Published in
The Empire

closing city schools creates a problem with state exams

My story:

When asked about the decision to close city schools because of the snow — something that's only happened nine times since 1978 — Bloomberg was, at first, matter of fact about the whole thing. A combination of mass transit delays and road conditions, made this the right decision for “parents, students and staff," he said.

Sitting in the press corps was one of those students impacted by the decision: 12th grader Myles Miller, a regular attendee of mayoral press conference who routinely reports for an assortment of youth-oriented and citizen-journalist web sites.

After Miller and another reporter asked about the regents exams slated to be given on Thursday, the mayor said that exam wasn't a factor in deciding whether to keep schools open.

“That’s not one of the things that went into our decision making process at all,” said Bloomberg. “The three things are safety, practicality and the economic impact” of parents having to miss a day of work.

Black, the schools chancellor, said 46,000 students were scheduled to take the history and regents exams, 22,000 were lined up for the geometry regents exam, and another 28,800 students were scheduled for the reading, science, chemistry and physics regents exams. The exam is run by the state, which has a policy of not rescheduling it for students who miss their tests.

The next opportunity to take the tests are in June. Which is somewhat problematic, Black acknowledged for "a few hundred" students who were set to graduate this January. "And in the past, they don't make any exceptions," Black told reporters after the press conference.

Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott said the city is talking with state education officials to find a solution for those who couldn't take the regents exams.