New York City’s lowest-performing schools will get more money and staffing, a longer school day and on-site social services, said Mayor Bill de Blasio at an East Harlem school, reports the New York Times.
Criticizing Mayor Bloomberg’s strategy of closing low-performing schools, the mayor said, “We reject the notion of giving up on any of our schools.”
He spoke at the Coalition School for Social Change, where the attendance rate is 74 percent. It is one of 94 “renewal schools” with low test scores and graduation rates that will extend the school day by one hour. Teachers will have extra training.
. . . the centerpiece of the proposal involves turning these institutions into so-called Community Schools, which try to address the challenges students face outside the classroom, with offerings like mental health services for those who need them or food for students who do not get enough to eat at home.
Nationally, community schools’ performance is “uneven,” according to the Times. In Cincinnati, a national leader, “some community colleges still showed dismal academic performances even after years of work and millions of dollars of investments.”
Where has De Blasio’s approach worked at any scale? asks Eduwonk. Why not target help at “middling schools” while continuing Bloomberg’s “aggressive strategy” (closure) on the worst.
“The track record on turning around the lowest-performers is pretty stark,” he concludes. “In the context of that evidence base do those parents and children deserve more immediate relief now?”
The renewal plan could “delay action on schools that are in desperate straits and should be reorganized or closed in fairly short order,” editorializes the New York Times.