Hundreds Protest Proposed School Closings

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Nearly 900 people turned out for a hearing last night on the city's plan to close Jamaica High School. Before the hearing even began more than a hundred students and teachers demonstrated outside.

Several city council members and state legislators have urged the city to reconsider its plan to phase out the troubled high school starting in September. The Department of Education wants to gradually open small new schools inside the landmark building because it says they can do better than Jamaica's graduation rate, which is 46 percent.

Deputy Chancellor John White said Jamaica should be closed because 44 percent of last year's freshmen didn't earn enough credits to stay on track, and because fewer than half of its students graduated in four years.

Many teachers dispute that figure and believe the school is finally improving and believe those numbers aren't accurate.

Jamaica is among 20 low-performing schools the city wants to close. The Panel for Educational Policy will vote on the plans to close all 20 schools on January 26.

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