Press Release 3.18


Contact: Families for Excellent Schools –
Khan Shoieb, [email protected] (646) 650-5503


New Analysis Identifies Five Factors, Ranging from Bureaucratic Regulations to Copycat “Chancellor’s District” Tactics, that Hamper Turnaround of New York City’s Worst Schools

Bold, Structural Change Required to Fix New York City’s Failing Schools Crisis

NEW YORK, NY — A new report released by Families for Excellent Schools Wednesday afternoon identifies five factors pointing to the likely failure of Mayor de Blasio’s Renewal Schools program to turn around 94 low-performing schools in three years, increasing the pressure on Albany lawmakers for urgent action to fix a failing schools crisis.

The report, “Bureaucracy Beyond Repair: Five Reasons Why Mayor de Blasio’s ‘Renewal Schools’ Program is a Failed Strategy,” analyzes the Renewal Schools program and finds substantial similarities with the Chancellor’s District, which also failed to turn around dozens of schools in the mid-1990s. Like the Chancellor’s District, the Renewal Schools program is limited in scope and substance, grouping together low-performing schools and relying on a broken system for change. The Renewal Schools program dumps resources into a small number of schools without the requisite accountability, flexibility, and higher standards to actually boost academic achievement, all while ignoring hundreds of other low-performing schools.

Without the necessary reforms to improve student learning, the core problems that drive New York City’s failing schools crisis will continue unabated. Currently, 143,000 children in 371 severely failing schools in New York City are suffering from the consequences of a broken system.

“New Yorkers have seen this script before. Like many a program before it that relies on a failed bureaucracy, the Renewal Schools program won’t be enough to fix our schools crisis,” said Jeremiah Kittredge, CEO of Families for Excellent Schools. “The 143,000 children in failing schools deserve bolder action today.”

Key Reasons Why Mayor de Blasio’s Renewal Schools Program Likely to Fail:

  • New York City has tried a similar approach before with the Chancellor’s District, nearly two decades ago. The Chancellor’s District failed.
  • Mayor De Blasio’s Renewal Schools Program relies on many of the same tactics that the Chancellor’s School District employed, to little avail.
  • Schools can’t make meaningful gains without accountability and performance goals, which the Renewal Schools lack.
  • The Mayor’s gamble—to transform schools into community schools to boost achievement—is exactly that: a gamble. There is no empirical evidence that this approach will turn schools around.
  • The community schools emphasis ignores the well-documented and longstanding management problems that hamper student achievement.