IS 231 on Life Support

At least for the moment, the city Department of Education has put the execution of IS 231 on Springfield Boulevard on hold. The city Panel for Educational Policy voted to delay the phase-out until March 23. The same panel already has stopped new admissions to Jamaica and Beach Channel high schools.

The way the plan works, the city closes a school and then reopens it with “new institutions” with fancy new names. In the case of IS 231, the city will hold a public hearing before making its final decision.

The plan is nothing but bureaucratic buffoonery. Rather than taking a comprehensive look at the schools, finding out what is wrong and addressing the problems, the DOE relies on cosmetic changes. In the case of IS 231, the school had gotten a D grade from the DOE.

But Community Board 13’s district manager says the standards used to measure the school’s performance are skewed. For one thing, the measurement does not take into account the number of students who were moved to other schools when parents learned that that neighborhood school was closing. Not surprisingly, these were the more successful students.

As soon as the DOE starts talking about closing a school, parents start thinking about taking their kids out. As long as the building itself is in good condition, closing a school should be off the table. The DOE should be partnering with the community to make every school a success.

The Pride of Howard Beach

Last week, a young woman from Howard Beach captured the hearts of millions when one of the “American Idol” judges said her performance of “I’ll Stand by You” was “as good as it gets.” Randy Jackson noted that Pia Toscano was the first performer of the season to earn a standing ovation from the judges.

Last Thursday, Toscano, a graduate of La Guardia High School, became one of five women chosen by viewers to continue in the contest. Considering more than 100,000 tried out for the show, that is a remarkable accomplishment.

Whether or not she wins, the 22-year-old has already won the hearts of Queens. She was one of the astounding moments on a show than can be as annoying as it is entertaining.

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