At this rate, he will become infamous.
Academic debasement at LaGuardia High School – Manhattan’s notorious ‘fame school’ – is accelerating, parents fear, as woke principal Yeou-Jey Vasconcelos plans to cut his demanding schedule from 10 periods to eight periods a day for most students.
“This is just another example of this principal’s attack on academic excellence,” an angry parent said. “She’s big on fairness – which in practice tends to bring everyone down rather than help some students up.”
The new ‘fair’ 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 each day – to miss preparatory classes for college such as science and math, simply for lack of time.
“Teachers warned students and parents that the eight-period day would decimate LaGuardia academics,” a furious mother told the Post. “Not just advanced academics, but all academics.”
“The sabotage is ongoing,” said another parent – recalling that Vasconcelos had previously made waves for suggesting AP tests “reflect systemic racism” and attempted to slash LaGuardia’s AP offers.
Draft timetables circulating among professors show that the teaching day has been reduced by almost two hours for the fall 2022 semester.
While 10 periods would remain on paper, teachers will need to seek special approvals to actually schedule lessons during the first and 10th slots, sources said – creating a de facto eight-period day.
“My child’s guidance counselor told her she couldn’t take PA in math and science next year if she also took all her art classes,” complained one mother.
The directive to dumb down was buried deep in a lengthy May 12 email to parents under the innocuous title “Bell Schedule.”
“We will continue to offer 10 periods to students who choose this option,” Vasconcelos wrote — but families will need to “apply for accommodation” to do so.
The news sparked a barrage 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.
“There seems to have been a lot of misinformation,” Orlen told the 160 parents, teachers and students who listened.
On the call, Vasconcelos claimed that demands from the United Federation of Teachers were behind the schedule changes.
But the parents believe a woke quest to level the academic playing field is the real reason – and at the meeting, UFT Section Chief John Hamilton dismissed Vasconcelos’ excuse.
“Teachers have expressed a desire to keep as much instructional time as possible in the schedule,” Hamilton said, calling the prospect of cuts to the school’s course offering a “major concern for our chapter.” .
Even with 10 periods available, LaGuardia students struggle to fit into the four years of English, science, math, social studies, and foreign language courses demanded by competitive colleges.
A third of them take only three years of mathematics and science, and nearly 40% drop out of languages after two years.
“With this schedule, kids will be lucky to come out with a Regents foundation degree,” said one parent.
DOE spokesman Nathaniel Styer denied that changes to LaGuardia’s 10-period schedule are in the works. “That’s absolutely false,” he said.
Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts has nurtured 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 of others — since its founding in 1936.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said a LaGuardia father. “We feel like we’re trapped by this main activist.”