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Candidate Survey

Please return by August 15, 2017 to info@nyckidspac.org

Candidate full name

John Quaglione

Website

https://www.votejohnq.com

Staff contact and e-mail

John Orlando; jorlando@votejohnq.com

Phone number

646-261-1480

Running for what office

City Council/43rd District

 

 Governance

Many New York City parents feel disenfranchised by the current system of mayoral control over public education and feel there are insufficient checks and balances. About two thirds of voters agree, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.  Would you support changes to the system to give parents more voice in decision-making and/or provide checks and balances to the current system?

Which of the following changes to what is now called the Panel for Education Policy (the de facto Board of Education) would you support?   Please check as many as you like.

Yes

No

  • A directly elected Board of Education

x

  • A reconstituted Board of Education with a majority not appointed by the Mayor

x

  • Community Education Councils (CECs) selecting parent representatives to the Board of Education

x

  • Board of Education members with set terms, who cannot be fired at will by the mayor

x

  • The City Council having checks and balances over DOE policies as they do with other city agencies (municipal control)

x

Which of the following measures to ensure that parents and community members have a voice in their children’s schools would you support? Check as many as you like.

Yes

No

  • Expanding the powers of Community Education Councils, including the approval over school closings and co-locations

x

  • Restoring the authority of School Leadership Teams (SLTs) to develop school based budgets

x

  • Allowing school based committees or SLTs to select principals

x

  • Supporting the hiring of a DOE Ombudsperson to investigate and settle parent complaints

x

Do you have other proposals to provide a stronger parent voice and/or checks and balances in school governance?

Under Mayor DeBlasio, the Department of Education has proven to be unresponsive to parental concerns. Reasonable parental requests are rejected; incompetent administrators remain in place, and educational policy is made without considering how it impacts upon children.

Testing

Another important issue is standardized testing, test prep, and the use of test scores to evaluate schools, students, and teachers. What is your position on this matter? 

Would you support:

Yes

No

  • A teacher evaluation system not linked to test scores

x

  • Requiring that the Chancellor communicate to parents that they have a right to opt their children out of standardized testing without penalties to the students or their schools

x

  • Making admissions to all public schools based on more than test scores, including Gifted programs and the specialized high schools

X

Resources and equity

NYC schools have never received their fair share of funding from the state and many are still struggling with budgets below their Fair Student funding levels, despite surpluses at the state and city levels.  Class sizes have risen sharply, particularly in the early grades, where they remain at among the highest levels in more than 15 years.  At the same time, the NYC Chancellor has said that her main concern is that class sizes can be too small. A legal complaint has now been filed against the DOE with the state about its failure to reduce class size and comply with the Contracts for Excellence law. How would you go about guaranteeing the rights of all students and providing them with an equitable opportunity to learn?

More specifically would you:

Yes

No

  • Support full funding of schools at originally agreed upon CFE levels

X

  • Ensure that DOE comply with its original Contracts for Excellence class size reduction plan, to reduce class size in all grades

x

  • Require that NYC reduce class size, particularly in struggling schools

x

  • Support the creation of an office dedicated to school integration with a Deputy Chancellor whose sole responsibility is school desegregation and integration

x

  • Re-evaluate the school budgeting process, including Fair Student Funding formula, so that resources are distributed equitably and sufficiently among our schools

x

How would you ensure that children are provided with a well-rounded education, including art, music, science, and physical education, and how would you fund this?

Reduction in the size of the DOE’s bloated bureaucracy. Layers upon layers of educrats have been appointed to “manage” the system. Flattening the DOE bureaucracy could result in the re-deployment of funds to instructional purposes, particularly in the arts. Studies measuring creative thinking, critical thinking, problem solving and reasoning all find these functions increase and improve when arts education is part of the curriculum. The squeezing out of these programs from our elementary schools, due to budget cuts and a refocusing of the curriculum to prepare students for high stakes testing, has had a negative impact on our children.

How would you go about developing and supporting measures to attract and retain experienced and high-quality teachers?

I believe we should expand alternative teacher education programs that would attract older and more mature individuals to the teaching profession.

How would you ensure equitable distribution of resources so that every school has what it needs to provide a high quality education to all its students?

School budgets should be transparent, so that we know where the money is being spent.

NYC is one of the most segregated school systems in the nation.  What are your plans for integrating our schools? Please be specific.

We should continue to move away from a system of zoned schools (which, because of residential patterns, tend to reinforce segregation) to one where there are programs that attract students from throughout the city. Establishing unique programs that attract students from throughout the city can lead to less segregation.

DOE data reveal that more than 40 percent of special needs students in NYC are not receiving their full services or only partially receiving their mandated services or appropriate classroom placements.

How would you ensure that all students with disabilities receive their services more promptly?

The creation of a DOE ombudsman would create an agent to insure that students receive services in a more timely fashion. Having worked for a local elected official for 20 years, I have seen how the DOE often delays providing students with an IEP; creates IEPs that have little relationship to the student’s needs, and often delay providing services, especially if those services are not available within the public school system. The DOE engages in obstruction when it comes to providing services. The DOE must be required to provide services by ironclad deadlines so that students re not denied services. An ombudsman, whom could investigate complaints, and specific time frames where the DOE must act, would go a long way towards addressing the DOE’s failure to provide services that they are required to provide under Federal law.

 

Any other comments on resources and/or equity?

School facilities

Overcrowding is a chronic and ever-worsening problem in NYC schools.  The city has underinvested in school facilities, resulting in most students attending schools in overcrowded and/or substandard conditions.  Expanded Pre-K, eliminating trailers, reducing class size, and implementing community schools with wrap-around services all require even more space. The Mayor’s plan to create hundreds of thousands of new market-rate and affordable housing will likely contribute to even more overcrowding. And yet the current capital plan does not have enough new seats to keep up with future enrollment growth, not to mention reducing class size according to DOE’s own estimates.  

 

Do you support any of the following measures?  Please check all that apply.

Yes

No

  • Mandate that the city annually release transparent needs assessments for new school capacity that take into account current overcrowding, loss of seats through TCU removal and lapsed leases, and enrollment projections

x

  • Require that developers provide space for schools in overcrowded areas or pay “impact” fees into a fund for school construction.

x

  • Reform the zoning laws so that schools must be built along with new housing.

x

  • Fully fund the capital plan so that all the projected need for seats is funded

x

Do you have any other proposals to address school overcrowding?

Many zoned city schools are overcrowded due to illegal conversions that have taken place in a number of city neighborhoods. Illegal conversion leads to burdens on the city’s infrastructure, including the school system.  

Charter Schools and Privatization

Charter schools are growing fast and now take more than $1 billion from the DOE’s budget and an increasing amount of space in our schools. There are also serious questions about whether they are complying with the law when it comes to providing due process for suspensions and students with disabilities, and enrolling and retaining equal numbers of high needs students.  

Would you:

Yes

No

  • Support the continued expansion of charter schools

x

  • Advocate for repealing the law requiring that NYC pay for charter school facilities or provide them with space inside DOE buildings

X

  • Enforce the provisions in the 2010 charter law that before charters are renewed or allowed to replicate, they must show they’ve enrolled equal numbers of high needs students, i.e. ELLs, SWDs and free lunch students

x

  • Support measures that require that the State Education Department and/or SUNY post statistics on every charter school’s suspension, enrollment and attrition rates, including for students in each of the high-needs categories

x

  • Support measures that require that charter schools be more transparent and post their board meeting times, board minutes, budgets etc.  

x

  • Oppose the Education Investment Tax Credit bill, which would award tax credits to wealthy donors who give to private and parochial schools  

x

There is also growing concern about the lack of transparency and number of contracts provided to for-profit vendors, and contracts awarded vendors with a history of corruption, abuse and/or mismanagement.

 

Would you:

Yes

No

  • Have the NYC Comptroller or his staff provide comments on contracts before they are approved by the PEP

x

  • Require more transparency for each proposed contract including the release of detailed information about each at least a month before the vote of the PEP

x

Any other comments on charters and/or privatization?

I oppose co-location of charters in public school buildings.

Open-ended questions 

Please summarize your record in public education as an individual, advocate or policymaker.

As the husband of an Assistant Principal in the New York City public school system, I have an understanding of the challenges that face our children, parents and school staff every day. I believe that the New York City public schools must continue their historic role of preparing our children for the challenges of tomorrow. While I believe that Charter Schools are here to stay, they should be subjected to the same standards of transparency and accountability as our traditional pubic schools.

Please describe the ways in which you have demonstrated responsiveness to parental or community concerns

For the past 20 years I have worked for a local elected public official. During that time, I have had the opportunity to act as an advocate on behalf of parents. There have been many instances where we have worked with parents to navigate the byzantine bureaucracy that is the New York City school system. While I have not always been successful, I have come to believe that parenting is hard enough without having to confront an unresponsive school bureaucracy, which often does not even bother to reply to reasonable requests made by parents on behalf of their children. We must make our kids first.

What would be your top educational priorities if elected?

  1. Reducing overcrowding in schools
  2. Reducing class size
  3. Giving parents a greater say in the operation of their local schools.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.