City Councilman Al Vann this week slammed the Department of Education’s decision to shutter one Bedford-Stuyvesant school next year and phase out another over three years.
The Academy of Business and Community Development (ABCD), 141 Macon Street and Marcy Avenue will shut its door in June if the mayor’s Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) sign’s off on the recommendation at their a Feb. 9 meeting.
The DOE established the 154-student, all-male 6-12 grade school in 2005 as one of its “small school” experiments, after the building educated students in the community for years when it was previously known as the Nathaniel Macon Junior High School, I..S. 258. Ironically, this June is their first graduating class of students who started in the sixth grade.
“Without input from the Bedford-Stuyvesant community, the Bloomberg Administration’s education department established the ABCD in 2005 to primarily serve young black males in grades 6-12. Fast forwarding to the present day, the DOE’s proposal to take extreme intervention in this ‘failing’ school comes again without any significant inclusion of community input,” said City Councilman Al Vann.
“When will the Bloomberg-led Department of Education learn it is essential to involve communities and parents in their children’s schools and educational environments? Their continued agenda that ignores community and parent concerns and input is destructive to our city’s public school system,” he added.
In closing the school, DOE officials noted its progress report grades have slid from a B in 2008-09 to D’s in bother 2009-10 and 2010-11.
“Proposing to phase out a school is the most difficult decision to make,” the DOE said in a statement. “We are proposing to close ABCD because it is the right action for current and future students in this community.”
Under the plan eighth graders and seniors will graduate this June. All the students still in school next year must transfer to another school.
The DOE also announced plans to phase out over three years the 274-student Satellite 3 MS 103, at 170 Gates Avenue. The school is for grades 6-8, and under the plan, the school won’t take any sith-graders next year, seventh-graders in 2012-13 and will close after the 2013-14 year.
Vann, who began his political career as an activist teacher, said the decision to close or phase out any school should only be made as a last resort after all options for improvement have been exhausted.
“I am unaware of any substantial efforts by the DOE to constructively intervene in the schools within my district that it now considers to be struggling and proposes to close,” said Vann. “If Chancellor Walcott and the DOE are truly committed to changing the way they engage communities and parents, they must take this opportunity to truly involve the Bedford-Stuyvesant community in developing any final decisions.”
The PEP vote on the proposal is slated for 6 pm, Feb. 9, at Brooklyn Tech High School, 29 Fort Greene Place.