Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DOE Spares Canarsie's P.S. 114; Was a Deal Cut?

 Last night the Department of Education reversed its plan to shut down P.S. 114 in Canarsie, reports Gotham Schools, after parents, teachers, elected officials and the media spoke out loud and often against the injustice of the plan. 

Parents complained that they had tried to get DOE to remove an incompetent principal for four years, but DOE let her run the school into the ground -- and accumulate $180,000 in debt -- before finally getting rid of her in 2008. After one bad school report card, DOE decided to close the century-old school and replace it with a charter school and a new public school.

Councilman Lew Fidler told the Brooklyn Eagle that P.S. 114 “had been a terrific school in the past, until it was shot in both feet by a DOE principal. This school should succeed. I know this city’s agenda is charter schools — but they sent one principal in to wreck it, one to chronicle it and one to close it.”

The charter school will still be moving in, which could create space and resource problems in the long run. But for now, parents celebrate their school's survival.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio broke the news to teachers and parents last night at a protest rally.

According to NY1, which brought the P.S. 114 issue to the fore with a three-part special report, Schools Chancellor Cathie Black says education officials will come up with a plan to give P.S. 114 an opportunity for success.

The Wall Street Journal says that Senator John Sampson, a Democrat "who could be a big player in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's push to change the teacher layoff law in the state," was influential in the Mayor's decision.

A Sampson spokesperson told the Journal that the senator "hasn't taken a public position on seniority-based teacher layoffs, but will after he's had an opportunity to review the legislation before the senate."

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