How de Blasio is driving city parents crazy
Last week, a mayoral advisory group released a splashy report suggesting New York City phase out the Gifted and Talented programs in its public schools. Also in the report: an eventual redraw of every single school zone.
As The Post reported, the panel wants every school to “be representative of the city as a whole,” instructing that the Department of Education “redraft district lines to support the long-term goal of having all schools reflect the city population.”
It seems like an insane plan — because it is. What the report did to Big Apple parents was plunge them, once again, into uncertainty. That’s been the real hallmark of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza’s changes to NYC schools: Parents have no idea what to expect for their kids’ education.
Throwing leftist proposals against a wall and seeing what sticks is no way to run a school system. No screening for middle schools! Do away with selective-high-school tests! Get rid of G&T! Redraw every single school zone! It’s like a bad joke. And it will inevitably lead to an exodus of parents from the chaotic city school system to the placid and predictable suburbs.
To add insult to injury, Team de Blasio says that if you don’t like rapid and chaotic changes, then you must be racist. “Discomfort” is an openly discussed part of Carranza’s plan.
Meanwhile, the failing schools continue to fail. The diversion tactic of shifting focus from poorly performing schools to the high performing ones can only work for so long. Making the good schools worse doesn’t actually do anything to make the bad schools better.
It goes mostly ignored that the main reason the gifted programs are so necessary is that standards are so low at regular schools.
Yet we keep lowering standards at our schools and threatening to strip them away completely at schools that use “screens” for admissions. And when our schools can’t even meet the lowered levels, the mayor changes the evaluation process altogether.
Eliza Shapiro reported in The New York Times last month: “Earlier this summer, the mayor agreed to start evaluating schools based not only on their test scores or graduation rates but also on their racial and socio-economic diversity.” In other words, schools will be assessed not on the success of their students but on their biography.
How does the mayor imagine any parent will be OK with a school having bad scores and low graduation rates but good diversity? It’s hard to ignore that both de Blasio and Carranza didn’t settle for such an arrangement when it came to their own kids, who attended elite schools.
My 9-year-old daughter attends one of those G&T schools the mayor wants to cancel: New Explorations in Science+Math, or NEST+m, operates a curriculum a full year ahead of grade level.
NEST+m students crush the statewide tests: 99 percent of the elementary school, and 98 percent of the middle school, score a 3 or 4 on all high-stakes exams. This is compared to 47 percent of city students overall in English and 46 percent in math, as The Post reported recently.
More than half of New York City’s students are below grade level in math and English, but the mayor can’t stop taking shots at the best schools.
There’s a lot to love about NEST+m: the involved parents, the talented teachers. But the main thing other parents covet about my daughter’s education experience is that her school runs from kindergarten through the 12th grade.
What the mayor and his chancellor don’t get in their quest to change literally everything about the school system is that all parents just want to know that their kid will go to a good school throughout their K-12 careers.
Parents don’t want no-screen lottery systems for middle schools. They don’t want to see admissions tests, and standards, decimated at specialized high schools. They don’t want to scrap G&T programs. They want certainty. The chaos the mayor and his chancellor generate is the opposite of certainty.
Source: Read Full Article