Friday, December 04, 2009
Shame On Tweed For Closing Down Jamaica High School - Shame, Shame, Shame
It has finally happened! Chancellor Joel Klein and his non-educator flunkies at Tweed have finally succeeded in destroying one of the great schools in New York City with a century long history, Jamaica High School. It was as recently as 1985 that the Federal Department Of Education ranked Jamaica High School the #1 secondary school in the nation. Yesterday the DOE formally announced the closing of Jamaica High School after they setup the school for failure. Under Joel Klein's awful stewardship and his anti-large school stance, the school suffered from terrible decision making by past and present school leaders in and out of the school that resulted in an exodus of both quality students & teachers, poor and inept leadership at the school, starved it for funds, was treated as an "impact school" by the City in 2005, found itself unfairly placed on the State's "most dangerous schools list" in 2007, and encouraged students to transfer out of the school or discouraged perspective students from selecting the school in the first place. The result was a school that was underpopulated while having large class sizes and only receiving the bottom feeders of the student body.
The closing of Jamaica High School was no great surprise to many who watched helplessly as Tweed dismantled the school step by step. I previously wrote about what the DOE was doing to the school Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here. Still, it was shocking that Tweed ignores the community and student body and goes on their merry way to destroy the traditional large high schools while lobbying for small or Charter schools to replace them. How ridiculous is it that nearby schools like Francis Lewis is bursting at the seams while Jamaica High School can't attract enough students to fill the school.
Despite repeated pleas by the community to allocate the necessary funds to help the school, Tweed instead placed a specialized school in the building in 2008 and made no effort to encourage students in nearby overcrowded schools to transfer to Jamaica. Furthermore, Tweed penalized Jamaica High School by cutting their budget and starving the school for funds.
Jamaica High School was one of the great high schools in the nation and because of Mayor Mike and Chancellor Klein, a 117 year history of accomplishment will disappear. The closing of Jamaica High School is a great loss for the City's culture and community pride. Shame on Tweed for what they are doing. Shame, shame, shame.
P.S. Where will the "at risk"students go with Jamaica High School closing? How about Thomas Edison, Martin Van Buren, Hillcrest, Forest Hills, Richmond Hill, John Adams, & John Bowne? Yes these schools will be next in the slowly spreading plaque of destroying the large high schools in Queens.