Top NYC education official insists schools won’t get leeway on curriculum mandate due to demographics

Top NYC education official insists schools won’t get leeway on curriculum mandate due to demographics

A top Education Department official said on Thursday that schools would not have leeway to skirt a new reading curriculum mandate based on student demographics.

“There’s no difference in how we’re implementing based on demographics of kids,” First Deputy Chancellor Dan Weisberg said after a Brooklyn superintendent suggested otherwise. “That’s actually a pretty disturbing suggestion.”

New York City is requiring all of its elementary schools to begin using one of three reading curriculums, Chancellor David Banks’ signature education initiative to improve literacy rates.

But Chalkbeat reported Wednesday that District 15 Superintendent Rafael Alvarez recently told families that his district would have more flexibility than District 19, which is also in Brooklyn. Most children in East New York’s District 19 are Black or Hispanic and come from low-income families. About 38% are considered proficient in reading based on state test scores. By contrast, fewer than half of students in District 15 — which runs from Cobble Hill and Red Hook to Park Slope and Sunset Park — are Black or Hispanic or live in poverty. Roughly 63% are proficient readers.

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