Judge shuts down school closings
On Friday March 25, 2010, Justice Joan B. Lobis of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, blocked the closing of 19 schools on the basis that there was not “meaningful community involvement,”—that is, the decision does not reflect the opinions of the public, nor were there sufficient “educational-impact statements”—statements describing the effects of the school’s closing on students and surrounding schools. The schools, subject to closing due to poor performance, have been waiting for this ruling, withholding 85,000 high-school acceptance letters.
Judge Lobis’s decision is a win for the United Federation of Teachers and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who had spearheaded a suit, suing the city in order to stop the closings. On the other hand, appeal is inevitable, as asserted by the city’s leaders, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the school Chancellor, Joel I. Klein.
Paul Robeson High School in Brooklyn serves as one example of the School Department’s failure to produce educational-impact statements. This high school, which offers effective programs geared for mothers and pregnant teenagers, did not received an impact statement that included where students could find a similar program in Brooklyn.