Dewey and FDR on state’s chopping block

September 7, 2012 Denise Romano
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The future of John Dewey High School and Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School is in question once again.

This time, the local schools are on the State Department of Education’s list of “priority” or worst schools, along with 30 others in the borough. According to the state DOE, these schools are “among the lowest performance schools in the state.”

“Priority schools are among the lowest five percent in the state in terms of combined English language arts and mathematics performance that are not making progress, as well as those schools that have graduation rates below 60% for the last several years,” the state DOE explains in a statement.

Dewey had been named a “turnaround” school by the city DOE with a new principal who took over in the spring. The city DOE had planned to close Dewey down and reopen it with a new name and at least 50 percent new staff, with staff members required to reapply for their jobs, but a court order had stopped that process dead in its tracks, following a lawsuit brought by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) on the grounds that the DOE violated collective bargaining agreements with the UFT by canning the teaching and administrative staffs.

FDR had initially been on the same list but had been removed early in the spring by the city DOE.

“I think that the DOE should give the new principal a chance to make Dewey what it was. It’s a great school,” said Yoketing Eng, president of Community Education Council District 21. “I think the past actions [of the city’s DOE] has unfortunately led to a downturn in student population which will impact the school financially. I think the DOE should give them a chance to come back.”

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