Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Items From Comptroller John Liu


 City Comptroller John C. Liu stated the following in response to published reports of 911 response errors and delays today.

“The truth is the 911 headquarters is understaffed and the operators are overworked. The situation has only gotten worse since the City wasted $1 billion on the dangerously flawed E911 system,” Comptroller John C. Liu said. “The City cannot address problems that are the results of mismanagement, waste, and fraud at 911 by blaming the dispatchers.”
According to a report published in today’s Daily News, the lives of four NYC firefighters were put at risk when they entered a home expecting to find a woman with serious burns only to discover she was suffering from bacterial meningitis.
In another shocking development, it reportedly took a half hour for an ambulance to arrive when an intern for City Councilwoman Diana Reyna collapsed in Brooklyn.
These are the latest in a series of life-threatening incidents rooted in the City’s problem-plagued 911 call center.

Liu Statement on Mayor’s 911 Probe:

Liu: City Should Boycott HP:

Liu Audit: Management of 911 Call Center Project Was Ineffective:

Liu: Mismanagement of 911 Upgrade Picked Taxpayers’ Pockets:


City Comptroller John C. Liu today warned that the Department of Education’s (DOE’s) short-sighted and damaging policy of suspending hundreds of middle-school students each week is promoting alienation and a higher dropout rate, not better behavior.

The Comptroller released a report today, “The Suspension Spike: Changing the Discipline Culture in NYC’s Middle Schools,” which offers a blueprint for replacing the DOE’s failed zero-tolerance policy with restorative justice practices that help middle-school students stay in school and remain on the path to college and career readiness.

“This report demonstrates the sad reality that the stop-and-frisk atmosphere, which presumes that men of color are guilty until proven innocent, begins as early as age 11. Children ages 11 to 14 are still learning how to manage their own feelings and behavior. The DOE’s policy of removing them from their classrooms for even small infractions teaches them nothing and may in fact worsen their conduct,” Comptroller Liu said. “Researchers have found that such suspensions often lead to higher dropout rates and other bad outcomes. We need to stand by our kids and give them the guidance they need, not make them feel like criminals.”

The report found that New York City middle schools suspended an average of 100 students a school day in the 2011-2012 school year. Almost all of those suspended were either black or Hispanic. It also found that middle-school students received 68 percent more suspensions than high-school students.

The report warns that misuse of School Safety Agents, who currently report to the New York City Police Department, has resulted in student arrests for minor infractions such as writing on a desk. This over-criminalization of school-based offenses risks putting students on the path to future incarceration, also known as the school-to-prison pipeline.

The report urges that middle schools adopt a restorative justice approach to discipline that combines added support with high expectations and accountability. These approaches not only give students ways to understand and make amends for negative behavior but also seek to reduce the severity and frequency of future incidents, create a more positive school climate, improve educational outcomes, and help keep students on the path to high school graduation and beyond.

The report recommends:

·         Training educators in restorative justice – DOE should pilot an approach known as “whole-school climate change” at the 30 schools with the greatest number of suspensions.
·         Hiring more middle-school counselors and social workers to reduce the student-to-counselor ratio to 250:1 and the student-to-social worker ratio to 400:1, as well as provide targeted interventions for students with behavior issues.
·         Eliminating suspensions for minor infractions and those that last for more than 10 days.
·         Empowering principals to oversee school discipline – including the School Safety Agents now under the authority of the NYPD – in order to emphasize education over incarceration.

“The Suspension Spike: Changing the Discipline culture in NYC’s Middle Schools” is the sixth comprehensive study in Comptroller Liu’s “Beyond High School NYC” initiative, which seeks to increase the proportion of New Yorkers with higher education to 60 percent by the year 2025 through strategic investments in public education.


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