While many schools have closed in various school districts across the nation under the familiar premise of low academic performance, there are other schools that close on a lesser known basis: under-enrollment. District’s 16’s Public School 25, also known as the Eubie Blake School, is one of the latest schools to be potentially impacted by such a phenomenon.
As recommended by the Community Education Council (CEC) of District 16, PS 25 is set to close its doors sooner, rather than later. In an official statement from the CEC as articulated by CEC Chair NeQuan McLean, “the CEC does not have the authority to close schools. We make recommendations which is covered under New York State Education Law s2590-e (18. Provide input, as it deems necessary, to the Chancellor and the city board on matters of concern to the district.) Our recommendations are based upon the information provided by the DOE and community feedback.”
As evidenced by the District 16 CEC meeting held on Valentine’s Day at The Brooklyn Brownstone School, there are community members who are not okay with such proposals or are willing to sit idly by as the idea of closing PS 25 floats around. An important takeaway from both that meeting and the power of community feedback as expressed in the CEC statement, is that there still may be time to stop such a closing. This is important because, rightfully so, not everyone agrees that PS 25 should be closed, and just as the CEC’s recommendation is being heard, so should the voices of those who are against the closing on PS 25.
More than half of the 175 students currently enrolled in PS 25, perform well on standardized testing as listed on insideschools.org. Statistics such as these make sentiments of parents and other community stake holders who don’t want PS 25 to be closed understandable. After all, if a school is delivering on its promise to educate children, why close it?
What the DOE Says
According to Michael Aciman, a Department of Education representative, parents and the public are informed of school closings through a “comprehensive process.” Such a procedure involves sending out literature to parents with detailed information about the school’s closing. Additionally, information about meetings where parents can voice their concerns are also included in such packages. If there are people who feel as if their questions were not answered, they can contact email@example.com says Aciman. Aciman also delineated a major problem that he feels comes along with low enrollment. In essence, he suggests that if a school’s enrollment is on the lower end of the spectrum then it follows that the school would also have less resources which would make getting the most of an educational experience difficult.
When to Act
It is in the best interest of concerned parents, educators, and community members in general to email whomever it may concern as soon as possible as the Panel for Educational Policy’s final vote date is fast approaching. As the Black Panther movie proves, as a people we are more than capable of banding together and affecting change when change is needed.
An official dedication of the Eubie Blake Museum inside the P.S. 25/The Eubie Blake School, is on hold pending the decision of the Panel for Educational Policy to close the school or keep it open. PS. 25 was named after the late composer who lived for decades In District 16 on Stuyvesant Avenue, across from historic Bridge Street Church where he sometimes played on the church’s piano alone in the sanctuary. Mr. Blake died at home on February 12, 1983. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Broadway musical Eubie!
Priscilla Mensah covers topics related to improving health, wellness, and overall community empowerment. She is also a former Health Reporting Fellow at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.