Parents have been outraged by the New York City Department of Education’s policy of closing schools as a “reform” strategy. They were especially outraged by the decision to close PS 25 in Brooklyn. The DOE says it is “under enrolled,” which it is, but it is one of the most successful elementary schools in the city. Since it is doing such a good job, why not recruit more students instead of closing it? One answer: closing it would allow Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter school to take over the entire building.

Leonie Haimson led an effort to save PS 25. She got a lawyer to sue the DOE pro bono, and yesterday her group won a temporary restraining order which will likely save PS 25 for at least another year. If the DOE comes to its senses, it may save the school, period.

The judge ” seemed impressed with our research showing how all the other 33 schools DOE offered these students to apply to 1- all had far lower positive impact ratings 2- many of them were miles away, 19 of the schools in Staten Island alone 3- 25 were overcrowded, and 4- none had class sizes as small as PS 25. And the DOE has not offered to provide busing for the students.

“In short, she was impressed that in most every other proposal to close schools, the DOE had promised higher performing schools that students could apply to, but they didn’t in this case, because according to DOE’s own estimation, there are only three other public elementary schools as good as PS 25 in the entire city and they are full.

“In fact, the City itself admitted in their response papers to the lawsuit that according to the school performance dashboard, PS 25 is the “second best public elementary school in Brooklyn and the fourth best in the City, and that PS 25 outperforms charter school other than Success Academy Bronx 2 in its positive impact on student achievement and attendance.”

Why in the world should the city close one of its highest performing schools? The Bloomberg administration closed scores of schools, routinely, without a second thought.

Good work, Leonie!

PS: The annual dinner of Leonie Haimson’s organization, Class Size Matters, will hold its annual fundraising dinner on June 19. All are invited to attend. The price is modest, as these dinners go. Invitation to follow.