When he came into office, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature educational initiative, called Renewal Schools, was perhaps the clearest example of his break from the previous administration’s aggressive approach to dealing with the city’s broken schools.
Under Mike Bloomberg, the city focused on identifying and then closing schools that were systematically failing their kids. But de Blasio would take a more collaborative approach and attempt to turn around 94 of the city’s lowest-performing schools by providing them with substantial additional resources. More social services, keener administrative attention and greater collaboration with the local community were the hallmarks of Renewal.
Well, so much for that.
Four years and $773 million later, Hizzoner announced this week that Renewal Schools has come to an end, having failed to make a meaningful impact. The disappointing results were finally too obvious to ignore, even for the administration that once hailed the program as a national model. More objective observers had seen this coming for quite some time.
Many of the schools have failed to meet even the city’s relatively generous performance targets over time. More than a year ago, a study I conducted for the Manhattan Institute showed that, on average, Renewal Schools had experienced only slight improvements on standardized tests relative to how they would have performed had they not entered the program.
Photo by iStock