OPINION: Public School Parents Deserve Transparency

Public School Parents Deserve Transparency

By Devon Winston 


When Bill de Blasio was Public Advocate, he talked a lot about transparency in government. Once, he even gave the NYC Department of Education a “D” in transparency for failing to give enough information to parents. Now that he’s living at Gracie Mansion, however, he doesn’t seem as concerned about families in underserved neighborhoods. I am fed up with Mayor de Blasio’s stonewalling – it’s time for him to provide basic information to parents about what’s really going on in our public schools.


Public school parents from across New York City are demanding answers from DOE. We have worked with StudentsFirstNY over the past 20 months to file Freedom of Information requests with City Hall, but de Blasio’s bureaucrats are ignoring us. We deserve to have our questions answered and we are fed up with the Mayor’s hypocritical stonewalling.


Mayor de Blasio keeps saying schools are making amazing progress under his watch, but that’s not what I am seeing in the Bronx. My son is in the second grade at P.S. 46, and the school is not addressing his needs. I stay on top of what he’s learning and I’m concerned that his teacher runs through his lessons too quickly. The teacher does not give the kids time to understand the work, and I’m afraid that if my son falls behind now, he may never catch up. So when I get home from work, I tutor him to make sure he’s learning what he’s supposed to. I love working with my son, but sometimes I feel like I’m the one who’s really teaching his lessons, instead of his actual classroom teacher.


I am fed up with the school not doing its job. I am fed up with the lack of effective teachers. And I am fed up with no one at City Hall giving a damn about it.


I deserve to know how the teachers in my son’s school are being evaluated and whether any of them are ineffective. I should be able to know how many ineffective teachers are in a school so I can make decisions about whether to keep my son there. I don’t understand why Mayor de Blasio and his Department of Education insist on hiding this information about teacher quality. I’m already worried that my son won’t have an effective when he returns to school in September.


My son will be in the third grade and that means he will have to take state tests in math and reading. Last year, less than 16% of students at P.S. 46 were proficient in reading and less than 20% passed the state math tests. This is not acceptable at any school and especially not at my son’s school.


In Albany, legislators are debating whether or not to allow the Mayor to continue to control NYC public schools. If the Mayor wants the authority, he also needs to take responsibility. That starts with coming clean with public school families, and providing us with basic information about our children’s schools. We have been ignored for too long and we deserve to have our questions answered.


Devon Winston is a Bronx parent of a 2nd grader a P.S. 46. in the Fordham section.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email