Opinion

What does “Renewal” mean for Mayor de Blasio?

Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

To hear Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña during their recent victory tour, you’d think New York City schools are amongst the best in the world.

The mayor claimed that “something really wonderful has happened,” that the city’s schools are “setting a standard of excellence” and that he was “just thrilled to see progress across the board.” But state test scores at so-called “Renewal Schools” – some of the city’s lowest performing schools – have grown just five points in reading. That sounds pretty good until you realize that the tests and testing conditions changed and that roughly 9 out of 10 students in these schools still failed. Math scores barely budged. It’s also concerning that the number of test takers at Renewal Schools this year was inexplicably down 10 percent from last year – did the city move students who were less likely to test well? Why is the mayor applauding such failure? Instead of a media tour to try to boost his sagging approval ratings, the mayor might want to try focusing on actually improving outcomes for kids. For the public school parents I work with every day, these minor improvements are nothing to celebrate.

Tiffany Griffin is a single mom who lives in Jamaica, Queens and sends her daughter Kaila to I.S. 8 Richard S. Grossley, one of those Renewal Schools that the mayor is bragging about. Scores at the school held flat this year even though City Hall made a big show of focusing efforts through the mayor’s signature schools program. This year’s scores in reading were the same as last year – only 12 percent of students are proficient. Tiffany is frustrated that no progress is being made at the school, despite big promises from the mayor and the Chancellor. Tiffany has a simple question for the mayor: “If you’re really providing extra resources to our school, why hasn’t it improved? Why is my child stuck at this failing school with no other options?”

Tanese Foster has five children attending P.S. 149 Sojourner Truth, a Renewal School in Harlem. Tanese is a very dedicated parent who is always front-and-center when it comes to her children’s education. Reading scores went up this year, from 8 percent to 12 percent, while math scores actually dipped from 7 percent proficient to just 6 percent. Tanese isn’t celebrating these results. Instead, she wonders, “Would the mayor be celebrating if one of his kids were stuck at a school with such low test scores?”

These parents reflect the feelings of a lot of public school parents throughout New York City – in fact, just 37 percent of New Yorkers approve of the mayor’s handling of city schools. De Blasio’s sagging popularity may be the reason he’s looking for reasons to celebrate, but when 9 out of 10 students at these struggling schools can’t read or do math well, no one in these communities is cheering.

When these parents look at the targets the city set for Renewal Schools, they have the same reactions: they are trying hard to understand why the mayor set the bar so incredibly low. One target for I.S. 8 is that attendance grew from 90 percent to 90.2 percent. Another goal is that 35 percent of Hispanic students at the school score a Level 2 or above – a Level 2 is a failing score. The city is essentially saying that they believe only a third of Hispanic students can get above the absolute lowest level. At P.S. 149, they set a target that in math and reading the school’s average is a Level 2, so they are acknowledging that even under the best of circumstances, they are aiming for failure. This is unacceptable.

These parents and students deserve so much better than the solutions de Blasio is offering. The mayor needs to step up his game or these parents will give him a failing grade at the ballot box next year.

Tenicka Boyd is the senior director of organizing at StudentsFirstNY and the parent of a public school student.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.