City Readies To Replace Paul Robeson With New IBM School
One of the schools slated to close is Paul Robeson High School in Brooklyn. And, as NY1’s Brooklyn reporter Jeanine Ramirez explains in the following report, future plans for that school building are already in place.
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As Paul Robeson High School staff and students prepare to be phased out, education officials plan on bringing in technology giant IBM for a new school startup. It would be the first of its kind in the country – a public high school offering a six-year program where students graduate with an associate degree in Information Technology.
"All students will learn the traditional core subjects, but they'll also receive an education in computer science and complete two years of college work,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last year.
The school would open this fall with just a freshman class -- gradually welcoming more students over the next six years. Students from across the city would be able to apply.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is expected to talk more about the new school in his State of the Borough address Thursday night, including the funds he's committing to help get the project underway. He'll be joined by an IBM executive. The corporation is not only underwriting the school, it's also expected to hire its graduates.
"When they graduate from grade 14 with an Associate’s Degree and a qualified record, they will be guaranteed a job with IBM,” said the mayor.
The City University of New York will be brought in to help implement the college aspect of the school, with the academic program being designed by City Tech.
But those who have fought to save Robeson High School say it's not fair for the Department of Education to put resources and effort toward a new school while shutting theirs down.
"Why close it down? We already have our computer labs. We have more than two computer labs on each floor,” said student Nijel Hill. “So there's no excuse to close down the school to bring in another technology school."
"It's really upsetting to think that the legacy of Paul Robeson, an amazing African American who needs to be recognized even more, that that building would now be associated with IBM,” said teacher Stefanie Siegel.
And even those who support corporate America taking a role in public education say not at the expense of what's already there.
"I like the idea of a technology school. I don't think you have to close Paul Robeson to bring that into play,” said Brooklyn City Councilman Al Vann.
Students will be able to find out about the IBM partner school, and other options for the fall, at the DOE's new schools fair on February 12th and 13th.