New York, NY – More than 200 parents and students gathered on the steps of City Hall today to demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio respond to the Freedom of Information requests that StudentsFirstNY has filed on their behalf. The average FOIL request from these parents has been kicked back 16 times. Parents feel their requests for information have been deflected, dodged and denied and they are giving the Mayor a grade of “F” on transparency.
“Why should parents have to wait for nearly two years to find out whether ineffective teachers are being sent back into their child’s school or whether promised staffing changes were made?” said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis. “Mayor de Blasio is a hypocrite who demanded transparency as Public Advocate and hides the truth as Mayor.”
In 2013, then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio released a “Transparency Report” grading the Department of Education with a “D” saying, “The City is inviting waste and corruption by blocking information that belongs to the public… We have to start holding government accountable when it refuses to turn over public records to citizens and taxpayers.”
“We had a teacher misconduct issue in my kids’ school and I want information on how the City is handling these types of cases,” said P.S. 256 parent Nicole Thomas. “I can only assume Mayor de Blasio is trying to hide something from parents.”
“Mayor de Blasio promised to bring real change to my struggling high school and so we asked for information to find out what was actually happening.” Said recent Automotive High School graduate Brandon Mangaroo. “I’m stuck with a diploma that didn’t prepare me for college and I had to get a job to pay for the remedial courses I need to get back on track.”
“It’s disrespectful to parents to make us wait so long for basic information,” said Darlene Boston a parent of Boys and Girls High School graduates and an organizing manager for StudentsFirstNY. “Mayor de Blasio wants mayoral control renewed but he doesn’t want any of the accountability that comes with it.”
Parents submitted a letter to the Mayor demanding he turn over these public records.