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Schools’ Supporters Fear They Weren’t Heard

January 28, 2010

Schools’ Supporters Fear They Weren’t Heard

By SHARON OTTERMAN

When state lawmakers voted last summer to renew Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s control over New York City schools, they included a compromise devised to respond to complaints that the public had little opportunity for meaningful input.

Before making decisions, the panel that oversees the system would hold more public hearings and more votes, although the mayor would still appoint a majority of its members.

To some, the first major test of the new system was an exercise in futility.

Despite hundreds of protesters gathered at Brooklyn Technical High School on Tuesday night for a hearing that stretched nearly nine hours, the Panel for Educational Policy voted to accept all of the mayor’s recommendations and close 19 schools for poor performance. All of the members appointed by Mr. Bloomberg voted for the closings.

As the decisions reverberated Wednesday through the hallways of the schools that will begin to close next fall, some students and teachers expressed frustration, anger and exhaustion. Before the vote, many of the schools held rallies, compiled statistics, sponsored petitions and sent students and teachers to testify at the hearing, to no avail.

Read the whole article on NYTimes.

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