Bear at Work

Quick Comment on De Blasio’s Plan for NYC’s Troubled Schools

Last week the Times summarized De Blasio’s plan for NYC’s troubled schools:

“The new program will designate 94 of the city’s most troubled schools, including the Coalition School, as Renewal Schools based on a list of criteria including low four-year graduation rates for high schools and poor test scores for middle and elementary schools. Students at those schools will receive an extra hour of instructional time each day, teachers will have extra professional training, and the schools will be encouraged to offer summer school. The schools will also be given additional resources, with $150 million spread over two years, about $39 million for this school year and $111 million in the next.

But 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”.

I engaged in the following exchange in the comment sections of the piece:

Richard (a commenter) wrote:

“Without active parent participation at home and in schools, DeBlasio plan is doomed”.

I responded:

“I agree that parent participation is important. Creating community schools is a step in that direction especially “with offerings like mental health services for those who need them or food for students who do not get enough to eat at home”. Offering these services to parents and guardians too might be one way to increase involvement.

In my experiences teaching public school I noticed that our weekly food pantry encouraged parents to come to the school and made them feel welcome.

It’s a two way street, if schools – especially in low income neighborhoods – do more to support and welcome parents we’ll likely see a reciprocal increase in parent support and involvement in school affairs”.

And another commenter, Sophiequus, added:

“I recall by brother-in-law, a district superintendent in update NY, saying “We just have them 7 hours a day. There’s a limit to what we can do.” If schools are going to become social service delivery vehicles, the school day will need to be extended far beyond an hour.

As a parent of school children, I feel certain nothing can replace a parent in the home who actively supports education, requires/ensures their children attend school on time, complete assignments, and seek out extra help when needed. If you don’t have the parent on the school’s side, I’m not sure how to help children succeed without more extreme solutions”.

I wanted to write a more detailed post on this, but as a new parent myself, I found it challenging to make time to even do this much!

Bear at Work

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