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After ruling kept schools open, city discouraged enrollment

Yesterday I wrote about extreme under-enrollment at one of the schools a judge ordered the city to keep open against education officials’ will.

Currently, Jamaica High School is looking at an incoming ninth grade of only 23 students — a class size so small it may have to phase out its ninth grade. One of the reasons for little student interest could be a letter the city sent to families assigned to one of 14 high schools marked for closure.

The letter warned families that the schools might end up closing anyway, if the city wins its appeal. It also described the schools as “failing.” And in a sentence describing the teachers union’s suit to keep the schools open, the letter says the union was joined by “others,” instead of naming the NAACP.

A portion of the letter reads:

Back in December, your high school application listed one or more programs from 14 high schools that the Department of Education decided to phase out because they were failing. As part of the phase-out process, we decided those schools would not admit new students in the fall. However, the United Federation of Teachers and others filed a lawsuit in state court challenging our decision. On Friday, March 26, 2010, the Court ruled that the Department of Education did not comply with the procedural requirements necessary for phasing out these schools. We wholeheartedly disagree with this ruling and we are appealing. At this time however the court ruling requires us to permit students to enroll at these schools.

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