BX principal doles out praise, raises questions about mayor's school program

A Bronx principal is weighing in on the mayor's Empowerment Schools Initiative, which gives educators more control over their schools.

After almost a year as an empowerment school, Pablo Neruda Academy Principal Dina Heisler says the program has its pros and cons. Heisler says she has less paperwork, fewer meetings and deals with less bureaucracy. She has autonomy when it comes to the academy's budget and curriculum, and she no longer reports to a superintendent.

However, Heisler is concerned about the Department of Education (DOE) relying heavily on Regents test scores to evaluate empowerment schools. Heisler argues Pablo Neruda Academy is 70 percent boys, and studies show boys do not perform as well as girls on exams. The principal hopes the DOE will take that factor into account when it examines whether the school is successful.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R-NYC) says the initiative is doing so well, he plans to expand it to all New York City public schools.

Related Information:Empowerment Schools ListNYC Department of Education

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