New York Post

Waiting for Fariña


Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña offered reason both to cheer and fret in her City Council testimony this week on the city’s 94 Renewal schools. These schools are the worst of the worst. Their teachers haven’t been able to bring kids up to grade level in years.

Mayor de Blasio vowed to stop closing failed schools, protecting their incompeten­t staffs from consequenc­es. Instead, he rolled out his threeyear, $150 million Renewal plan to improve (some of ) the worst ones.

But Fariña this week admitted that’s too long to wait: “I can’t afford to have a child be more than one or two years in a building where they are not going to get what they need,” she testified.

Hooray. We’ve often noted that, because many of de Blasio’s “reforms” don’t fully kick in for years, his plans leave today’s kids trapped in lousy schools, wasting irreplacea­ble years when they should be learning. And who knows if those reforms will ever work?

Fariña’s already given these schools a year. So: Will she move to shut them now — or in another 12 months? Ever?

That’s where the fretting comes in. After all, it seems she’s already falling back on her (and the mayor’s) most trusted tactic: fibbing about the state of the schools.

“At schools across the city, there is a renewal taking place,” Fariña said. She cited higher attendance rates, fewer discipline problems and better test scores.

Hmm. School officials under Fariña have been churning out lies almost as fast as they churn out uneducated kids.

The Post has reported, for example, on gradefixin­g scandals and on “graduates” who haven’t mastered the material and weren’t truly ready to move on. A report by StudentsFi­rstNY this week exposed “massive grade inflation” that serves to “conceal underperfo­rmance” by the schools.

Even de Blasio’s “three year” plan to fix the Renewal schools will actually run for five years, not three, and cost three times the $150 million list price.

Given all the misinforma­tion, why would anyone believe Fariña now?

“The chancellor was clearly unable to prove any academic progress in failing schools, more than a year after Mayor de Blasio first announced the Renewal schools program,” said Jeremiah Kittredge of Families for Excellent Schools.

Here’s the key lesson: When it comes to the city’s schools, only a clean bill of health from independen­t outsiders can be trusted.

And for that, the city continues to wait.

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