April 17 (Bloomberg) -- New York City plans to open 54 new schools serving 21,000 students, including an academy of software engineering for grades nine through 12, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
The institutions, which will open in September, will bring to 589 the number of schools the Bloomberg administration has created since 2002, the mayor’s office said in a news release. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and the mayor cited parent surveys and test scores to assert that new schools perform better than those that they replace.
“New schools have changed thousands of lives in New York City for the better, helping more students graduate and prepare for college and careers,” Walcott said in a statement before a news conference at Washington Irving High School near Manhattan’s Union Square.
Washington Irving is the site of the future software and engineering school, which will offer career-oriented classes in programming and business.
Support for education in applied sciences is part of Bloomberg’s strategy to make the city economy less reliant on Wall Street. In December, the mayor announced the city would provide free land and about $100 million in infrastructure support to Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology for a 2 million-square-foot applied science and engineering campus on Roosevelt Island.
The new-school announcements comes as the administration faces protests by some parents and the United Federation of Teachers over plans to close at least 25 struggling schools, and fire as many as half the teachers who worked in them.
Thirty of the new schools will be run by the district and 24 are charters, which are public institutions that operate independently. The new schools will serve all grades, from kindergarten through high school, the mayor’s office said.
The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
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