A Rose by Any Other Name is Still a Rose
At a public meeting on February 26, 2013 on DeWitt Clinton’s Future, Council Member Oliver Koppell, a member of the Education Committee, strongly opposed the proposal of the Department of Education to downsize Clinton and co-locate two new high schools in the building.
Initially heartened by the DOE’s decision not to close the school, he soon learned that a rose by any other name is still a rose. “Placing two new high schools in the building is tantamount to ensuring Clinton’s demise,” he said.
“There is no doubt in my mind.” Koppell continued, “that the new high schools will drain Clinton of the more well prepared and motivated students. Clinton will become the “school of last resort” for English Language Learners, “Over the Counter” students and those who are underprepared. Without the resources necessary to help these students, the school’s academic record will plummet, leading to a renewed call for its closure.”
Koppell expressed the opinion that this need not happen. He indicated that funding, support and new leadership could reinvigorate the school. “Improvement can come about,” he stated, “by allocating more teaching and counseling resources, increasing staff development, revising the curricula and enlisting the help of the alumni and neighboring institutions of higher learning,”
Koppell defended the role of the large comprehensive high schools saying that that they offered students a wide choice of courses, extracurricular activities and sports teams.
“The success Clinton has had in the past in its 100 year-old tradition of educating students is predictive of the future success it can have if it is given the necessary support. I urge the DOE not to give up on Clinton by reallocating its resources and space to other schools, but to bolster it by providing the necessary assistance it needs to become a school of excellence once again,” Koppell concluded.