Three months into a federal grant program designed to improve some of the country’s lowest-performing schools, New York City’s Education Department has instead moved to close two troubled high schools and replace them with new schools.
The department, in announcements on Thursday and Friday, laid out plans to close or phase out over several years 19 low-performing schools. Six other schools could have their middle school grades eliminated.
Among the schools named Friday were two large high schools, Washington Irving High School in Manhattan and Grace Dodge Career and Technical Education High School in the Bronx, that were each expected to receive more than $2 million in federal stimulus money over three years. That money was aimed at extending instructional time and improving the curriculums, but before either school could complete the first year of the improvement model, city education officials ran out of patience.
Spurred in part by dismal graduation rates, officials are moving to close both schools by 2015. Last year, 48 percent of seniors at Washington Irving graduated; at Grace Dodge, only 35 percent did so.