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[Susan notes: 3 cheers for this letter, revealing the cynicism of the New York leaders--and the tragic consequences for young people.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Re "Help Centers for Dropouts Are Closed" (news article, Sept. 30):

The notion that closing the G.E.D.-preparation centers will stimulate students to continue with credit-bearing courses leading to a dead end defies all logic. The result of this move will be thousands of would-be students aimlessly killing time until, at age 21, they can finally register for G.E.D. preparation.

While closing the centers is a novel way of dealing with school overcrowding, it is terrible public policy for a generation of high school-age students, hitting hardest those with whom New York schooling has done its worst. Even more distressing is that the Department of Education made the change in the dead of night, with absolutely no public input.

The writer was superintendent of the New York City Board of Education's Alternative High Schools and Programs from 1982 to 1997.

Stephen E. Phillips

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