(Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY) During a marathon late-night session, the Panel for Educational Policy voted to close 24 New York City public schoolsas part of the Department of Education’s controversial “turnaround” plan. At least two of the schools – John Dewey High School and Sheepshead Bay High School – are attended by students who live in the 22nd Senate District in southern Brooklyn. Former PEP member and Democratic State Senate Candidate Andrew Gounardes, who earlier this month cheered community members for preventing the closure of William E. Grady and FDR High Schools, released the following statement:
“It’s a bittersweet day for parents, students, and teachers in our district. Last month, they came together, flooded public meetings, and succeeded against all odds in saving William E. Grady and FDR High Schools. Unfortunately, many of them wake this morning to news that John Dewey and Sheepshead Bay High Schools – as well as 22 others in the city – won’t be saved.
Instead, the Department of Education will close their doors against the community’s wishes. Even good teachers will be forced to re-apply for jobs that they’ve earned honestly and sacrificed to keep. Worst of all, thousands of students won’t have the slightest idea what or who awaits them when they return just 4 months from now. Their futures rest in the hands of out-of-touch and tone-deaf politicians that have failed year after year to institute coherent, meaningful, and high-impact reforms. Instead of focusing on math, science, or the arts, these students are forced to spend their time finding ways to be heard by a Panel that once valued student voices. I should know; I was one of the first Student Advisors to the Panel for Educational Policy in 2002-2003.
Our students deserve better. Our communities deserve better. Until the city commits to delivering better and not just different , it’s up to us as neighbors to organize, stick together, and fight for reforms that put education for all first.”
Learn more about Andrew’s views on education at: www.andrewgounardes.com/education
Andrew Gounardes is an attorney and Democrat running to replace State Senator Marty Golden in Brooklyn’s 22nd district. He is a proud graduate of Fort Hamilton High School and CUNY Hunter College. He earned his law degree from The George Washington University Law School. A former aide to U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and City Council Member Vincent Gentile, he is now a member of Community Board 10 and Director of External Affairs at Citizens Committee for New York City.
The 22nd Senate District includes portions of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Midwood and Borough Park. You can read his full bio at: www.andrewgounardes.com/about.