The de Blasio administration said on Friday that it would require the entire staff at two of New York City’s lowest performing schools to reapply for their jobs next year, the result of a deal with the teachers’ and principals’ union that came just before a state deadline.
The plan, affecting two Brooklyn schools — Boys and Girls High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Automotive High School in Greenpoint — is a different approach to achieving a familiar goal. During the Bloomberg administration, many low-performing schools were closed and then replaced by smaller schools with new programs, and new staffs. In this case, the existing school remains, but the staff may not.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has been criticized, mainly by charter schooladvocates, as being too slow to come up with a plan for failing schools. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s policy of closing schools created space for charter schools, but Mr. de Blasio has shown little desire to enact such measures.
The deal came just days after Mr. de Blasio announced his own approach to helping 94 persistently low-performing schools, one rooted in the philosophy that schools’ troubles were not a fault of the staff so much as students’ circumstances, and that those circumstances could be ameliorated. That plan includes spending $150 million to add staff members to the schools, extending the academic day by an hour and turning them into so-called community schools that offer mental health, vision care and other social services.
The two Brooklyn schools, which are among the 94, need further measures because they are on a state list of “Out of Time” schools, which have performed so poorly for so long that they require more extensive changes. Only 5 percent of seniors at Boys and Girls were considered “college ready” last year; at Automotive, it was 8 percent.
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