On the first day of students my school received an unpleasent surprise, a boatload of NYPD's finest showed up at the school. What were they doing at my school? Our halls are clear of students during classroom instrunction, our student population have not participated in crimes that would put us into the impact school category, we have improved our Math & English statistics under NCLB, and our school saftey scores were the highest(best) ever. Our school safety scores have almost always been near the top for all NYC high schools! Why the police?
Well, it seems my school is on the Tweed radar screen because the school refused the Tweed offer of putting cameras in the hallways, entrances, and lockerooms (big brother). Further, Tweed has already proposed that my school be reorganized into small schools, which was defeated and rejected by the banding together of the teachers, administrators, students, and community leaders. Finally, Tweed took a beating on dumping many students who were not selected by the small schools that replaced the closing down of other large high schools on selected high schools in Queens including my school.
What was Tweed to do? How can they punish a large traditional high school that dares to fight the mighty powers of Tweed? First, Tweed reversed course and not only stopped dumping excess students into my school but limited the amount of students entering our school. This resulted in a budget reduction and caused the excessing of five teachers ---more about them later. Second, Tweed apparently pressured our principal (or so he claims) to use precious budget money to pay for non-educators to teach us how to keep in touch of our feelings. Finally, Tweed authorized the NYPD to flood our non-dangerous school with police officers. Does Tweed really think that armed police in our school is going to increase learning in the classroom? I think not!
What justification did Tweed use? I cannot be sure but I did hear they took into account our attendance figures, which are lower than the surrounding schools because of our "zero tolerance" policy that does not allow students to walk the halls, hangout in the back stairwells, or sneak into lthe cafeteria. With their only choices to either go to class or not go to school, many of these problem students become truants. The result is a quiet, safe school and an increased absense rate. Reasonable people would take this tradeoff but not the maniacs at Tweed. These are the same educrats (some have no experience in education) that see nothing wrong in sending overaged students from Rikers Island (jail) back to the very schools they terrorized in the first place! In their warped prorities the child is important but the children are not. Tweed also claimed they wanted to see a better graduation rate. How does the police presence increase the gradation rate? are they going to shoot the non-graduates? Will the police fan out from the school and track down the truants and forceabily bring them to school so they can graduate? Obviously, Tweed is trying to punish us for our refusing their generous offer of cameras in the school.
What can be done to stop Tweed from bullying our school? Well the only way to stop a bully is to hit back. In this case the union, PTA, politicians, and media must join together to expose Tweed's revenge on a school that didn't want any part of big brother in the school.
On a side note. All five of the excessed teachers failed to land a position in other schools. These teachers, all excessed because of the budget cut included our very popular ESL coordinator who nobody wanted to see leave. Well, thanks to Joel Klein's intimidation on hiring other school's excessed teachers, all are ATR's and hopefully will land a position before the next contract.
Remember, when Tweed attacks, you fight back!