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Saturday, July 6, 2019

Principal Lisa Mars is Removed From "FAME" School Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

Students at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (known
as the "FAME" school or just "La Guardia High School")
 I believe all children are unique, have talents and abilities which should be valued, and integration does not mean pushing everyone into the same mold. Everyone is different. I am an identical twin, but totally different from my twin sister, who is four minutes older than I am, and we attended the same school k-12. We need to value differences and not punish those who are different.

I have four daughters, currently living nearby and all working on their careers. They all attended public high schools in New York City which are considered "the best" in the City, if not the most acclaimed in America: two went to Stuyvesant High School, one to La Guardia High School, and my youngest graduated from NEST+M. I saw all four of them get into the school that was right for them and their abilities/talents. They worked for that, I helped them. Two of my daughters started singing opera with the NYC Opera when one was 5, the other 9. I got them to Lincoln Center for every performance on time. It was not easy.

We need to give gifted education to all kids and for those who need support, get that too. We need to stop the fuzzy math, silly science, and other dumbed down curricula and instead look for and pay to use rigorous programs which raise the bar for all. If that means computers, so be it. For example, the Johns Hopkins' CTY program starts with taking their test. CTY gives a child computer resources (and individual/group activities) and much more, such as career counseling and guidance. This program is not the only one out there (see below). We need to integrate these resources into public education. We also need libraries with real books to stay open all day. We need to keep school choice and stop criticizing parents who place their children in charters and private schools on the public dime. A charter/private school may be the best for someone else's child, about whom you know nothing. I oppose the anti-charter movement. Why are we allowing political conversations about someone else's child? I oppose the Diana Ravitch argument that all charters are bad. I do not agree with her gobbledygook on that subject. I always tell parents that they should not agree with anyone's opinions about their child unless the evaluator is licensed....and even then, parents have the right to look elsewhere.

We need to stop putting politics above children's unique educational needs. We need to stop changing educational priorities as if learning styles were flavors of the month. And we need to get rid of the Danielson rubric as an evaluative tool! We need all our teachers to be free to teach as they want, with certain caveats for continuous failures seen in student outcomes. In New Jersey, teachers are disciplined for misconduct, not observation reports. That makes sense. There are no facts in observations, only non-final opinions. Let's stop firing good teachers for not having a lesson plan for a class they have taught for 20 years. Similarly, we must get away from political perceptions of job performance. Unhook the school budget from principals who can't hire/keep a senior teacher because he/she cannot afford the expense, and allow good teachers to be hired wherever they are and however much they are paid.

We need to set up a rule or legislation on when, how, and why a teacher's fingerprints are flagged in personnel files and put into the "ineligible/no hire" problem code list.

The current buzz in New York City is that we have to stop "The Test", meaning the one test which gets you in to the specialized high schools...or not. The people who want the test to end want highly gifted kids who have worked hard for their achievements to be punished. This is wrong. Throughout NYC principals are demanding that teachers change low grades to make the school look more successful and enlarge graduation rates. There is no oversight until a whistleblower staff member comes forward, then that person is discontinued/fired or brought to 3020-a. If grade analysis and not the TEST is the way kids get into a specialized school, nepotism and kids who cannot make a success of a gifted curriculum will destroy the education programs set for the gifted; put jealousy aside and value the gifted. Their academic talents are not their "fault".

We need to keep the SHSAT test, and assure the gifted/high achievers that their intellectual abilities are assets and they should be proud to be at Stuyvesant High School, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, or wherever they want to be, not punished for high achievement. The solution is to open many more gifted and talented programs throughout New York City, for grades k-12. Start young. I agree with the Bronx Science statement on the issue of Gifted Education.

Leroy Comrie
Senator Leroy Comrie is right. Expand the number of specialized schools, give all 6th and 7th  graders prep for The Test, have all 8th graders take the SHSAT unless the parent opts out. Stop Guidance Counselors from denying kids the right to take The Test.

There are Gifted and Talented Programs throughout the US where a test must be taken to sift out those who are not ready for the work needed to be done. Here are some of those programs:
Johns Hopkins' Center For Talented Youth (CTY)
Davidson Institute
Robinson Center For Young Scholars
Gifted and Talented Resources Directory

People are very angry in New York City, as they should be, about the New York City Department of Education policy-makers and their blindness when it comes to segregation -  which many say is the highest in the US. Despite all the current talk, there is no change in practice. We know if students/parents feel powerless to change policy, or they feel unable to get anyone to hear their cries for relief, their anger becomes jealousy, harassment, and sometimes even worse.

All children have exceptional and unique abilities. I believe that it is our duty as adults to help them recognize what they are good at, and support them in reaching their personal bests. This is New York City, where you  don't need money to enrich a young person's life. The "great" schools that my own kids were accepted to were "great" because each of these schools valued certain talents and nurtured this within a public school setting. I believe that all parents, guardians and caregivers should know their child and then seek the resources he/she needs to succeed. Don't jump hoops to get accepted to schools which are not right for your child.

Stuyvesant takes the young person who is capable of high achievement in math or English, and gives them the challenges that they need in order to remain excited about learning and not dulled into boredom. Stuyvesant is not right for everybody, and the drugs, drop-outs, and failures are an example of this. NEST+M is also a great place for motivated, smart kids. But NEST+M is not for everybody, that's for sure. Yet the demographics are diverse, and that is what is terrific about NEST+M, the diversity and the high expectations for all students in the school.

La Guardia is not for everyone either, but is a wonderful place for nonacademic talent. When my daughter was there the creative energy ran through the very diverse student body like the northern lights on a lightning bolt. The art shows, theatrical performances and concerts were professional grade. At La Guardia you had to work hard not just on the math/science/history curriculum, but the talent show, play, and concert music which enriched the academic learning. That is why the last six years of Lisa Mars' reign at this great school has been so distressing. She wanted to take the creativity away to enlarge the academics. This is quite a huge mistake.

The students who wanted La Guardia to remain a place where nonacademic talent is valued and respected deserve to be praised for their work on removing a principal who refused to "get" this. Let's congratulate the students of La Guardia and the actions they took to fight for what they believe was right, namely removing Principal Lisa Mars. As Eric Nadelstern says in the article below by Ms. Willen,

"Removal for cause “is a lot harder at a place like LaGuardia, because students are learning,’’ Nadelstern told me. In fact, he added, LaGuardia has traditionally boasted one of the highest graduation rates of all New York City high schools. In addition, Nadelstern reminded me, decisions about keeping principals in place are not made in a democratic fashion.

“In too many cases, how parents and kids and teachers feel are of little relevance to the tenure of a principal, and that’s too bad,” he said."

 The lessons in civic responsibility, handling conflict and resolution were all done peacefully.Good work!

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

Departure of ‘Fame’ high school principal is victory for arts education and student power
Liz Willen, The Hechinger Report

NEW YORK — When the embattled principal of the celebrated “Fame” high school left last month after an epic controversy over arts education, she also left me with a huge, unanswered question: How do you remove a leader who creates a toxic school culture?

On a personal level, I care deeply about the school she led, formally known as Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. My musician sons are relatively recent graduates, and I’m still in touch with some of the amazing teachers we got to know during years of attending performances, conferences and school events.

So what went wrong at this famous high school, one that over the years inspired two movies and a television series?

Many educators began voicing concerns about the direction principal Lisa Mars was taking the school not long after her 2013 arrival. Her leadership soon heralded a volatile era marked by cuts in arts programming, from shortened rehearsal times for musicals to less investment in trained arts staff and proper equipment. Students complained that she steered them toward Advanced Placement classes many did not want to take. Beloved teachers left in frustration.

In addition, during Mars’ tenure, countless talented artists, dancers, actors and musicians were denied acceptance because of new admissions practices that appeared to prioritize grades over artistic excellence. In recent months, discontent boiled over, and students presented Mars with pages of grievances, from censoring theatrical productions to ignoring repeated requests for meetings.

On a professional level, I’m flummoxed by how long this principal was able to stay in power, despite the protests, petitions and bad publicity that dogged her. At The Hechinger Report, we follow research around school leadership and know it’s enormously important for both improving student outcomes and creating an environment where students and teachers can flourish.

We’ve covered stories of principals from all sorts of backgrounds in classrooms across the country, and we know that school leadership is second only to teacher quality in terms of its impact on student learning.

During the nearly six years between Mars’s appointment and her departure for an academic office job in the New York City Department of Education, more than 14,000 signatures ultimately landed on a petition demanding her ouster.

Yet it wasn’t until students took to school hallways in front of television cameras and threatened to turn their back on the principal on graduation day that the Department of Education finally announced that she would not be at the ceremony or returning at all.

So why did it take so long? And what does it all mean for schools with equally unpopular principals that don’t have LaGuardia’s high-profile alumni to help bring clout and news value to the demands of teachers, parents and students?

Related: Why do more than half of principals quit in five years?

I posed these questions to a Department of Education official and got this answer, after he assured me that Mars was not fired, just reassigned.

“Superintendents make principal hiring and firing decisions based on the needs of their communities, and conversations with these communities are central to their work,” spokesman Doug Cohen told me. “Our principals are leaders in the school system, and they must actively listen to, respond to and work hand-in-hand with community members every day.”

There was no explanation for why Mars was able to stay for so long and how the decision to give her another job was finally made. So I asked around.

“They [the DOE] feared more negative headlines and publicity so they pulled the plug,” offered David Bloomfield, a professor of education leadership at the CUNY Graduate Center and Brooklyn College who closely follows the New York City public school system.*

Like me, Bloomfield is a parent of a LaGuardia alum who had a tremendous experience at the school; his son is now a historian and a drag performer. Yet Bloomfield worries less about the future of LaGuardia — whose graduates include celebrity performers such as Jennifer Aniston, Nicki Minaj, Robert De Niro and Ben Vereen — than he does about lower-profile schools where principals are damaging staff and student morale and aren’t being replaced.

“Who is sitting down with these principals when they are struggling in terms of their leadership and school community relationships?” Bloomfield asked. “Who is saying, ‘this is how we make things better, and this is how we can improve?’ ”

Related: The big job of small town principals

I still wasn’t clear on exactly what it takes (aside from obvious things like breaking the law) to remove a New York City public school principal, so I called Eric Nadelstern, a retired deputy chancellor and professor whom I first met in the early 1990s, when he was principal of International High School in Queens.

Later, when he became a deputy chancellor, Nadelstern removed hundreds of principals.

Armed with data that students weren’t learning, Nadelstern gave principals at these failing schools options. “I told them they could leave, or they could allow me to make their life miserable,” Nadelstern said. Almost always, the principals left; they were either counseled out of the school system or allowed to revert to a previous tenured position as a teacher or assistant principal.

Removal for cause “is a lot harder at a place like LaGuardia, because students are learning,’’ Nadelstern told me. In fact, he added, LaGuardia has traditionally boasted one of the highest graduation rates of all New York City high schools. In addition, Nadelstern reminded me, decisions about keeping principals in place are not made in a democratic fashion.

“In too many cases, how parents and kids and teachers feel are of little relevance to the tenure of a principal, and that’s too bad,” he said.

Nadelstern, for the record, is also the parent of a LaGuardia graduate who now teaches in the Bronx. He has pushed hard for better principal training and overseen many principals over the years; he knows the difference between schools that are working and schools that are not.

And LaGuardia is one that, in his opinion, works. It is the only one of the city’s specialized high schools that does not admit students based solely on an entrance exam (LaGuardia considers both auditions and academic records). And it is known for being more diverse than the other specialized high schools, which have faced criticism as their enrollment of blacks and Latinos has plummeted.

“Really bright African American and Latino students shine at LaGuardia, and it’s one of the few that is integrated and where kids of color are among the highest performing students,” Nadelstern said.

Related: How to help principals do a better job? Train their bosses

Of course, I still want to know why the Department of Education would tolerate a principal meddling with a school that has a great track record not only for arts but for sending graduates off to the country’s finest colleges. Nadelstern believes the growing chorus of dissatisfaction and negative publicity had become impossible to ignore.

‘There was too much noise,’’ he said.

Bloomfield attributed a testing and accountability culture that prioritizes high tests scores and lots of Advanced Placement courses. “My theory is they [the Department of Education] wanted her there,’’ he told me. “It’s an administration interested in touting its academic indicators like AP for all, and she was doing what they wanted her to do.”

Headlines and stories about LaGuardia have deemed the departure of Mars as a victory for arts. Clearly, though, Mars might still hold her job were it not for student activism. Consider the victory lap taken in a message from recent LaGuardia drama graduate Tali Natter, proclaiming: “Activism works. Young people’s voices matter.”

Tali, who is headed to Williams College this fall, described months of unrest as students watched favorite teachers depart and tried, unsuccessfully, to communicate to Mars how they felt and what they wanted to see change. For months, nothing worked — until they staged a sit-in.

“I think it had to do with the large number of people who contacted the superintendent, which got the chancellor and the mayor and the media involved,” Tali told me. “This school can be so powerful and life changing, and shape your life, and now it will be that much easier and better, with less frustration and anger and fear.”

After Mars’ departure was announced, many teachers were elated, with some dancing in celebration. Now, I’m told, cautious optimism is setting in about LaGuardia’s future, although a lot of damage has been done.

Tali, meanwhile, said she and some other LaGuardia students have learned that “tangible change can happen.”

She added, “We keep making jokes that we should write an op-ed about how to get rid of a principal.”

*Update: This story has been updated to include David Bloomfield’s affiliations with CUNY and Brooklyn College.
Categories: News

Hundreds of LaGuardia High School students staged a sit-in of school hallways on May 31, ultimately resulting in the removal of the school's principal, Lisa Mars. JORDAN NASS-DEMAUSE
Opponents Of Former LaGuardia Principal Say Ouster Was Over Diversity, Not Just Arts

On June 24th, shortly after she sent an email to students saying she’d be skipping this year’s graduation, it was reported that Dr. Lisa Mars, the embattled principal of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, was finally stepping down after six years.

Mars cited “personal reasons” for her absence at graduation, and Council of School Supervisors and Administrators President Mark Cannizzaro told The Wall Street Journal that she had already been considering a new position. But her departure as principal came after years of protests by LaGuardia students, parents, and teachers, including an hours-long sit-in hundreds of students staged on May 31st.

It has been widely reported that the protests were sparked by Mars's decision to prioritize academics over the arts. But those who helped push Mars out say there’s more to the story than what some have portrayed as a mutiny by entitled kids with an allergy to algebra.

“A lot of news sources are turning this into, ‘We don’t want to learn or take advanced classes,’” says Cali Greenbaum, who served as tech theater rep in LaGuardia’s student government before graduating last month. “That’s not true. We want a good education; we just want an even focus on academics and the arts.”

Unlike at other specialized high schools in New York City, LaGuardia—which evolved from the High School of Performing Arts, the inspiration for the movie and TV series Fame, and which has produced dozens of well-known graduates, including actor Timothée Chalamet, comedian Michael Che, and rapper/actor Awkwafina—does not use standardized test scores as its basis for admission. Instead, prospective students are assessed based on an audition or art portfolio and their middle-school academic record.

But since Mars's arrival in 2013, according to a report by NBC New York, any student who fails to get an 80 or better in any core academic subject (English, math, science, or social studies) in middle school is summarily rejected, regardless of artistic talent.

It's a requirement that Mars's opponents say only ends up penalizing students who failed to attend middle schools with strong academic support systems. “Who are any of us in middle school?” asks Lauren Kinhan, whose daughter recently graduated from LaGuardia. “I would like to think that at 13 and 14 years old, you still have a chance to go to LaGuardia, regardless of what zip code you live in.”

In fact, complaints about the admissions process becoming less arts-focused surfaced years before Mars's arrival. Joseph Cassidy, then the principal of a middle school that sent many students to LaGuardia, lamented such changes in a 2000 New York Timesarticle. “Fifteen years ago [in 1985], it seemed LaGuardia would take the brilliant graffiti artist who didn't have good grades,” he said. “In the last five to ten years, they're also taking into account grades and attendance.”

At the same time, LaGuardia’s black population dropped and its Asian population increased dramatically. In 1989, the student body was about 37 percent white, 34 percent black, 19 percent Hispanic, and 9 percent Asian; by 1999, it was roughly 37 percent white, 25 percent black, 21 percent Hispanic, and 16 percent Asian. Today, it is around 46 percent white, 18 percent Hispanic, 19 percent Asian, 7 percent multiracial—and only 10 percent black, in a city that is 24 percent black.

LaGuardia’s decreasing diversity is particularly distressing to those who graduated in the 1990s, when the school was more racially mixed. Natalie DeVito, who graduated from LaGuardia in 1992, recalls being friends with Alexis Cruz, “a Puerto Rican kid from the Bronx” who has acted professionally since age 9.

Cruz says that he was a C student in middle school, but when he went to LaGuardia, his grades improved. “I had first heard about it in elementary school, and I was like, ‘Wait, that place in the TV show—that’s for real?’” he tells Gothamist. He says he saw the school as a place where his talents were nurtured, helping him to begin to evolve from the child actor he was to the working actor he is today.

For Cruz, LaGuardia was also a place to “escape from the Bronx,” and the first time in his life when he regularly interacted with people who weren’t black or Hispanic. That exposure to a wider world, he said, was “hugely important for our world view,” and certainly didn’t require “stellar grades” in middle school.

DeVito says kids like Cruz are not being given the same chances to succeed now. “In the nearly 30 years since I graduated, New York City kids did not become less talented," she says. "If you have a drop in one demographic, it’s not because those kids became less talented singers and dancers and musicians. Obviously the metrics we are using to assess worthiness for this school are broken.”

Under Mars, recent students say, the admissions changes were technological as well as ideological. Christina Lok, who served as student government secretary and graduated this year, says the admissions process used to be “more attentive to what made you an artist.” Now, she says, “students are graded on an iPad and rated on talent on a scale from 1 to 5. You can’t put a number on art.”

Kinhan, who says her daughter maintained a high GPA throughout school, resents the implication that LaGuardia parents and students were agitating for the school to be less academically driven. The main issue, she says, was that Mars “slowly and steadfastly continued to chip away at the fabric of the mission,” slashing rehearsal time and emphasizing Advanced Placement classes to the detriment of LaGuardia’s world-class student art and musical and theatrical performances.

Greenbaum says Mars clearly didn’t understand the school’s mission “to help kids who are talented in the arts thrive academically as well," Greenbaum is headed to the University of Colorado at Boulder to study aerospace engineering, a field she says she never would have pursued if not for her experience in tech theater at LaGuardia, where she acquired a host of technical skills, from set building to lighting to stage management, and decided she could be an engineer.

At the same time, parents, students, and graduates have complained that Mars' administration instilled what Lok calls “a sense of fear” and DeVito describes as “threats and bullying.” Many teachers left the school during Mars’ tenure, DeVito says, and others would only voice complaints anonymously because they “feared retribution.”

Dr. Paula Washington, an alumna, LaGuardia parent, LaGuardia teacher, and union chapter leader who will retire in January 2020, describes Mars as “charming, beautiful, and sociopathic.” She says the former principal had threatened parents and teachers who challenged her, including by convincing one teacher that she had the power to withhold her pension.

LaGuardia, Washington says, should foster different kinds of intelligence. So what if a child shows great artistic promise but has weak grades in certain academic subjects, she asks: “We’re teachers; we can help them.”

Shortly before the May sit-in, Washington organized a vote in which 119 LaGuardia teachers cast a vote of “no confidence” in Mars’ commitment to support and foster the school’s dual mission. (Only 15 supported the principal.) In 2017, the music teachers had revolted against cutbacks imposed by Mars, issuing a blistering joint statement that read, in part, “If your intention is to further erode morale, accelerate faculty turnover, and sabotage our dual mission by phasing out music, then your actions make sense.”

Neither Mars nor LaGuardia assistant principal Justin Mackey responded to requests for comment. In an emailed statement, DOE spokesperson Will Mantell said, "We thank Dr. Mars for her leadership, and we’re collaborating closely with LaGuardia’s community to find the next principal for the school and continue its proud history of excellence."

LaGuardia’s student-led protest stands out for its effectiveness in ousting a principal not accused of committing a crime, misrepresenting credentials, or failing to prevent violence. Though it's not entirely unprecedented: Two years ago, students at Townsend Harris High School in Queens—where Lisa Mars served as an assistant principal before being hired as LaGuardia principal—successfully protested to prevent the permanent appointment of acting principal Rosemarie Jahoda, who they said had not respected the school’s humanities tradition and failed to address unfair treatment of students of color.

Brooklyn College education law professor David Bloomfield, whose son attended LaGuardia from 2004 to 2008, tells Gothamist he believes the DOE removed Mars “because of all the publicity.” Similar conflicts over academics emphasis vs. arts were present prior to Mars's arrival, he notes, adding that the speed with which this all came to a head in the last month is surprising, especially since the removal of a principal is relatively rare and “usually done more quietly.”

Bloomfield told Hechinger Report earlier this week that Mars's opponents at LaGuardia were comparatively lucky, noting that plenty of less high-profile schools may have poor-performing principals as well: "Who is sitting down with these principals when they are struggling in terms of their leadership and school community relationships?"

Without the publicity that student protestors were able to get, Bloomfield tells Gothamist, it's unlikely Mars would have been removed. “I don’t think [DOE] would have moved on a less prestigious school without this kind of media attention," he says. "They didn’t even move on this school without media attention.”

Those who fought to oust Mars say they have warm feelings for several DOE officials. Many lauded Manhattan High Schools Superintendent Vivian Orlen, who attended LaGuardia’s graduation ceremony in Mars’ stead and delivered a well-received speech, and Executive Superintendent Marisol Rosales.

DeVito also praised Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza—who, depending on your perspective, is either going too far in attempting to integrate city schools, or failing to set goals precise enough to make a real difference—for his sensitivity and responsiveness. “There’s obviously a [diversity] problem here,” she said. “Pretending it doesn’t exist is not doing any favors for our city.”

Washington is blunt about what LaGuardia needs next: “a new principal with a passion for the arts.” According to a letter sent to LaGuardia parents by Superintendent Orlen’s office, Orlen and Rosales are currently interviewing candidates for an interim acting principal, but there won’t be an official posting for the principal job until the fall, at which point all qualified candidates, including the interim acting principal, will be able to apply. Resumes are also being collected for all vacant teaching positions and one assistant principal position.

At the same time, Isabel Janovsky, a former member of LaGuardia’s student government who graduated last month, said Mars—who has been reappointed to a position as a DOE senior advisor—deserves the same respect as any other human being. “We’re not attacking her personal character or saying she’s unfit for any position in general,” Janovsky said. “We’re just saying that what she has displayed as a leader is not where we want to be as a school right now.”

Update July 4th, 2019: This story has been updated with a statement from the Department of Education.

 LaGuardia High principal won’t attend graduation
 NY POST, June 24, 2019

From Betsy Combier:
This ouster of Mars was in the works for a long time:

Petition claims LaGuardia High School has hit sour note with academic push, NY Daily News, August 19, 2016 Petition:
Bring Fame Back to the "Fame" School!

What if Timothée Chalamet, Robert DeNiro, or Jennifer Aniston didn't have the chance to study drama at a high school for the arts?

What if Ben Vereen or Desmond Richardson weren’t able to study dance; or Nicki Minaj and Pinchas Zuckerman, music; or Milton Glaser, art?

The world would be a poorer place without their enormous contributions. Fortunately, they went to the best high school in the country for artistically gifted students - Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in NYC. Unfortunately, the next generation of talented artists may not have the same opportunity to develop their skills.

Since the 2013 arrival of principal Dr. Lisa Mars, LaGuardia's admission process has been radically altered in favor of academic scores and attendance records. With these new admission criteria, talent counts for only 14% of the admission decision.* As a result, hundreds of qualified and gifted students have been denied admission.

This change not only defies the 80-year-old mission of the Fameschool, it also violates the Hecht-Calandra Act of 1971, which gives specialized high schools the unique power to choose their students based on a specific set of criteria.

We demand that the Department of Education return the admission criteria to those consistent with the law and the original mission of the school.

The Facts
The Hecht-Calandra law provides that candidates for a specialized arts high school be required to “pass competitive examinations in music and/or the arts in addition to presenting evidence of satisfactory achievement.” However, since 2013, applicants who do not have at least a grade of 80 in every core academic subject are rejected, regardless of their audition score. So a student can receive a perfect 100 on their audition but be rejected because of a 79 they got in junior high school math.
According to the 2015/16 Department of Education School Survey:

- Only 13% of LaGuardia's teachers say they trust the principal

- Only 12% of teachers say the principal is an effective manager who makes the school run smoothly

- Only 16% of teachers say that the principal places the needs of children ahead of her personal interests

- The United Federation of Teachers is now publicly behind this petition and has given Dr. Mars a vote of no confidence.

- According to the 2017-18 School Performance Dashboard, Dr. Mars received a stunning 1.44 for Trust (out of 4.99), far below standards.

The esteemed legacy of LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts must continue. By our signatures below, we demand a return to admission requirements consistent with the Hecht-Calandra law and effective leadership for the school.

* This percentage was for the 2013/14 school year, provided by a Freedom of Information Law request. Requests for subsequent years’ admission statistics have gone unanswered.