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SFNY Report Finds Mayor de Blasio's PROSE Program Lacks Results and Promised Innovations

New York, NY – Leading education reform organization StudentsFirstNY released a report today analyzing Mayor de Blasio’s Progressive Redesign Opportunity for Excellence (PROSE) program which he promised would be the union-backed answer to charter schools. In 2015, Mayor de Blasio boasted, "This is going to be a national model for reform, and one that I think is going to bear fruit very quickly."

Unfortunately for New York City students, a close examination of the program shows that PROSE is neither a national model for reform, nor one that has borne fruit. 

“Despite the rhetoric from Mayor de Blasio, it’s clear that PROSE schools are not as effective as the charters they seek to emulate,” said Jenny Sedlis, Executive Director of StudentsFirstNY. “PROSE was billed as the union’s answer to charter schools, but by definition, real innovation means challenging the status quo – something this Mayor is incapable of doing.”

Among the main findings are:

  • Limited Innovation: A small fraction of the PROSE schools adopted charter best practices or any practices that could be called innovative.
  • Lackluster Improvement: Performance at PROSE schools has been a disappointment:
    • Elementary and middle schools in the PROSE program had lower ELA and math proficiency scores when compared to other city elementary and middle schools that were not in the PROSE program.
    • In PROSE schools, ELA proficiency grew by 28% from 2014 to 2016, while charter schools nearly doubled those results, improving by 53%.
    • In PROSE schools, math proficiency declined by 2%, while charters saw an 11% increase.
    • Lack of Transparency: It took DOE 14 months to respond to a FOIL request with 1/6 of the information requested.

As state lawmakers consider the future of mayoral control of New York City public schools, Mayor de Blasio must embrace real innovation at the schools he runs and stop obstructing the growth of charter schools that have consistently produced results for students. 

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StudentsFirstNY is a grassroots education advocacy organization dedicated to improving public school options throughout New York State.

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