Panel Votes to Close 22 Low-Performing NYC Schools Amid Parents' Protests

By Sheldon Dutes
|  Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013  |  Updated 11:48 AM EDT
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Brooklyn Parents Upset Over School Closures

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Brooklyn Parents Upset Over School Closures

At a Department of Education meeting in Brooklyn Monday, parents protested proposed plans to close failing schools. Ida Siegal reports.
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An educational panel voted early Tuesday to shut down 22 low-performing schools in New York City, frustrating scores of parents who crowded a Brooklyn auditorium on the eve of the vote to protest the impending closures.

The schools targeted for closure are in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan. The city says these schools consistently perform poorly on evaluations.

Sign-wielding parents chanted "we can fight back" during a six-hour attempt to convince the panel to keep the schools open. The meeting was held at Brooklyn Technical High School, which is not slated for closure.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott told reporters after the vote that many of those schools do not improve test scores, despite the city's efforts to help them do so.

"We are constantly working with schools to improve their outcomes," Walcott said. "There are, unfortunately, some schools that just do not get better."

Click here for a full list of schools slated for closure.

Angry parents say the schools slated for closure are more than buildings for learning; they're anchors for communities.

"A lot of these kids have come to adapt, to be accustomed to the teachers and the staff and the counselors, and to take that all away from them is going to devastate them," said one woman who attended the meeting.

Another man called the closures "a disgrace," accusing the panel of not caring about the parents and children who attend the 22 schools slated for closure -- or the teachers who work at them.

The Department of Education did not immediately return NBC 4 New York's request for comment on what would happen to the students and teachers who attend and work at the schools.

Some 142 schools have been shut down or approved for phase-out since 2002.

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