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Know Your Rights
Source: The New York Sun
Subject: Education Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Nine New City Schools Identified as Failing

Nine new city schools — eight of them middle schools — could be headed for closure after state officials yesterday added them to a list of failing schools. 

The total of failing schools in the city is now 35, with five slated for closure this summer and three others closing soon. 

Five of the newly designated failing schools are in the Bronx, two are in Brooklyn, and two are in East Harlem. Two are empowerment schools. 

A leader of the Coalition for Educational Justice (Make the Road by Walking is a member), a group fighting for better city middle schools, said the news reinforced her group’s message: "There needs to be a dramatic improvement in middle grade schools," Lenore Brown said. 

Department of Education officials hailed a net decrease in schools on the list, noting that last year the state listed 40 city schools as failing. This year, the number went down because six schools scored well enough on state standardized tests to be removed and eight schools on the list were closed. 

"The number of SURR schools in New York City tied a record low, but no child should have to attend a failing school," a department spokesman, David Cantor, said, referring to Schools Under Registration Review, a state designation separate from the federal requirements under No Child Left Behind, which also identify failing schools. "Our new reforms will help the remaining SURR schools get the resources they need to improve, but if they continue to fail, we will close them." 

In January, the state released a list of 421 city schools — a third of all schools in the city — that are failing according to federal standards. Schools usually have three years to improve before the state or city moves to close them. 

The city education department is closing three schools that would have made the list this year, a spokesman for the state Department of Education, Tom Dunn, said. The state agreed not to include them among the nine new failing schools, he added, because they are already being phased out. 

The United Federation of Teachers noted that five of the newcomers to the list were previously identified as failing, and then closed, reorganized, and reopened under new names. 

The nine schools are: JHS 45 John Roberts in Manhattan, JHS 13 Jackie Robinson in Manhattan, MS 203 in the Bronx, MS 301 Paul Dunbar in the Bronx, JHS 22 Jordan Mott in the Bronx, IS 232 in the Bronx, IS 339 School of Communications Technology in the Bronx, IS 246 Walt Whitman in Brooklyn, and Canarsie High School.