2006_12_lafayette.jpgThe Department of Education will start to close five struggling high schools beginning next September. The schools are Urban Peace Academy and School for the Physical City in Manhattan and Samuel J. Tilden, South Shore, and the embattled Lafayette in Brooklyn. The DOE attributed the closings to, as the Daily News put it, "dismal graduation rates, consistently low test scores and lackluster demand."

The NY Times notes that four of the high schools were "run by principals who graduated from the New York City Leadership Academy," Mayor Bloomberg's brainchild; the DOE's line is "despite those principals’ best efforts, their schools had proved unsalvageable." That may be, but Lafayette High School's principal, Joalanta Rohloff seemed a magnet for controversy: She has been accused of bribing teachers into decorating their classrooms, she's withheld textbooks until old ones are returned, and, most recently, questioning why a 20 year old special ed student would want to go to community college. But the school has also been plagued with violence. United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten tells the Daily News, "It is no secret that there have been problems at Lafayette, so its closing is not surprising. As to Lafayette, we are working with the DOE to create a redesigned school - and potentially two new schools - that parents will want to send their children to and where educators will want to teach."

New plans for the schools will be released next year. And Lafayette has the most baseball players as alumni - including Sandy Koufax and John Franco; other notable alums include Gary David Goldberg, Paul Sorvino and Larry King.