By Tiffany Halsey, Dyasia Perez and Keyanna Rice
Recently, news came out that the Department of Education might be adding more schools to Mayor de Blasio’s Renewal School program. As parents whose children attend P.S. 306 Ethan Allen, an existing Renewal School in East New York, this announcement is extremely infuriating.
Our children have been deprived of a good education because of the Renewal School program, and we’ve been denied any input into the way their school runs. The initiative is something broken that needs to be fixed, not something successful that should be expanded as is.
When Mayor de Blasio first launched the Renewal School program in 2014, he said that it could also be called “No Bad Schools,” — because its purpose was to improve the city’s worst public schools. But instead of fixing bad schools, he’s kept our children trapped in them.
One of the schools that the Mayor promised to fix was P.S. 306 Ethan Allen. When each of us enrolled our kids at P.S. 306, we hoped that they would enjoy their classes, develop a love of learning, and interact with teachers and staff who cared about them. We hoped that the school would be a safe space for our children to go to every day.
Sadly, none of these hopes came true.
The teachers at Ethan Allen don’t appear to care at all about our kids, or any of the other students they’re supposed to be educating. They only want to pass students along and wash their hands of them at the end of the year, even if this means that kids aren’t prepared for the next grade. It’s also nearly impossible to meet with them or with administrators, which leaves us in the dark about how our children are doing academically and socially. The environment isn’t any better, with many of the students feeling unsafe on school grounds.
This has had a real impact on our kids. Because they don’t get individual attention from their teachers, they have to work twice as hard to stay on track in class. And because the school doesn’t do a good job of protecting them, they have to go to school in the morning anxious about what could happen.
Clearly, the Mayor’s Renewal School program has not benefited P.S. 306. None of us know what happened to the money that the school received to make improvements, but it doesn’t seem to have gone toward hiring better teachers, fixing the facilities, or investing in our kids’ safety. We’ve all tried to ask questions and find out why things aren’t getting better, but have been kept out of this conversation every time.
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