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Mayor de Blasio's Three-Year Delay Hurts Kids

Imposing a three-year moratorium on closures and adding social services to 5% of schools will not bring about the kind of scalable, system-wide changes parents and advocates are desperately hoping for.

Social Services for 5% of schools, restoring learning time taken away by new UFT contract for some, doesn't address crisis

Imposing a three-year moratorium on closures and adding social services to 5% of schools will not bring about the kind of scalable, system-wide changes parents and advocates are desperately hoping for. When 70% of children are not meeting standards, any effort that does not include changes to leadership, staffing and work rules is woefully inadequate.  Yet again we're hearing feel-good rhetoric, vague goals, and delay tactics.  Meanwhile, there are children trapped in failing schools who don't have three years to wait.

Background:

  • Kids can't wait three years: Goals for school turnarounds span three years, with no plan to take bold action until 2017.
    • Year One ('14-'15): Each school must develop a school renewal plan

    • Year Two ('15-'16): Each school must meet unspecified "concrete milestones" and improve attendance and teacher retention

    • Year Three ('16-'17): Each school must demonstrate improvement in academic achievement, and only then may they face leadership and faculty changes

  • The School Renewal Program is largely a repackaging of small-scale existing initiatives or limited givebacks of what was previously in place:
    • It will include 94 schools, including the 23 schools in the School Achievement Initiative announced in September.

    • The Department will put $150 million towards these schools, $52 million of which was already announced as part of the community schools initiative.

    • Additional money will help fund an hour of extended school day, giving back to these 94 schools the instructional time taken away from all schools by new UFT contract.

  • Mayor de Blasio failed to mention specific structural changesthat would ensure "no bad schools" like Boys and Girls High School and Automotive High School, despite the availability of a research-backed blueprint for successful school turnaround.

    • Principals will not be able to choose his assistant principals without interference from the principals union.

    • Principals will not have freedom to reconstitute the teaching staff, which would allow for a fresh start and a new culture.

    • Principals are unable to offer pay incentives to recruit highly effective teachers.

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