Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bloomberg/Klein close Harlem's Boys Choir Academy High School

"No capacity for change" --Deputy chancellor

The school is one of 20 the city has over the last two weeks proposed closing, from large ones like Jamaica High School in Queens to small schools created under the Bloomberg administration. For Choir Academy students who have seen the institution through many trials, the news came hard. Some said they would try to fight the closing before the Panel for Educational Policy, a board controlled by the mayor, votes on it and the other closings on Jan. 26.
For some students, the news dealt another blow to the pride they once felt as part of one of the country’s pre-eminent youth choirs, one that sang for presidents and toured the world.
The closing comes even as the school, under new leadership, is making "overall progress" on its test scores. 8th-grade pass rates have tripled to 63 percent and a recent recent quality review in May rated the academy “proficient.” The new principal, A. Ellen Parris, is credited for “a radical change in the culture of the school in a short period.”

But Klein's bureaucrats still seem bent of closing, rather than helping the Academy continue on its path towards improvement.
“It is our belief that the school does not have the capacity to turn around,” said John White, the deputy schools chancellor for strategy."

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