17 school year. Only six schools saw their enrollment increased by at least 10 percent during that time.
Aaron Pallas, the chairman of the department of education policy at Columbia University’s Teachers College, says many Renewal School principals have been ambivalent about the program. They’ve been happy to have the extra resources that come with it, but the label has been somewhat stigmatizing.
Not all the schools that the city is closing are in the renewal program. One of those is the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx, where a fatal stabbing occurred earlier this year.
The 21 schools that will transition out of the renewal program will be called “Rise” schools. The city says these schools each met at least 67 percent of the goals set for their improvements, and as a group, saw growth in measures such as graduation rates, attendance and college readiness.
Chalkbeat New York reports that the nine renewal schools proposed for closure are:
- PS 050 Vito Marcantonio
- Coalition School for Social Change
- High School for Health Careers and Sciences
- New Explorers High School
- Urban Science Academy
- PS 92 Bronx School
- Brooklyn Collegiate: A College Board School
- PS/MS 42 R. Vernam
- MS 53 Brian Piccolo
The five schools not in the renewal program targeted for closure:
- KAPPA IV
- Academy for Social Action
- Felisa Rincon de Gautier Institute
- Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation
- Eubie Blake School