Accountability · Blog

What the Heck is Happening With Mayor de Blasio’s Renewal School Program?

Nothing good. For starters, see this statement from StudentsFirstNY,  “Mayor de Blasio’s Renewal Announcement Too Little, Too Late,” printed below. Also see the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The 74, and Politico. For NYST coverage, see here, here, here,  and here

From StudentsFirstNY:

“Mayor de Blasio’s expensive school turnaround model has failed miserably and kids have suffered. After four years, the Mayor is now shuffling students and teachers out of his failed program but he’s doing nothing to create new opportunities for kids who need them. This is too little, too late. When Mayor Bloomberg closed schools, he opened new, better ones. Mayor de Blasio only learned half the lesson — he should be supporting the creation of new small schools and charters rather than doubling down on the failed and expensive renewal model. When only 21 out of 94 schools have made even modest progress in four years, Mayor de Blasio must admit the complete failure of his renewal program and pursue proven strategies.” Jenny Sedlis, Executive Director of StudentsFirstNY

Mayor de Blasio is Still Keeping Low-Performing Schools Open

Many renewal schools remaining open are still failing to serve children effectively:

  • PS 165 Ida Posner – Just 9% of students are proficient in math and enrollment has dropped by 51%
  • PS 112 Bronxwood – 7% of students ELA proficient, the same as when the school entered the program.
  • MS 301 – Fewer than 10% of students passed reading or math exams for each of the last four years (7% ELA & 5% Math in 2017.)
  • Fannie Lou Hamer MS – math scores dropped every year over the last four years but is remaining open.

Over the four years in the program, renewal school enrollment dropped by 26%.

De Blasio is also merging two schools that both have showed little improvement

  • Graduation rate at Longwood Preparatory Academy has improved minimally since it entered the program (40% in 2014 to 50% in 2017), while enrollment declined by 53%.
  • Graduation rate at Holcombe L. Rucker School of Community Research is just 55%, with enrollment declining by 41%.

Mayor de Blasio’s “Rise Schools” Reward Continued Failure:

  • 78% of the students at these schools are not proficient in reading
  • 84% of students are not proficient in math
  • Enrollment has dropped at all but three “Rise Schools”

Mayor de Blasio Should Learn from Mayor Bloomberg’s Successes:

  • This Research Alliance study shows the benefits of Bloomberg administration school closures.
  • The MDRC found the new small schools that replaced closed ones increased grad rates for students of color, increased college attendance, and cost less per graduate.
  • The CREDO study out of Stanford found on average charter students in NYC gain an additional 23 days of learning in reading and 63 days in math over their district school peers.

This Action Will Add to ATR Pool and Put More Students At Risk

  • Due to principal pushback or the poor quality of the teaching pool, the DOE was only able to place 41 of the 1202 ATR teachers. This action will add to the size of the pool and the DOE still has no strategy to decrease the size without forced placement.
  • 411 teachers from these renewal schools may return to the ATR and be candidates for forced placement. At some point the City must stop the dance of the lemons.

Or, as the Daily News Editorial Board puts it,, “De Blasio and Fariña say 2018, year four, will bring far bigger gains. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time.”

What do you think?

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