Diaz releases ed summit report

By MIAWLING LAM

Better collaboration among parents, teachers, elected officials and city authorities is the key to lifting the performance and graduation rates of Bronx students.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced the finding—as part of a shopping list of school reforms—in a 21-page policy paper released on Friday, March 2.

The white paper, entitled “Unclogging, Strengthening and Insulating the Bronx Educational Pipeline: A Call to Action,” proposes a handful of reforms at every level. Recommendations are based on the inaugural Bronx education summit held at Lehman College last October.

The paper suggests that bolstering outcomes for all students, particularly English-language learners and those with special needs, will unlock the untapped capacity and talent of the borough’s youth.

“[The] institutional disregard for satisfying the educational needs of our Bronx students must stop,” the document states.

“Collaboration and strategic action are the appropriate response for tapping into the potential that every Bronx student possesses. The students and families residing in The Bronx have the capacity to excel in education, if they are given the opportunity to do so.”

Reforms are organized according to pipelines, or important stages along the educational cycle, such as early childhood through pre-K, grades K through 5, grades 6 thorugh 8, grades 9 through 12, and higher education.

Among the key recommendations are improving the quality of science and math instruction in elementary schools, creating additional funding that allows schools to provide tutoring and mentoring for Engligh language learners and affiliating each Bronx high school with at least two college readiness programs so students are better equipped.

Suspending public tuition for students undertaking remediation, developing a more comprehensive and consistent outreach program for parents, and creating an online portal connecting members from all boroughs with best practices and relevant information are also recommended.

“Sealing gaps in the Bronx education pipeline means preventing students from falling through its cracks during critical transitions under the current K-16 system,” the report concludes.

“If we expect to prepare every Bronx student to compete and succeed well into the future, where a pipeline exist, it must be strengthened and insulated; where there is none, it must be created.”

Diaz said the paper would become a blueprint for future educational policies and that if the reforms are enacted, they would help lift the graduation rates of Bronx students.

He said his administration would continue working with educational institutions, community-based organizations, service providers and parents to push through the batch of reforms.

“This paper will serve as the roadmap toward making substantive change that will lead to both better implementation of Department of Education policies and higher-performing students in The Bronx and citywide,” Diaz said in a statement.

“In the future, when we look at how much education has improved in The Bronx, we can look back on how the education policy paper findings played an important role in enhancing Bronx education for the 1.4 million Bronxites, who strongly believe that children only get one chance at a quality education, which is the key to a better life and a road out of poverty.”

At last year’s summit, education reform advocate Diane Ravitch delivered the keynote address and ripped into officials for creating a dysfunctional school system.

She accused Tweed authorities of treating public school students like stepchildren, branded mayoral control as disastrous and said parent voices were being stifled.

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