Monday, March 29, 2010

Like Al Capone

I don't think I've written before about the DOE's plans to close 19 high schools for next year. The reason I've avoided it is because I'm truly divided on the subject. On the one hand, I'm not a fan of just going around closing schools and hoping what you open in their places turn out to be better. On the other hand, these are not great schools and I wouldn't want my own children to go there. So I stayed out of it.

Last Friday, the State Supreme Court held that the school closings were invalid due to "significant violations" of the mayoral control law. The UFT, NAACP, and others who were fighting the plan celebrated. That strikes me a little like throwing a party for getting Al Capone on tax evasion. Yeah, you've won this round, but you haven't really addressed the real issue.

The basis for the judge's decision was that the DOE issued only boilerplate educational impact statements and that insufficient notice was given for public hearings. (Were I feeling snarky, I might point out that the insufficient notice didn't seem to prevent those hearing from lasting untili 3 in the morning, but I'm not feeling snarky today, so I'll let it pass.)

In other words, the DOE didn't dot a few i's or cross a few t's. The policy of closing schools remains in place and unchallenged. So now the DOE has to give a few more days notice before ignoring hours of public testimony and closing schools. I'm not sure if this is the victory that some seem to be claiming.

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