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City’s community schools plan stirs doubt among supporters

Chancellor Carmen Fariña toured P.S. 15 in the Lower East Side this week, a low-performing school set to become a community school under a new city plan. (Photo by: Patrick Wall)

Chancellor Carmen Fariña toured P.S. 15 in the Lower East Side this week, a low-performing school set to become a community school under a new city plan. (Photo by: Patrick Wall)

When Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed his plan last month to rescue 94 of the city’s lowest performing schools by converting them into service-rich hubs known as “community schools,” groups that had spent years lobbying the city for such schools lauded the idea.

But behind the scenes, some of those same supporters expressed doubts.

They bubbled up Wednesday when members of a community schools advisory board met with Chancellor Carmen Fariña and other top city officials. Some of the City Hall-appointed members peppered the officials with questions about how the turnaround plan will work, and several walked out after officials stopped taking feedback, attendees said.

Unlike a smaller program de Blasio launched earlier this year that asked eager principals to apply for money to create community schools, the turnaround plan compels leaders of struggling schools to adopt that approach regardless of whether they appear willing or able. And the schools will be required to boost students’ academic performance within a few years, even though community schools’ record on that front is mixed and the city has offered few details about how it will help them improve instruction.

Read the full story on Chalkbeat New York.

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