Monday, November 21, 2011

Far Rockaway Student Protest

English class at Frederick Douglass Academy in Queens hasn't had a regular teacher in three months

Irate parents say children are being cheated

Originally Published: Sunday, November 20 2011, 3:15 AM
Students at Frederick Douglass Academy VI High School donÍt have English teachers and protested in front of the school.
Victor Chu/
Students at Frederick Douglass Academy VI High School donÍt have English teachers and protested in front of the school.
Seniors at a struggling Queens high school have gone the first three months of the school year with no English teacher, the Daily News has learned.
About 75 students at Frederick Douglass Academy VI in Far Rockaway have been warehoused in a bunk class with a different substitute each week and no coherent lesson plan, they say.
For weeks, students begged administrators at the C-rated school for a steady instructor, but their request was denied — until Friday, when they protested and refused to go to class until their demands were met.
“We deserve to have a proper English teacher, not just a bunch of subs,” said senior Dominique Boatwright, 17, of Far Rockaway.
Dominique said that instead of getting a coherent English class, she and her classmates have spent 45 minutes each day aimlessly clicking around an “iLearn” web site with little direction.
When Dominique had a question about an essay assignment, a sub told her to try Google, she said. Instead of getting a letter grade for the first of the class, she received only a “P” for pass.
Parents aren’t satisfied with that level of instruction either, said Dominique’s mom, Shay Hollis, a retail worker.
“It’s terrible that our kids are sitting in class without a real teacher — they’re not getting what they need,” said Hollis, who called 311 to complain about the situation twice last week but got nowhere.
Education officials said that the school — where 27% of students graduated ready for college last year — is part of a citywide online learning initiative called the iZone.
Computer-based classes are a key component of the iZone program, which is used by more than 160 schools around the city.
But students said that they still need a teacher who’s familiar with the course work, even if they’re using computers to deliver instruction.
The fedup teens decided to take matters into their own hands and stage a protest outside the school on Friday morning to demand a teacher for their English classes.
Senior class president Shamia Heyliger of Far Rockaway organized the rally, which began at 7 a.m., before classes were scheduled to begin.
“We needed to get the message across that we need a teacher,” said Heyliger, who has a 93 average and wants to be a lawyer.
The spunky teen used Facebook to spread word about the rally, and about 40 kids turned out before class for the protest.
Kids held signs reading, “We need teachers” and some banged on pots and pans while Heyliger led them in a chant of “No teachers, no students!”
After about an hour, school administrators met with a delegation of students and agreed to hire an English teacher to serve the students who don’t have one.
The school’s principal didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment on this story, but Education Department officials said that administrators will begin interviewing candidates for the position on Monday.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a shame, such a shame. Far Rockaway HS used to be one of the top schools back in the 60 and early 70's...and now look at what the DOE did to this place...