The arguments for and against phasing out failing schools in New York City have reached a fever pitch. But has anyone bothered to find out how a school's closure might affect its students? After all, aren't the students the point of the entire debate?
The City Council yesterday passed an amendment to the city charter that would require the New York City Department of Education conduct an impact study when initiating a school closure.
The legislation, Intro 364-A,sponsored by Council Member Lewis A. Fidler, would mandate the Department of Education track and provide data on the students of schools being closed by the department.
“I have sharply disagreed with the Department of Education’s belief that phasing out schools is an effective educational policy. My intuition as an educator led me to believe that students would suffer significant negative consequences as a result of these phase-outs," said City Council Member Al Vann, who co-sponsored the amendment along with more than 20 other council members.
Through City Council Education Committee oversight hearings, the Council discovered that the Department of Education was failing to track these students as a way of studying the impact of its school phase-out policy on students.
The Department of Education has proposed and the Panel for Education Policy has voted in favor of closing 22 schools this year. Those schools are currently the subject of a lawsuit filed by the United Federation of Teachers and the NAACP.
"The passage of this legislation will finally provide the Council and stakeholders with important data on how the phasing out of schools truly affects our public school students,” said Vann.