Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rant #401: Gone, Gone, Gone

Well, another relic from my childhood is evidently on line to go up in smoke soon.

Not really in flames, but you will see what I mean as you continue to read this.

My old public school, P.S. 30, Rochdale Village, South Jamaica, Queens, New York, has been put on the list as a school that might be closed by the New York City Board of Education soon. Evidently, it has fallen on very hard times, and its academic and disciplinary performance have fallen as a result.

New York City has been closing schools for years, many in minority areas such as the one that P.S. 30 resides in.

Under the current city administration, if a school doesn't meet certain standards, it is earmarked for closure. It doesn't matter what it did in the past. Its current record is all that counts, and evidently, P.S. 30's current record stinks.

But I remember P.S. 30 when it was a brand new school in a brand new neighborhood, a mixed-race school in a brand new mixed-race neighborhood that had all the promise that any new school in New York City in the 1960s had.

There were three schools in the Rochdale Village development: P.S. 30, P.S. 80, and I.S. 72. P.S. 30 was, by far, the best school of the three.

All the schools had dedicated teachers and students who generally wanted to learn. But P.S. 30, being the first of the three schools to be built, was something special. It was the educational backbone of this new community, and it served its community well during those early years.

Prior to the school being built, we had temporary classrooms, some within the massive apartment buildings themselves. It was a pain to go to second grade in those classrooms, but all we had to do was count the days, and our brand spanking new school would be open.

We had such wonder during those days, but 46 years later, it looks like it is crumbling.

And it isn't the only school that is falling down in New York City.

Dozen of schools in New York City have been earmarked for closure. What this generally means, and will probably mean in P.S. 30's case if this plan goes through, is that the kids already in the school will continue to be taught, but no new students will be accepted. Once the final class graduates, the school is turned into an annex school, where various pods of learning, featuring specialized guidance, are created.

I know that the school and the area are not what they once were, but how I hope that P.S. 30 can remain open as it has always been! It wasn't my first public school--before we moved to Rochdale, I went to Flushing, Queens' P.S. 165, a school that is decades older than P.S. 30 but remains open and viable--but P.S. 30 is where I have many of my earliest school memories.

Miss Marlowe, Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Plevin, Mr. Borgstead ... gosh, I even remember my teachers!

Whether open or closed, I will always remember that school. I wish it the best.


  1. I have copied and pasted your rant into our blog. If you are able to come to the hearing on Saturday and bring other alumni of P.S. 30, it would really help.

    It's not a done deal unless New Yorkers decide to give up on the tradition of public education and turn over the real estate and tax money to private corporations.



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