Parents Protest Planned Closing of All-Boys Bed-Stuy School

February 1, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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ABCD Academy One of Four
Threatened in Bed-Stuy

By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Supporters of a low-performing all-boys school — Academy for Business and Community Development (ABCD) — protested the Department of Education’s (DOE’s) plan to close the Bedford-Stuyvesant school down at a hearing Tuesday night.

DOE has asked the Mayor’s Panel for Educational Policy to vote to close the school at its meeting on Feb. 9 because of its low performance “and its inability to turn around quickly to better support student needs.”

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Parents say that ABCD’s test scores may be low — just 22 percent passed the state English exam and 27 percent passed math — but they’re more than double the scores at the school ABCD replaced just six years ago, J.H.S. 258. ABCD, for boys in grades 6 to 12, has more than twice the average number of special education and overage students.

ABCD received a D on its latest school progress report (known as a school “report card”). It earned a B on its 2008-2009 progress report.

ABCD is one of four middle schools the Department of Education is seeking to close in Bedford-Stuyvesant next month. The others are P.S. 571, Kappa 7 and Satellite 3.

“The only other nearby middle school, M.S. 113, scored a D on its last report card,” said supporters in a statement. “If all schools are closed, the Bloomberg Administration will have shut down every middle school in the community.”

DOE is proposing that ABCD be closed at the end of this school year, rather than phased out, because the school currently serves very few students. “A phase-out would leave the school with too few students and insufficient funding to function and thrive,” according to DOE.

The city’s annual teacher survey showed a growing lack of confidence in the school’s leadership — going down from 84 percent two years ago to 28 percent this year. About 78 percent of teachers said that the principal is an ineffective manager, and 86 percent said they didn’t trust the principal at her word.

ABCD shares its school building with an Alternate Learning Center and Leadership Prep Bedford-Stuyvesant Charter School (part of the Uncommon Schools network), which now has K-6 in the building.

DOE says there are no plans to co-locate any other organizations in the building at this time. “The DOE will continue to assess seat capacity and the needs in District 13 and across the borough to determine the most optimal use of the space that will be vacated by the proposed closure of ABCD,” it said in an official statement.

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