A parent group called NYC Kids PAC has given Mayor Bill de Blasio some very low grades on how he has run the New York City schools. The mayor received five grades of "D", three "F's" and three grades of incomplete out of a total of fifteen areas where he was scored based on how his time in office has compared to his campaign promises.
The Mayor's "F" grades were for class size, transparency and accountability as well as diversity, "D" marks were for co-location and space planning, parent engagement and input, busing, special education and privacy,
I personally think the parent group was a little too generous. They actually gave de Blasio an "A" for not closing schools. While de Blasio has stopped closing schools, his plan for what to do with so called failing schools is to get rid of the teacher and make them reapply for their jobs. This has much of the same devastating impact on the school communities as shutting schools down.
Some of the most stinging criticism dealt with class sizes. The amazing Leonie Haimson did not pull any punches in her critique:
The Mayor gets an "F" on class size, because he has fulfilled none of his promises on this critical issue, the top priority of parents according to the DOE's own surveys. Despite his commitment to reduce class size significantly, and if necessary, raise funds to do so, class sizes remain at a fifteen year high in the early grades, and the administration has taken no action in this area or indicated that they intend to follow through in any way. In fact, the Chancellor has repeatedly ignored the concerns expressed by educators and parents, and has stated that class size is not a problem that needs to be solved, despite the decision of the state's highest court that NYC children are denied their constitutional rights because their classes are too large.
I can give some anecdotal evidence to support Leonie's point. I worked as an Absent Teacher Reserve at a school for a short time that had many classes over the legal limit of 34. It matters; large class sizes do hinder the educational experience. I am currently employed at a school where lower class sizes are important to administration and my experience has been so much more positive.
For some media coverage of the report card, go here.
It would be interesting if the mayor polled the teachers on his education record. My guess is he would do as bad or possibly even worse than he did with the parent group.