Friday, July 22, 2011

STOP THE PRESSES -- HUGE WIN! NY State Supreme Court Decision in the School Closure Case

Folks, it would be hard to overstate the importance of this win.  We lost a similar case a year ago, so I didn't have high hopes, but some combination of executing better, a more sensible judge, and the arc of history bending in our direction resulted in the decision going our way this time.  What a great victory of the children of NYC – and what a well-deserved defeat for the union.  There could hardly be a better example of the UFT looking out for its members at the expense of children, as it sued to keep open the most chronic, horrific dropout factories.  At least the union's behavior can be understood in the context of its myopic short-term thinking about what's best for its members, but its lackeys – the NAACP, Bill Perkins, and the others who supported this unconscionable lawsuit – have no excuse.  They will pay for their craven behavior, mark my words…







July 21, 2011





Legal Advisory on Mulgrew / NAACP / School Closings Case


Late tonight, New York Supreme Court Justice Paul Feinman denied the UFT and NAACP's request for a preliminary injunction preventing the Department of Education from moving forward to close 19 failing schools and co-locate 16 public charter schools in DOE buildings.  The judge's ruling allows the DOE to move forward with the closings and co-locations.


In early June, the NAACP and the UFT filed suit seeking to prevent the DOE from closing 19 failing schools and co-locating 16 public charter schools in DOE buildings, seeking interim as well as permanent relief.  In his ruling, the judge denied the plaintiffs interim relief and ruled for the City on all counts, finding that "...there is no clear and convincing evidence that these low-performing schools could be so easily turned around [so that] to adopt plaintiffs' position would require the court to engage in speculation..." (page 11 of the decision).  With respect to the co-location claims, the judge found that the challenged documents "fulfill their obligation of completeness" under the Education Law (page 18 of the decision).


The judge continued, "Because plaintiffs have failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits on their claims for a declaration that would enjoin the closure or phase out of the designated schools, or would bar the co-locations of the charter schools in the designed public school buildings, their motion must be denied." (page 20 of the decision).


Statement of Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott:


"I am incredibly heartened by the Court's decision tonight.  From the beginning of the Bloomberg Administration, we have said that a primary focus of our reform efforts would be to phase out schools that have failed our children year after year, and offer families new, high-quality options.  Tonight, the court clearly stated that 'if the failing public schools are not closed, students may be subject to substandard educational environments which will obviously cause them to be considerably harmed.' I know this decision will come as great comfort and relief to the thousands of children who have been in limbo, wondering what the outcome of this case would be, and for that I am very happy."


A copy of the breaking legal decision is attached as a PDF.




Contact:  Natalie Ravitz – DOE (212) 374-5141





Natalie Ravitz

Director of Communications

NYC Department of Education

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