Sunday, March 17, 2019

Aimee Horowitz, former head of Renewal schools, now working at a charter school chain

Aimee Horowitz, who formerly ran the mostly ineffective Renewal school program under Chancellor Farina and resigned from that post a year ago, is now a Senior Education Specialist with Integration Charter Schools.  Horowitz was a favorite of Carmen Farina's and was said to have transitioned into helping co-located schools improve their collaboration, but this is position is not mentioned in her LinkedIn profile.

Ironically, Integration Charter Schools, based on Staten Island,  boasts in their teacher recruitment materials how class sizes are capped at 18 students:

In November 2015, when she ran the Renewal school program ,  I asked Horowitz about whether they had reduced class size in the Renewal schools as the DOE had repeatedly promised parents and the state:

The City Hall briefing consisted of a long power point from Aimee Horowitz, the Executive Superintendent of the Renewal school program and Chris Caruso, Executive Director of Community Schools.  For more than an hour we listened to all the various programs and services that are planned, with no mention of reducing class size in either presentation.

Finally I got a chance to speak.  I asked Ms. Horowitz: "In which renewal schools are class sizes reduced this fall, to what levels, what resources and strategies are being used, and how was the list of schools selected?"  

My question followed from the DOE claim to the state  last December and again this fall, in their Contract for Excellence presentations, that they would be focusing their "Class Size Reduction planning efforts on the School Renewal Program."   This was a repeat of questions that CEC members and I have been asking DOE officials for months; without any response. We already have heard of several Renewal schools this year where class sizes have risen to 27 students per class in Kindergarten, 31 in 1st grade and 35 or more students in high school. 

Ms. Horowitz replied that there was no separate list of Renewal schools slated for class size reduction, and that all 94 schools were expected to lower class size by use of their increased Fair Student funding and help with "programming." When I asked if that meant we should see smaller classes in all of these schools when the data is released on Monday, she nodded yes, but then said "proper class sizes."  I followed up with an email asking her what  she means by "proper class sizes", but I am not hopeful of a substantive reply.

Of course, she never did reply and most of the Renewal schools never did lower class size (though those that did were more likely to succeed.)

Now that she has entered the charter school world, perhaps she is more interested in what proper class sizes for NYC students might be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The renewal program was a complete waste of money, resources, labor and was a total violation of public trust. Eric Chasanoff wrote a blog entry back in 2015 on how the renewal program was destined to fail even before it officially took flight: Everything that he identified as was wrong with the renewal program came true as was painfully obvious from the get-go. Aimee Horowitz herself is a corrupt piece of garbage who is a complete waste of resources. Her recent departure of the city schools is a reminder of her futility and for the ineffectiveness of the programs that she oversaw.