Canarsie H.S. Added To State's Poor Academic Record List
By Neil S. Friedman
Canarsie High School was one of nine city public schools added to the state's list for academic failure and in serious need of improvement last week, just three years after being placed on the New York City's Department of Education's Impact Schools list due to a poor safety record.
State Education Commissioner Rich-ard Mills announced last Thursday that Canarsie High School, was one of two Brooklyn schools - the other being I.S. 246 in District 17 - added to the SURR (Schools Under Registration Review) list.
David Harris, who has been the principal at Canarsie High School for over two years, said there was more to the school being added to the SURR list than meets the eye.
"…since I have been principal, the test scores and graduation rate have improved. We are on the list because of past difficulties before I took over when students did not have the academic foundation that was needed to be successful because of ongoing problems at the school."
One educator at the school, who asked not to be identified, said, "It's unfair. They're looking at numbers, but not the type of kids and how many we have. We keep getting new students, we're overburdened and it's hard to deal with problems."
Academic problems and violence at the school may have worsened, according to The New York Times, as students from lower performing schools that were closed were transferred to Canarsie High School.
Canarsie High School was nearly overshadowed in the announcement because despite the additional $40 million the DOE has spent on grades six through eight over the last two years, the city's troubled middle schools again drew attention to continuing failure, which have lately been in the spotlight due to low sixth grade state test scores.
Nevertheless, the secondary school at 1600 Rockaway Parkway, is now one of 35 city schools in danger of closing if it does not reach specific state-mandated academic performance targets. Canarsie High School is currently the only school in District 18 on the SURR list. Six city schools were removed from the list.
Mills said, "We will provide help and support for the designated schools and require fundamental restructuring if there is no progress…"
According to the State Education Department, since 1989, 295 schools statewide have been identified for registration review. Of those, 198 im-proved enough to be removed because of improved academic performance, however 55 have been closed. More city schools could be in jeopardy next year as Governor Spitzer plans to toughen academic standards for public schools
Brittni Kanhai contributed to this story.