Today, the New York Times published a letter to the editor by IEL president and Coalition for Community Schools (CCS) director Martin J. Blank and CCS Public Policy Manager Mary Kingston Roche. The letter highlights New York City's community schools efforts and Mayor Bill de Blasio's notable investment in them. See the full letter below.
“New York Needs a Stronger School Plan” (editorial, Nov. 7) questions Mayor Bill de Blasio’s investment in the community school strategy to improve the city’s most struggling schools, but it’s time for a more sophisticated strategy than just closing schools.
The 19 percent rate of chronic absenteeism in elementary schools even after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s interagency task force tackled it tells us that the city needs a more comprehensive strategy to address health, violence, trauma and other issues that keep children out of school.
Community schools do just this through coordinated partnerships with experienced community-based organizations selected by the schools and parents. Rather than burdening principals, a resource coordinator manages partnerships, freeing principals to support teachers. Community partners also work with teachers to offer enriching learning opportunities.
Significantly, Mayor de Blasio’s plan values the previously ignored assets and voice of the community in our public schools. We urge everyone to get behind it and get involved in making it successful.
Read the letter at the New York Times.
Photo by Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office.