It’s early in the school year, but there have been several disquieting incidents that might foreshadow a difficult year for local schools. Just last week, John Quattrocchi, the long-time principal of PS/MS 43 on Beach 28 Street was removed from his school, “under investigation” by the Department of Education. While the DOE won’t say what his removal is about, it is clear that his removal is serious business. Two days later, an aide and a school security officer were taken to the hospital after an altercation with a student’s family member at PS 105 in Edgemere. A group of parents at PS 42 in Arverne have called for the DOE to phase out the school and reorganize it with a different administration and staff. Nearly every school in Rockaway, with the exception of the Scholars’ Academy and PS 114 have seen their standardized test scores drop precipitously after the state’s Department of Education decided to set cut scores for the tests more realistically. And, the DOE, after rating nearly 84 percent of the city’s school as either anAor a B on last year’s school report cards – something that everybody knew was a joke – will issue this year’s report cards sometime this week, limiting the drop that schools will face by setting a quota system. For example, of the 84 percent of the schools that got an A last year, none can get less than a C this year, no matter how badly they have done. The 13 percent of the schools that got a B last year will receive no lower than a D. In addition, only 15 percent of the city’s schools can receive either a D or F grade.
Congressman Anthony Weiner’s announcement that he and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are in face-toface talks over the resumption of a commuter ferry service from Rockaway to Manhattan is good news to those who used the former, discontinued Rockaway Princess boat each day. Weiner came to The Wave office to say that he has two imperatives for the new service – speed and cost. The aim, he said, is to take people out of their cars and put them on the ferry. He wants a boat that will not take more than 45 minutes to get from Rockaway to Manhattan and one that costs no more than the express bus service. The time factor, however, will not allow for the ferry to make more stops east of Riis Landing, and we believe that will doom any new service to failure.
The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) estimates that 120,000 viewers watched “The Bungalows of Rockaway” on Channel 13 on September 16, making it that day’s most-watched show. The well-done documentary on the rise and fall of the bungalows featured lots of period photos and movie footage as well as interviews with people who were there, including Wave editor Howard Schwach. By the way, if you’re watching the HBO mini-series “Boardwalk Empire,” you will see many of the Rockaways bungalows around Beach 26 Street, which were used as a set for the mini-series. There are no more bungalows such as those in Atlantic City, which is where the series is supposed to be set.
Some residents of Breezy Point are angered that the city has put out a bicycle lane map that includes roads in the gated community. “The bike-riding public has the right to use the main road,” one resident wrote to the Pointer. “But the bike riders have to get permission to enter into our private land. Many come in, even though they are not invited and not wanted.” Seems that the school security agents at PS 43 did not escort Principal John Quattrocchi out of the building after he was suspended pending investigation by the Department of Education. “We weren’t even in the building,” one of the agents, who asked not to be identified, told The Wave this week. “We didn’t know about it until [District Superintendent Michelle]Lloyd-Bay called a meeting and told the staff that he had been removed.” Both the NYPD and DOE confirmed his removal by the SSA’s, however.