Some parents say they had no say in the widespread change, which was prompted by a new requirement in the city’s deal with the teachers union to set aside extra time for teacher training and parent conferences. Frustrated moms and dads say they will have overhaul their own schedules and disrupt their children’s lives to get them to school on time.
BY Ben Chapman , Stephen Rex Brown
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 2:30 AM
More than 450 city schools will change the start time of classes in September to comply with rules in the new teachers union contract, Education Department officials said Monday.
The widespread change was prompted by a new requirement in the city’s deal with the teachers union to set aside extra time for teacher training and parent conferences.
But some frustrated parents are howling they’ve been left out of the decision to tweak instructional times, which they say will force them to overhaul their own schedules.
Dzianis Kapylou, an insurance worker from Brooklyn, said his family will suffer because his daughter’s school, the Talented & Gifted School for Young Scholars in East Harlem, has moved its start time from 8:50 a.m. to 8:05 a.m.
That means Kapylou will have to wake up his 6-year-old daughter at 6 a.m. to make it to school on time. His daughter will have to go to bed at 8 p.m.
“I don’t want to wake her up at 6 a.m.,” said Kapylou. “We never would have considered the school with the current start time.”
Kapylou started a Change.org petition — “Revert the change of schools’ start time for city-wide schools” — to protest the schedule change at his daughter’s school. So far, it has more than 550 signatures.
Education Department spokeswoman Devora Kaye would not provide a precise number of schools that have changed schedules because requests from principals are still coming in.
She said roughly 30% of the city’s public schools have changed their starting times so far. Principals, Kaye added, are expected to work with parents and teachers to establish the structure of the school day.
New requirements in the teachers contract stipulate that teachers will participate in 80 minutes of professional development at the end of the school day on Mondays. On Tuesdays, teachers have 75 minutes devoted to parent engagement and other work once class is dismissed. On the other days, teachers can use the time as they see fit. The contract also states school must end by 4 p.m.
Within those guidelines, principals are permitted to set their own schedules. Teachers union spokeswoman Alison Gendar said school leaders have plenty of options besides starting class early.
“Nothing in the contract requires a school to start at 8 a.m.,” Gendar said.
But Mona Davids, president of the New York City Parents Union and frequent critic of the Education Department, said parents were left in the dark on the decision.
The city’s new contract with the teachers union was ratified in June after months of secret negotiations, where no parents were present, between the city and the union.
“We have no idea what’s going on. This is going to cause a lot of hardship for parents,” said Davids.