Wednesday, May 18, 2016
NYC KidsPAC Report Card for Mayor de Blasio
See the NYC Kids PAC press release below the report card. Please leave your comments if you agree or disagree with our assessment! Reposted from NYC Kids PAC website here.
DeBlasio's Ed Report Card 2016 Final by Leonie Haimson
For immediate release: May 18, 2016
Contact: Shino Tanikawa, 917-770-8438, firstname.lastname@example.org
Leonie Haimson, 917-435-9329, email@example.com
NYC Kids PAC Issue Education Report Card for Mayor de Blasio
Today, NYC Kids PAC released their second annual report card on Mayor de Blasio, grading him in several education categories based primarily on whether he has followed up on his campaign promises. The report card is posted here: http://tinyurl.com/huu57xa
It has been more than two years since Bill de Blasio became Mayor, and Carmen Fariña was appointed Chancellor. The good news is that the Mayor has restored the district structure, increased funding for the arts, rescinded the ban on cellphones, and imposed a moratorium on closing schools, though the moratorium has now ended. He has also begun to reform school discipline, without providing sufficient resources or staff to ensure a positive school climate.
The members of NYC Kids PAC include four sitting Presidents of Citywide and Community Education Councils, three past presidents of CECs, and one member of the Panel for Educational Policy. Though these individuals would like to make it clear that they speak for themselves and not on behalf of their organizations, they have deep experience of how the current governance system and policies work, or do not work, for parents, students and schools.
The report card exhibits particular disappointment with the lack of parent input at the school, district and citywide levels. Citywide and Community Education Councils remain largely disempowered, with little or no say as to co-locations and space planning, and the DOE has argued in court that School Leadership Teams have only advisory powers, in an effort to keep their meetings closed to the public. School overcrowding and class size also continue to be major concerns.
Naila Rosario, President of the CEC in District 15 in Brooklyn, explained: “As a parent in one of the most overcrowded districts in the city, I am disappointed by the Mayor’s response. Our district, which is economically and culturally diverse, has experienced enormous growth as gentrification and immigration have expanded. Families are anxious as they wonder where their children will attend school, because enrollment is capped at their neighborhood schools. Students are crammed into overcrowded classrooms year after year, and we have experienced the stress of losing space for specialists, interventions and even lunch. We urge this administration to show leadership and to press for expedited, responsible approval and construction of new schools.”
Gloria Corsino, President of the Citywide Council for District 75, says: "As a public school parent and committed advocate for all children and children with special needs, I remain hopeful that the campaign promises that Mayor De Blasio's made continue to move in the direction that they were stated. I look forward to the growing relationships of CEC's and Citywide Councils with the DOE and becoming more than simply advisory boards, as parents are huge stakeholders in the education of their children.”
Eduardo Hernandez, President of the CEC in District 8 in the Bronx adds, “Although this new administration has taken some strides toward engaging parents and addressing their concerns, most of the time this engagement is simply done to fulfill regulations and mandates. Parents are still dealing with some of the same issues that have been plaguing our school system for years, like overcrowded classes, student enrollment, and lack of diversity, just to name a few."
“Parents are disappointed that specific promises de Blasio made during his campaign to reduce class size have not been fulfilled, especially considering that this is their top priority for their schools, according to DOE’s own surveys. In addition, transparency and accountability in spending has not improved, and large contracts with vendors who have engaged in fraud and other questionable activities continue to be pushed through and approved by the Panel for Educational Policy,” points out Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters.
Shino Tanikawa, President of NYC Kids PAC as well as the CEC 2 in Manhattan and co-chair of the Blue Book Working Group concludes, “While we recognize Mayor de Blasio and his administration have made some improvements, we want to remind him of the unmet promises he made during his campaign. We hope this report card will motivate him to review his campaign promises and implement more of them in the coming year.”