By Tenicka Boyd, the senior director of organizing at StudentsFirstNY and the parent of a public school student.
To hear Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña during their recent victory tour, you’d think New York City schools are amongst the best in the world.
The mayor claimed that “something really wonderful has happened,” that the city’s schools are “setting a standard of excellence” and that he was “just thrilled to see progress across the board.” But state test scores at so-called “Renewal Schools” – some of the city’s lowest performing schools – have grown just five points in reading. That sounds pretty good until you realize that the tests and testing conditions changed and that roughly 9 out of 10 students in these schools still failed. Math scores barely budged. It’s also concerning that the number of test takers at Renewal Schools this year was inexplicably down 10 percent from last year – did the city move students who were less likely to test well? Why is the mayor applauding such failure? Instead of a media tour to try to boost his sagging approval ratings, the mayor might want to try focusing on actually improving outcomes for kids. For the public school parents I work with every day, these minor improvements are nothing to celebrate.
Read the full oped in City & State.