A new analysis released by leading education reform organization StudentsFirstNY finds that Mayor Bill de Blasio has done little to improve New York City public schools since he took control in January 2014. StudentsFirstNY intends to track and assess the Mayor’s proposals and hold him accountable to the parents and students of New York City.
Last year, the Mayor agreed to a new contract with the United Federation of Teachers — a sweetheart deal for the union that has repeatedly and negatively influenced education policy thereafter. Mayor de Blasio has offered a number of proposals with great fanfare, but so far his policies have failed to deliver real results.
Teacher Quality- The issue most directly linked to improving education, Mayor de Blasio’s agenda fails to directly address it and does nothing to remove poor teachers from the classroom.
Charter Schools- Despite their record of success in lifting student achievement and reducing education inequality, Mayor de Blasio refuses to embrace charter schools.
PROSE- The program is supposed to allow schools to experiment outside bureaucratic restrictions and the labor contract, but all plans must have teachers and principals unions’ approval and meaningful changes remain unseen.
School Renewal – The Mayor allocated more than $150 million to help 94 failing city schools, but key elements are still not implemented due to lack of approval from unions.
Community Schools- The Mayor has called for creating 130 such schools, which are supposed to bring social services and community engagement to schools, but the policy fails to address teacher and instructional quality.
School Mergers- The Mayor’s policy would consolidate up to a dozen small schools into larger schools before the 2015-16 school year, but evidence shows that small schools have higher graduation rates and college enrollment.
School Quality Reports- The Department of Education eliminated A-F grade reports, and replaced them with qualitative reports, which are less transparent and less rigorous.
“Mayor de Blasio claims he wants to turn around struggling schools and end education inequality in New York City, but after 18 months in office he has little to show for it,” said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis. “The progress for schools under Mayor de Blasio’s watch is not where it needs to be. There is a lot of lofty rhetoric, but the results are lacking. We hope that he will use his control of the school system to shift his focus to policies that have a clear track record of improving outcomes for students.”