The United Federation of Teachers, NAACP, and advocates sued the New York City Department of Education Wednesday. The lawsuit is against the city's plans to close 22 schools, and against charter schools from using those building spaces.
NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott sees UFT's and the NAACP's move to keep failing schools open as outrageous as it will hold hostage students who were already matched to different high schools or charter schools by lottery.
The UFT's decision to wait until the middle of May to file this lawsuit is both cruel and irresponsible, said Walcott at Wednesday's press conference. It will create enormous stress and uncertainty.
UFT president Michael Mulgrew explained that the DOE failed to support failing schools in an agreement in a similar suit last year when UFT fought to keep 19 NYC schools open. The settlement required DOE to improve the performance of those schools. However, the DOE did not provide resources to those schools, alleged in this year's suit. The DOE has not learned its lesson, said Mulgrew at a press conference hours earlier.
Walcott attacked the UFT's and NAACP's true motives. Rather than protecting the children, they are protecting jobs for adults at the expense of what is best for our children. The schools that the suit is defending are failing the children. According to the DOE, performance numbers for those schools compared to the citywide average are:
English-language proficiency 16% vs. 42%
Math 19% vs. 53%
Graduation rate 49% vs. 63%
NAACP's regional director of New York State Conference Ken Cohen stated, With the focus on education reform we find there has been a rush to judge and condemn schools and not enough effort to provide the quality education that the original case sought.