Senator Stavisky, Assemblywoman Meng, Councilman Koo, Flushing High School community discuss plans for the school
On January 21, 2010, the State Education Department released its list of 57 “persistently lowest achieving” schools eligible for new funding for turnaround programs. Flushing High School was on the list. Its inclusion is troubling because in the last seven years Flushing High School has significantly improved its graduation rate, going from 39 percent in 2002 to 58 percent last year – almost a 50 percent improvement.
Queens is probably the most diverse county in the United States, and Flushing High School has played an important role in welcoming and educating many students who are English Language Learners. With one of the highest populations of non-native English speakers, the fact Flushing High School’s graduation rate has steadily improved is remarkable.
Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, Assemblywoman Grace Meng and Councilman Peter Koo convened a meeting with Flushing High School Principal Cornelia Gutwein and school faculty and staff to discuss how they can enhance their commitment to work together to keep the school open in its current form and to let the community know about their programs.
Sen. Stavisky said, “Flushing High School is a unique learning community that offers a wide variety of options for every student. Programs range from a law academy and music theory to environmental science and a four-year business program that epitomizes the spirit of Flushing with its motto, ‘learning locally, interacting globally.’ On behalf of the parents, students, faculty and staff of Flushing High School we are committed to working with the New York State Department of Education to ensure Flushing High School’s continued success in educating our community’s diverse students.”
Assemblywoman Grace Meng stated, "I have been carefully monitoring the Department of Education's plans to close borough schools, especially in the cases of Jamaica High School, and more currently Flushing High. I feel strongly that the measurements being utilized in the determination of closures are seriously flawed. When the parameters of measurement are invalid, the conclusions have no justification. I strongly support the lawsuit by the UFT and the NAACP. It is sad that a lawsuit is needed in order for our children to be heard."
City Councilman Peter Koo said, "We are here today to show our support for Flushing High School. Personally I want to offer my assistance to work with all to ensure this school performs, educates and prepares our young adults for a bright future. All schools have problems as does Flushing High School. So let's analyze the problem, put together an innovative and creative team of professionals and develop a plan to assist our students and allow them to achieve."