Monday, March 25, 2013

Councilman Koppell Reacts to DOE Decision on Clinton High School

In speaking to Chancellor Walcott at a meeting of the Education Committee, of which he is a member, on March 21, 2013, Council Member Oliver Koppell deplored the lack of community involvement in the selection of the two new high schools to be co-located at DeWitt Clinton High School.
After DOE decided on the concept of co-location in spite of  community opposition, Koppell said, “It would have behooved the Department to consult with the Community Education Council  parents ,and local community  and educational leaders before deciding on what type of school was appropriate for the area.”
According to Koppell, he had not been apprized of the nature of the new schools nor was there a description of the type of schools to be selected in the Impact Statement or at the public hearing held about Clinton’s fate on February 21, 2013   Marvin Shelton, Chair of the District 10 Community Education Council, said, “We were not consulted or given a description of the new schools prior to their being selected. Everyone was kept in the dark.  I believe that not even the Panel for Educational Policy was aware of the nature of the new schools when they voted on the co-location.” Koppell said, “Our students in the Northwest Bronx would have benefitted from a school similar to the Ellis School on the Kennedy Campus devoted to the needs of newly arrived immigrants. One of the reasons Clinton received an “F” on its Progress Report is that it had a disproportionate number of English Language Learners without the resources necessary to meet their needs.”
Koppell said it was unclear why the description of the two new schools at Clinton was kept such a secret and why our community was excluded from having any input into this important decision.  “However,” he said,   “we probably should not have been surprised since this behavior is in keeping with the “top down” philosophy of the Bloomberg  administration.”

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