Dmytro Fedkowskyj on why he voted "No" on the 23 school closings


Here is the statement made by Dmytro Fedkowskyj,  Queens representative on the Panel for Educational Policy, before voting against the 23 school closings and numerous co-locations.  The vote was 9-4, with the 8 mayoral appointees plus the Staten Island rep Diane Perrugia, voting lockstep in favor of each proposal by the DOE, and the borough representatives from the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens voting no.  Perrugia voted with the mayor every time except for the proposal to close the one school on Staten Island, PS 14, in which case she voted no.
Students prepare and dream about their futures. Parents do what they can to help their children succeed.   
photo: Anna Gustafson
Our Principals and Teachers dedicate themselves to their school communities in order to make their student dreams come true, but all too often their pleas for support to fix, not close their schools fall on deaf ears...these proposals confuse parents and decimate school communities...and something has to change.
Some of the schools on the agenda today were schools created by this administration, which means past proposals didn't support and achieve their objectives.  The problems weren't quantified and unless a different approach is taken it will likely happen again and again...These decisions will again leave much doubt by every school community that it's the right choice.  
It’s no secret that some of our schools need more help than others, and I'm of the opinion that other measures should always be implemented before a final decision is made to close or phase-out a school.
These other measures are rarely ever implemented by the DOE because they claim these measures will take too long to obtain positive results. Well I say too bad...tackle the issues at hand and avoid the one size fits all quick fix.
Let our hardworking administrations and teachers develop their practices and initiatives so they can continue to provide a sense of consistent support and dedication to our students.   
When school grades drop from year to year, which ultimately drives the basis for these decisions, there needs to be DOE oversight and intervention at that time...not two years later when that dreadful last visit occurs by the DOE.  
The magic fix doesn't exist. It takes time and energy since our children learn at different levels. I have full faith in our principals and teachers because we have the best of the best teaching our kids and I would ask the panel not support the proposals for phase-out and give these schools the time and resources they need to be successful.
--Dmytro Fedkowskyj,  Panel for Educational Policy, Queens Representative
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