By Mona Davids | August 7, 2015 |
One-hundred days into his term as mayor, as Bill de Blasio entered the spring of 2014 with no education plan in sight, I asked “What’s the Plan, Bill?”
Hundreds of thousands of New York City parents like me had children stuck in failing schools — and we wanted to know what the mayor was going to do about it.
Neither de Blasio nor his chancellor, Carmen Fariña, had an answer.
But now, thanks to Susan Edelman and The Post, we know de Blasio and Fariña do have a plan. It’s the Oprah approach: You get a diploma! And you get a diploma! There’s a diploma under every seat.
My 17-year-old daughter and her classmates are entering 12th grade at a great high school, with highly effective teachers and administrators. And they’re furious about the diploma giveaway.
My daughter and her classmates work very hard, go to school every day, study diligently to get excellent passing rates on their Regents and AP exams and to get good grades on their report cards.
But they’ll receive the same diploma as the students that didn’t attend school daily, didn’t complete schoolwork or homework and haven’t earned their diploma, because of de Blasio and Fariña’s corrupt management of the school system.
My daughter and her classmates say the Department of Education has completely devalued the worth of their diploma and their three years of hard work. Unfortunately, they’re 100 percent right. A diploma from the DOE isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.
Thanks to the city’s credit recovery/teacher-job-protection scheme, New York City DOE diplomas are worthless.
And it’s outrageous and offensive that students who don’t do their schoolwork or homework can receive a high-school diploma. It isn’t fair to the students who actually do work hard.
De Blasio and Fariña are betraying our children and all New Yorkers by not holding teachers accountable for the educational outcomes of their students.
As the mother of an incoming second-grader who has been condemned to a failing zoned school — a school that has failed to educate students for years and failed to hold teachers accountable for their abdication of educational responsibilities — I can unfortunately predict that the supermajority of students currently not at grade level will never be properly educated, because teachers and administrators know de Blasio and Fariña will protect them no matter what.
The mayor and chancellor will never hold teachers accountable for the unprepared students who will go on to middle school and “graduate” high school thanks to the credit recovery/teacher-protection program.
And if the mayor and chancellor get their way, there will be no accounting for the distorted value system they’ll pass on to students unprepared for the real world.
To ensure this travesty continues, de Blasio and Fariña have created the Regulatory Task Force on Academic Policy to examine credit-recovery programs and supposedly prevent academic fraud.
In other words, they have created a fake task force to cover up and safeguard the continuation of their teacher-protection scheme.
Instead of holding teachers accountable by putting our children’s interests first, de Blasio and Fariña plan to protect teachers and administrators from being exposed for the outright fraud of not doing their jobs.
I thank Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature for limiting mayoral control to only one year. Our children would be better off if de Blasio were to be stripped of mayoral control completely.
I hope Cuomo and the Legislature are paying attention and will put the interests of our children first and abolish mayoral control at the next legislative session.
Perhaps a future mayor, who won’t subordinate the needs of the city’s children to the demands of the teachers unions, will earn it back.
Mona Davids is founder and president of the NYC Parents Union and chair of Title I Parent Advisory Council at the Parkchester School.