$ 773 Million Later, De Blasio Ends His Initiative to Improve Schools in Failure



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The renewal will not be replaced by a completely different school improvement program. Instead, the city will channel funding and academic support to the schools most in need, as part of a strategy that it calls full academic support, consulting with data on student results in a new centralized data system called Edu Stat.

This strategy will apply technically to all schools in the system, although the focus will initially be on schools that Education Department officials consider as underperforming. Schools will not be publicly labeled as underperforming, in part to avoid the stigma that the Renewal label affords to schools, which, according to city officials, has led to a decline in enrollment as parents sought out other options. .

According to a report prepared by the municipal authorities on the end of the program, successful renovation schools tend to have particularly strong directors, and to focus on the use of data related to the results of the programs. students to identify problems. The program's secondary schools, which used a structured data tracking system, made the most collective progress: the average graduation rate went from 52% in 2014 to 72% last year.

Suspensions also dropped by more than 50% in all the renovation schools during the same period, which is notable in that many schools had problems with discipline, and attendance has increased. 39, about 4% in the last four years.

According to the report, the administration of Mr. de Blasio should have replaced the principals in schools that took the longest to improve, and avoid marking schools with a label indicating the poor results, which frightened parents .

The revival was created in part to contradict former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's plan to repair the backlog of schools, which was based on the closure of more than 100 schools and the opening of dozens of smaller schools. specific themes. different teachers. Mr. Bloomberg has emphasized the use of data to make decisions about schools, and Mr. de Blasio's administration now seems to be moving in that direction.

Mr. Bloomberg's plan in small schools has resulted in an increase in the high school graduation rate and the number of college students, all at a lower cost for the city compared to students in other types of schools , according to a series of studies. But while the results were encouraging, the plan did not save all the schools it reached: more than a third of the schools that were on the original renewal list were created during Bloomberg's tenure.

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