Riot at New York’s LaGuardia High School over academics

At this rate it will become infamous.

Academic decline at LaGuardia High School, Manhattan’s renowned “fame school,” is accelerating, parents fear, as Wake principal Yeou-Jey Vasconcelos makes plans to cut his demanding 10-period schedule to eight periods a day for most students.

“It’s just another example of this principal’s attack on academic excellence,” one parent fumed. “She’s big on fairness, which in practice tends to mean bringing everyone down rather than helping some students get up.”

New “equitable” schedule will force the city’s best and brightest arts scholars, who take at least three periods of dance, music, visual arts or theater classes every day, to miss core college prep classes such as science and math. simply due to lack of time.

“Teachers have been warning students and parents that the eight-period day will decimate academics at LaGuardia,” an irate mother told The Post. “Not just advanced academics, but all academics.”

Millisecond.  Yeou Jey Vasconcelos
Director Yeou-Jey Vasconcelos has drawn the ire of parents over the plan.

“The sabotage continues,” said another parent, recalling that Vasconcelos previously made waves for suggesting that AP tests “reflect systemic racism” and tried to reduce LaGuardia’s AP offers.

Draft schedules circulating among faculty show that the instructional day has been shortened by nearly two hours for the fall 2022 semester.

While 10 periods would remain on paper, teachers will have to seek special approvals to schedule classes during the first and 10th slots, the sources said, creating a de facto eight-period day.

“My son’s guidance counselor told him he can’t take AP math and science next year if he also takes all of his art classes,” one mother complained.

LaGuardia High School
The school has educated generations of great artists such as Liza Minnelli, Robert De Niro, and Timothee Chalamet.

The simplification directive was buried deep in a lengthy May 12 email to parents under the innocuous title “Bell Schedule.”

“We will continue to offer 10 periods for students who choose this option,” Vasconcelos wrote, but families will have to “request an accommodation” to do so.

The news sparked a spate of complaints to Mayor Adams and Chancellor David Banks, forcing Vasconcelos to call DOE Superintendent Vivian Orlen, who oversees Manhattan high schools, for a hastily arranged Zoom meeting on May 23. of May.

“There seems to be a lot of misinformation,” Orlen told the 160 parents, teachers and students who listened.

In the call, Vasconcelos claimed that the demands of the United Federation of Teachers were behind the schedule changes.

But parents believe a conscious quest to level the academic playing field is the real reason, and at the meeting, UFT chapter leader John Hamilton rejected Vasconcelos’s excuse.

“Teachers have expressed a desire to keep as much instructional time in the schedule as possible,” Hamilton said, calling the prospect of cuts to the school’s course offerings “a major concern for our chapter.”

Even with 10 terms available, LaGuardia students struggle to fit in the four years of English, science, math, social studies and foreign language courses that competitive colleges demand.

A third of them take just three years of math and science, and almost 40% skip languages ​​after two years.

“With this schedule, kids will be lucky to get a basic Regents diploma,” one parent complained.

DOE spokesman Nathaniel Styer denied there are any changes to LaGuardia’s 10-term schedule. “That is absolutely false,” he said.

The Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music, Art, and Performing Arts has educated generations of top artists, including Liza Minnelli, Eartha Kitt, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Jennifer Aniston, Adrien Brody, Nicki Minaj, Ansel Elgort, Timothee Chalamet and hundreds more, since its founding in 1936.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said a LaGuardia parent. “We feel we are trapped by this activist director.”

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