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School closing? No problem — help is now on the way!
After voting to shutter 23 struggling schools, the city’s Department of Education is only now launching what it refers to as “targeted action plans” to help the schools improve, The Post has learned.
The oddly-timed postmortem aid comes in the wake of a slew of complaints from parents, student and teachers that the city didn’t offer the high-needs schools enough support before pulling the plug.
“Giving a school an improvement plan after you’ve decided to close it is sort of a slap in the face to the entire school community,” said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew. “That to me sounds like they’re now trying to respond to the accusation that they haven’t helped schools.”
The existence of the action plans was first revealed in documents the DOE posted online late Wednesday, one day before the closure votes.
The documents — a legally-mandated response to public comments on the proposed closures — suggested the city had already implemented the plans.
“Struggling schools have targeted action plans developed by their networks. These identify concrete action steps, benchmarks, and year-end goals aimed at immediately improving student achievement,” the DOE wrote in response to questions about what support the city had provided the schools.
It wasn’t until The Post asked the DOE for a copy of the plans that officials hastily posted revised documents that made it clear none of the fixes had started yet.
A DOE spokesman said the documents were revised because someone in the administration noticed that the statements about the program were confusing.
He could not provide details on when the targeted action plans would launch , nor at which schools .
Schools chancellor Dennis Walcott said he wasn’t familiar with the language in the documents but insisted struggling schools had been getting support all along.
“I’m not sure and I won’t get into the word ‘targeted’ but our networks are always out there working with our schools, helping develop plans to make sure they’re getting stronger — and unfortunately there are cases where those schools don’t get stronger,” he said.
Tanya King, PTA secretary at the shuttering Academy for Business and Community Development in Bedford-Stuyvesant, said it didn’t make sense for the city to wait until after the closure vote before offering schools additional support.
“It’s too late for them to give us that program now,” said King, whose grandson attends the sixth-through-12th grade school.
“We haven’t even had a 12th grade graduation yet,” she added. “It’s not right. Those kids are devastated.”