School closing? No problem — help is now on the way!
After voting to shutter 23 struggling schools, the city’s Department of Education is only now launching what it refers to as “targeted action plans” to help the schools improve, The Post has learned.
The oddly-timed postmortem aid comes in the wake of a slew of complaints from parents, student and teachers that the city didn’t offer the high-needs schools enough support before pulling the plug.
“Giving a school an improvement plan after you’ve decided to close it is sort of a slap in the face to the entire school community,” said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew. “That to me sounds like they’re now trying to respond to the accusation that they haven’t helped schools.”
The existence of the action plans was first revealed in documents the DOE posted online late Wednesday, one day before the closure votes.
The documents — a legally-mandated response to public comments on the proposed closures — suggested the city had already implemented the plans.
“Struggling schools have targeted action plans developed by their networks. These identify concrete action steps, benchmarks, and year-end goals aimed at immediately improving student achievement,” the DOE wrote in response to questions about what support the city had provided the schools.
It wasn’t until The Post asked the DOE for a copy of the plans that officials hastily posted revised documents that made it clear none of the fixes had started yet.
A DOE spokesman said the documents were revised because someone in the administration noticed that the statements about the program were confusing.
He could not provide details on when the targeted action plans would launch , nor at which schools.
Two things here:
First, does anyone need any more evidence than this that Bloomberg, Walcott and the DOE do not care about helping struggling schools?
Seriously, they put into place the action plan to help the schools AFTER the closure vote.
Next, since the DOE is legally mandated to put an action plan into place BEFORE they close the schools and since the DOE was lying about these plans all along, groups that want to sue over the closures now have very reasonable (one might say actionable) grounds to sue.
As for the chancellor's comments that "unfortunately there are cases where those schools don’t get stronger," well, that goes without saying.
When you wait until AFTER you close the schools in order to provide the help the schools need, it sure is difficult for those schools to improve.
It's time to close Tweed and end the era of mayoral control.
We can give Walcott and Bloomberg the action plan to improve after we kick them out of power.