Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, and Michael Mulgrew, president of the UFT (New York City local of AFT), have some good advice for Mayor Bloomberg: Help schools that struggle, don’t close them.

Interesting that this opinion piece appears, no doubt by coincidence, in the New York Daily News on the same day that a news story reports the failure of Bloomberg’s closing schools strategy. According to the news story, Bloomberg’s new schools did worse on the state reading tests than the “old” schools that he hasn’t closed yet.

Weingarten and Mulgrrew call the Mayor’s attention to the Chancellor’s District created by Rudy Crew when he ran the school system. He created a non-contiguous district of the city’s lowest performing schools and then saturated them with support and resources. Some (though not all) of the schools showed impressive progress.

Will the Mayor take the suggestion from Weingarten and Mulgrew? Hmm. It would mean turning his back on ten years of school closings. It would mean admitting error. 140 schools closed and replaced by schools that mostly did no better.  It would mean that the Federal Government’s turnaround (close schools and fire teachers) strategy is wrong.

The data don’t support more of the same. Is the Mayor listening? Is Arne Duncan listening?