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More than one way to close a school

Closing failing schools is one thing, but closing them without clear guidelines or independent review is another, writes lawyer and Brooklyn College professor David Bloomfield in the community section.

Bloomfield argues that Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein’s strategy of announcing 20 planned school closures without defining a set of standards has set them up for a Pyrrhic victory. They’ll win the fight and close the schools, but it will come at the cost of public support for any future changes they want to make, he says. Bloomfield writes that the solution is in state law, which allows for the creation of an Advisory Committee on School Building Utilization that could review any proposed closures. He writes:

This warfare could be avoided if the Mayor took a different, more conciliatory tack. What is needed — both legally and instructionally — is to articulate a clear set of standards for determining school closures, with thorough review of actions taken to avoid the disruption attendant to this last resort and the possible impact of closure on other schools.