Press Release 3.6


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$150 Million Program to “Turn Around” 94 Failing Schools Amounts to Just One Meeting for Many Schools–“Nothing’s Actually Happening,” Says One Official

Promised Additional Hour of Instruction for All Schools Goes Nowhere As UFT Teachers Union Refuses to Cooperate

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New York, NY – In response to disturbing revelations Friday morning detailing a lack of progress on Mayor de Blasio’s Renewal Schools Program to turn around 94 failing New York City Schools, Families for Excellent Schools released these statements:

“My child attends a school where 9 out of 10 kids cannot read,” said Ebony Burrowes, a Brooklyn parent. “This is just further proof de Blasio’s plan will do nothing for him.”

“Two of my children were stuck in failing schools for years while the DOE stalled with so-called ‘fixes’,” said Takisha Willis, a Brooklyn parent, “I don’t want anyone else to go through that.”

Jeremiah Kittredge, CEO of Families for Excellent Schools, said:
“Mayor de Blasio’s failing schools plan is no plan at all. He promised accountability, but schools have no goals. He promised more time in the classroom, but the UFT is refusing to even negotiate. He promised ‘intensive’ support, but for many schools this has amounted to just one meeting all year.

Parents are tired of watching the bureaucracy fail–the 143,000 students trapped in failing schools deserve more.

The state should immediately assume control of the city’s 178 Priority schools this fall and work to give parents and students better school options.”

Mayor de Blasio’s Renewal Schools program, announced last year, promised to turn around 94 failing schools in less than three years with $150 million. Yet details have emerged this morning, according to Chalkbeat, that provide a disturbing glimpse into the emptiness of the program:

Schools Report No Activity: “It’s March and we don’t have a plan,” says one official. A number of Renewal Schools have seen absolutely no changes, as “the city has not provided the schools with principal mentors, teacher coaches, or improvement goals for the year, according to people at those schools.”
UFT is Blocking Extra Hour of Classroom Time: The UFT, the city’s teacher’s union, has refused to even sit down for negotiations to add an extra hour of classroom time for students trapped in failing schools.
Despite Promises, No Accountability: Schools have not been given targets to meet this year–directly contradicting Mayor de Blasio’s claim that schools will be held “accountable to meeting strict goals over the next three years…Schools that do not meet targets for each academic year would face a leadership and faculty change, as needed, and possible reorganization.”
Families for Excellent Schools harnesses the power of families to advance policy and political changes that create and sustain excellent schools.
On Twitter at: @Fam4ExcSchools