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17 New York City Public Schools To Be Shut Down Or Phased Out

A public school is seen in New York City - File / Photo: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880

A public school is seen in New York City – File / Photo: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York City Department of Education announced plans Monday to close or phase out 17 schools.

The department said all the schools are low-performing, and the decision to close them or phase them out came “after a rigorous review of academic performance.”

“We’ve listened to the community and provided comprehensive support services to these schools based on their needs,” schools Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg said in a news release. “Ultimately, we know we can better serve our students and families with new options and a new start.”

The schools set to close are:

• M.S. 45/S.T.A.R.S. Prep Academy, 2351 First Ave., Manhattan;
• Freedom Academy High School, 116 Nassau St., Brooklyn;

The schools set to be phased out are:

• High School of Graphic Communication Arts, 439 W. 49th St., Manhattan;
• Choir Academy of Harlem, 2005 Madison Ave., Manhattan;
• Bread & Roses Integrated Arts High School, 6 Edgecombe Ave., Manhattan;
• M.S. 203, 399 Morris Ave., the Bronx;
• Herbert H. Lehman High School, 3000 E. Tremont Ave., the Bronx;
• P.S. 064 Pura Belpre, 1425 Walton Ave., the Bronx;
• Jonathan Levin High School for Media and Communications, 240 E. 172nd St., the Bronx;
• M.S. 142 John Philip Sousa, 3750 Baychester Ave., the Bronx;
• P.S. 167 the Parkway, 1025 Eastern Pkwy., Brooklyn;
• J.H.S. 166 George Gershwin, 800 Van Siclen Ave., Brooklyn;
• J.H.S. 302 Rafael Cordero, 350 Linwood St., Brooklyn;
• Sheepshead Bay High School, 3000 Avenue X, Brooklyn;
• General D. Chappie James Middle School of Silence, 76 Riverdale Ave., Brooklyn;
• P.S. 140 Edward K. Ellington, 166-01 116th Ave., Queens;
• Law, Government and Community Service High School, 207-01 116th Ave., Queens.

Earlier in the year, the Department of Education identified 60 struggling schools – 58 district schools and two charter schools – and asked for feedback from the local communities on what was working and what was not. At the end of the process, the department decided there was no hope for speedy improvement for the 17 schools set to close or be phased out.

“These are difficult decisions that we’ve arrived at after thoroughly evaluating each school’s record – and now is the time to take action,” Sternberg said in the news release. “We expect every school to deliver for our students, and are working hard to offer families more high performing choices.”

For schools that have been struggling, the department plans to implement methods it hopes will lead to improvement, including leadership coaching, professional development for dealing with struggling students, new programs, reduced enrollment for a smaller learning environment, and possible administration changes.

But a parents’ group said closing schools is the wrong way to deal with the problem of struggling students.

“The Mayor has closed 140 schools, but still hasn’t closed the racial achievement gap and students are still no closer to graduating college-ready. Research shows that many new schools are performing worse than the schools they replaced– that is clear evidence of failure, which is why countless parents, teachers, principals, and students oppose school closures,” said Zakiyah Ansari, a spokeswoman for New Yorkers for Great Public Schools. “Mayor Bloomberg needs to own up to his failed policy and give struggling schools the resources and support they need to succeed.”

Do you think closing underperforming schools is the right approach, or the wrong one? Leave your comments below…