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The Numbers Don't Lie: Why New York City School Closings are Justified

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The Numbers Don't Lie: Why New York City School Closings are Justified

By Marcus A. Winters December 12, 2010
EducationPre K-12

New York City’s leading teachers’ union signaled last week that it won’t give up its fight to keep the city from closing bad schools. Last year, the United Federation of Teachers convinced a judge that the DOE had offered only a “pretense of compliance” with a state law governing school-closure. UFT president Michael Mulgrew has already warned that the union is prepared to sue again to prevent this year’s proposed closures.[1]

Mulgrew insists this is a matter of "due process." In reality, the union is keeping open what all the evidence shows to be terrible schools. Student test scores, the results of parent and teacher surveys, and data from the city’s Progress and Performance metrics, give a sense of just what’s going on inside the twenty-six schools that the city recently marked for closure. It’s easy to see why they are on the chopping block. Students are not learning in these schools. Often they aren’t safe, either.

The Department of Education administers voluntary surveys to parents and teachers in each of its public and charter schools. The results of these surveys account for about 10 percent of the accountability score used to grade schools from “A” to “F” each year. The below table reports the answers of city parents and teachers to some pertinent questions about the quality of their schools. The table juxtaposes survey answers from the twenty-six schools designated for closure with those from all other city schools.

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