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Bronx youth headed back to school

Bronx Times
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More than 200,000 youngsters and teens are expected to flood back into Bronx schools next week, with overcrowding, competing charter schools, controversial standardized statewide tests and so-called “failing schools” back again.

For public schools, teachers will report to duty on Tuesday, September 4, but school sessions begin for all students on Thursday, September 6.

On the first day of school there will be partial time for pre-k students and early dismissal for kindergarten students, but not for those within District 75 special education.

The first full day for non-District 75 kindergarten students will be Friday, September 7, and for pre-kindergarten students, on Monday, September 10.

According to the City Department of Education, last year, 205,582 students were registered in schools throughout the borough.

With nine new charter schools opening in the borough, overcrowded classrooms could be eased somewhat, though many parents complain the charter schools take away resources from public schools, many of the charter schools sharing space in the same buildings.

With whatever changes this school year will bring, it appears that many of the borough’s schools slated for the turnaround program, wil remain the same after the city was rebuffed by court rulings.

Lehman High School in Westchester Square and Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical at 455 Southern Boulevard, along with eight middle schools, will remain open with the same name and same teachers and will not “turnaround,” since two judges upheld an arbitrators decision in a lawsuit filed by the Council of Supervisors and Administrators and the United Federation of Teachers to block the DOE’s plans for the schools.

On July 24, a state Supreme Court judge upheld an earlier ruling that would block Mayor Bloomberg and the school’s Chancellor Dennis Walcott’s plans.

The Department of Education has appealed the decision, but no decision has yet been made because the appellate court does not meet in the summer, said DOE spokeswoman Connie Pankratz. She said that the schools will open in September with their original names.

The office of Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has issued a “Back to School” guide, containing helpful tips for parents regarding the upcoming school year.

Updated 8:59 am, September 5, 2012
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