Fed-up parents abandon failing schools

Juana Zapata asked to help her daughter’s kindergarten teacher at P.S. 274 on Bushwick Avenue, but her overture went unanswered.

“She had all these kids to teach by herself and nobody to help her,” Zapata said. “It’s two blocks from my house. Why not take the help?”

People in the office ignored her when she stopped in to check on her daughter’s progress. The teacher didn’t return her phone calls. The principal was too busy to talk with her. Handouts about afterschool and weekend programs were sent home after the deadlines had passed. When her daughter was in first grade, the teacher started paperwork to classify her daughter as in need of special education services. Zapata was taken aback.

Child asthma rates soar in Bushwick

Jennifer Mora lives with her 4-year-old son Devin in an apartment with one window. For most people, the lack of natural light would be an inconvenience, but for Devin, it’s potentially life-threatening: poor ventilation can trigger his asthma. Devin reflects a growing problem in north Brooklyn. An estimated one in 20 children in Bushwick and Williamsburg suffer from asthma.