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NYC Opening 54 New Small Schools That Will Serve Over 21,000

Classroom (credit: Clipart.com)

Classroom (credit: Clipart.com)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)Mayor Michael Bloomberg is touting his administration’s plans to open 54 new small schools at the end of the summer, while some critics say the emphasis on new schools is hurting students at larger institutions that the city is shutting down.

Bloomberg on Tuesday announced the city’s plans to open the new schools, which will eventually serve more than 21,000 students. He spoke at the site of the planned Academy for Software Engineering, which will train high school students in computer programming and place them in internships in high-tech fields.

“The success of these new schools, the small schools, is clear,” the mayor said, noting that by next year about one-third of the city’s schools will have been opened under his administration.

“The ones that have been created to take the place of larger schools post better results on the state’s annual math and reading exams than the schools they replace. Their students also graduate at significantly higher rates.”

But hours earlier, advocates in the Working Group on School Transformation released a report arguing that the city’s closures have targeted schools serving disproportionally high numbers of special-education and low-income students. Schools picked for closure in 2011 saw increases in special-education, poor and homeless students in the five years preceding the announcement of the decision, the report said.

“(Department of Education) student assignment policies have contributed to the poor school performance that the DOE subsequently cites in targeting schools for closing,” the report said.

Bloomberg said the city is pouring some $22 billion into its schools each year and is intent on leaving no one behind.

“The student bodies of these new schools mirror those of the schools they replace with similar percentages of black and Latino students, English-language learners and students with disabilities,” he said.

But United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew disputed the mayor’s figures, saying that the new schools often enroll more privileged students during their early years.

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