Kids in the Cross­fire

New York Post - - POST OPINION -

Is Mayor de Bla­sio re­ally will­ing to sac­ri­fice the fu­ture of 842 sixth-grade kids to fur­ther his vendetta against char­ter schools? That’s how many Suc­cess Academy and Bronx Char­ter School for the Arts stu­dents will be forced back into the reg­u­lar pub­lic schools if the city Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion con­tin­ues to stall on OK’ing the char­ters’ re­quest for space to open new mid­dle schools.

Thurs­day’s re­port from Fam­i­lies for Ex­cel­lent schools de­tails the risks: Of the city’s 271 ma­jor­ity-mi­nor­ity mid­dle schools, only five are high-achiev­ing — that is, with more than 75 per­cent of stu­dents read­ing or do­ing math at grade level. At most of the rest (250), less than a quar­ter of the kids test at grade level.

And those five are all se­lec­tive-ad­mis­sions schools.

So the 842 at-risk chil­dren, who’ve been at­tend­ing good schools so far, can try to get in — but they’ll be dis­plac­ing 842 other kids if they suc­ceed. Ei­ther way, that’s need­lessly push­ing chil­dren into fail­ing schools.

Those 250 schools en­roll 72,043 chil­dren; the five qual­ity ones, just 1,231. That’s 59 kids stuck in a fail­ing school for ev­ery child in a nur­tur­ing one.

Yet de­spite the glar­ing need for good mid­dle schools, Team de Bla­sio con­tin­ues its pas­sive-ag­gres­sive re­fusal to ac­com­mo­date the char­ters’ re­quests for space.

Even though the DOE’s own records show the space is read­ily avail­able. And though stud­ies show that shar­ing a build­ing with a qual­ity char­ter boosts the per­for­mance of reg­u­lar pub­lic schools.

If the mayor’s min­ions don’t of­fi­cially iden­tify space for th­ese schools and re­lease re­lated doc­u­ments by Fri­day, the re­quests will be left off of the Panel for Ed­u­ca­tion Pol­icy’s meet­ing agenda for Novem­ber — mak­ing it ex­tremely hard for the new mid­dle schools to open next fall.

Th­ese are le­git­i­mate re­quests, filed in a timely man­ner — and in a spirit of co­op­er­a­tion, af­ter City Hall vowed to start han­dling th­ese is­sues in a fair and timely man­ner.

The po­ten­tial vic­tims are mainly mi­nor­ity and from low-in­come fam­i­lies; some are home­less. How in God’s name can any­one jus­tify rob­bing them of hope?

And hun­dreds of fifth-graders are com­ing up right be­hind them — at risk of be­ing dumped into fail­ing schools in fall 2018.

Please, Mr. Mayor, for once: Make the bu­reau­crats do right by the chil­dren.

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