Principal responds to Millennium Brooklyn ProposalMonday, December 06, 2010 By Jill Bloomberg, Principal of SSFR
In the Fall of 2011, the DOE has plans to open a new school in the John Jay building. This school, called Millennium II (M2) in the hope that it will replicate the popularity of Millennium High School in Manhattan, will serve only students with scores of 3 or 4 on the 7th grade state ELA and Math exams. According to the DOE website, Brooklyn already has 33 high schools with screened admissions policies and 2 high schools who base admissions on the Specialized High School exam. Millennium High School in Manhattan also gives preference to students who live within the zip codes surrounding the school. It is unclear if M2 will replicate this admissions policy. Even though there is no shortage of HS seats in Brooklyn (see EIS), the DOE is responding to demands from parents in Brooklyn who want another choice in addition to the 35 schools mentioned above including the three schools currently housed in the John Jay building. Resources within the DOE are limited and our school, The Secondary School for Research, has been fighting for equitable funding for at least seven years. The DOE policy — Fair Student Funding — was supposed to equalize the financial resources across schools, but our school has never received the funds that schools with similar populations are receiving. Furthermore, the DOE has cut the budgets of all schools across the city in order to balance its budget that includes over $2 billion dollars a year in interest payments to banks. In spite of these cutbacks every year more of our students graduate and go on to success in college. Our school building is old and in terrible disrepair. Many classrooms have no more than one electrical outlet. The heat is either unbearably strong in some rooms or seemingly nonexistent in others. The water fountains never have cold water and the plumbing in the bathrooms often fails. But in spite of these conditions, students and teachers proudly display work on classroom and hallway bulletin boards. Every morning students must line up, remove their belts and jewelry and pass through metal detectors before we allow you to learn. I have always opposed metal detectors in our school because I find them insulting to you. I believe that the students in our school and in the other schools in our building deserve the very best. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect; you deserve to learn in classrooms equipped to meet your needs and with clean and adequate facilities. Rather than devote its limited resources to the students in our schools, the DOE is investing in new schools all over the city. These new schools all receive additional funds that existing schools do not receive. Millennium II will bring needed funds to our building but it won’t be enough to remedy all the disrepair and it won’t make up for the years of neglect. Millennium II may bring about the removal of scanning from our building. I will celebrate. But removing it now after seven years of refusing to do so only highlights the fact the DOE doesn’t view the students currently in the building with the same respect and expectations as it does the students expected to attend M2.