The Department of Education recently announced its plans to close Christopher Columbus High School, but a teacher and professional developer at the school is arguing that Columbus deserves another chance.
Christine Rowland, who works at the UFT Teacher Center at the school, explains in a piece in the community section how Columbus became what’s often called a “dumping ground” for difficult students from other schools that were closed. The percentage of incoming freshmen who were reading or doing math at grade level dropped precipitously from 1998 to 2005, while the number of special education students at Columbus grew, leaving teachers and administrators scrambling to accommodate the new population. Now, Rowland writes, the school is being punished for it.
Right now our longer term outcomes are relatively good for our students, helping them along the path to graduation even when they take more than four years. Those students with severe special needs are helped as frequently as possible with work study programs that provide them with job skills, and frequently job placements on leaving the school. We ask that the DOE reconsider their decision and give the Christopher Columbus community the reprieve it deserves.