I got to talk for a moment with Lizabeth Cooper, a student at Paul Robeson HS in Crown Heights, Brooklyn a student (non-voting) member of the Panel for Education Policy. She was about to enter the meeting where 10 schools would, like hers did two days prior, be voted to close or phase out. This is what she had to say about the process:
Justin: Alright so, Lizzy, what brings you here to Brooklyn tech tonight?
Lizzy: I’m here at Brooklyn Tech tonight to sit on the PEP – Panel for Educational Policy. My name is Lizabeth Cooper and I go to Paul Robeson HS and I’m also a student representative on the PEP for all Brooklyn High Schools.
Justin: …and Paul Robeson is one of the schools this week that’s proposed to be closed. Correct?
Lizzy: Yes, Paul Robeson was proposed to be phased out or closed. Basically, they chose to phase it out and put a IBM school in it
while we’re still in the school. So we’re being phased out year by year, and then sooner or later it’s just gonna be that school.
Justin: …and do you agree with the decision that the PEP made on Tuesday?
Lizzy: I actually disagree with it just because of the betterment of the students. I feel that this decision that the PEP made for this school is not for the betterment of the students. Why I say this is because me, as a student, at Paul Robeson HS at Paul Robeson HS, next year I’m gonna see this new school in it and quality teachers and just… our schools that’s left in there phasing out years to come, it’s just not gonna be what it is I mean, every year, those students are just not gonna have the same resources, not the same opportunities that I received like, I’m on the PEP, and those students they’re not gonna be able to get everything that I did – or quality resources that I have received, I guess.
Justin: …and how long has this process of closing your school been going on and do you think it was done fairly or correctly?
Lizzy: The process of the phase out of my school I feel that it has not been fair or correct and this has been going on- this is the second year that they have tried to phase us out last year, they tried to phase us out and it didn’t work because they did things illegally and, this year, to come, my school’s still is fighting. They’re gonna take the DOE to court, and they’re gonna try to still fight for our school. So, they fight’s not over.
Justin: Wow, so good luck. Thank you!
Lizzy: Thank you so much.
Recorded at Brooklyn Technical HS in Brooklyn, Thurs., Feb. 3, 2011
Video c/o www.hancockproductions.com