A public hearing Wednesday evening at Brooklyn’s John Dewey High School attracted hundreds of teachers, students, families, and graduates to protest the Department of Education’s plan to open a new high school in Dewey’s building next year.
The plan is one of dozens that the Bloomberg administration is trying to set in motion before handing over the education department’s reins to a new mayor in January. Dewey has shrunk in size after several years in which the city repeatedly considered closing it and once tried to have it undergo “turnaround,” in which many teachers would have been replaced. That process was halted after labor arbitration ruled that it was not allowed.
Teri Brennan, who describes herself as “a Dewey alum who attended this school a millennium ago,” testified at the hearing and sent her comments and some pictures of the event to GothamSchools.
Here’s some of what she said:
The DOE has targeted Dewey relentlessly as though they were playing a game of whack-a-mole. They have criticized, threatened, demeaned and thrown up every imaginable obstacle and challenge. Each time that Dewey recovered, the DOE found a new way to bully them.
If you won’t help the students, teachers, staff and principal of John Dewey High School, then at least get out of the way and let them be.
The Panel for Educational Policy is set to vote on the co-location plan at its Oct. 30 meeting. The panel, which is controlled by mayoral appointees, has never rejected a city proposal. But opponents of the latest round of school proposals are optimistic because Bill de Blasio, the mayoral frontrunner, has pledged to scrutinize all plans made at the Department of Education this fall and roll back ones that do not make sense for their communities.