Now that I voted online for the UFT election survey of how well the NYC Department Of Education (DOE) did in helping the classroom, it is now time to publish my own report card on how Tweed has preformed in the classroom for the 2008-09 school year.
My report card is divided into five categories. They are:
- Class Size
- The Classroom
- Civil Rights (age discrimination & student segregation)
Discipline: Tweed has turned their collective heads when it comes to student discipline. Many of the Principals fail to enforce the Chancellor's Regulations for fear of being labeled a "dangerous school". Best to ignore student violence, misbehaviour, and bullying then to get on Tweed's radar screen. The result is that the school staff is in mortal fear for their health and safety as well as low morale. While Treed looks the other way on student discipline the same cannot be said on disciplining teachers. Tweed takes a "zero tolerance policy" on teacher discipline. A student or administrator just needs to allege teacher misconduct and the teacher is assumed "guilty" and is removed to the "rubber room". Presently, there are 800+ teachers whom have been removed from the classroom throughout the city. This figure for teacher removal is the highest ever. Grade "F".
Funding: The NYC Public Schools have been told to cut the budget by 5% but with rising staff salaries, the effective cut is 8.5% for the typical school. However, the Tweed supported Charter Schools are exempt from the budget cuts and in fact Tweed allocated 1.2 billion dollars of scarce school construction funds to Charter Schools. Furthermore, look for only token cuts from Tweed's central bureaucracy with the bulk of the cuts occurring at the regional offices. Finally, the poor contracting of services and equipment by Tweed has caused massive cost overruns or more expensive equipment and of course, more money allocated to questionable services and equipment. See the Daily News article about it. Grade "F".
The Classroom: Many of the classrooms are in various state of disrepair, lack technology, and have antiquated furniture and blackboards. The Daily News piece by Arthur Goldstein states it best. Further, the classroom teacher must teach a "one-size-fits-all" program that is not appropriate for all students. Under Tweed's directives, the teacher must follow the program and there is no such thing as "let teachers teach" as they see fit for the best results of the children. The result is that many teachers are being charged with incompetence when the fault are the morons who allowed this program to be taught at all. Also, the mindless test preparation directive limits a whole academic education and student development. Moreover, the increased paperwork and the long hours teachers must spend to finish the paperwork increases the stress the teacher already suffers from. Finally, the continuing teacher disrespect by Tweed and the poor teacher morale earns Tweed a Grade "F".
Civil Rights: The 1400 ATRs and 800+ "rubber room" teachers are dominated by senior teachers most of them over 50 years of age. The Tweed policy is to hire "newbie teachers" for their "education on the cheap" policy through the discredited "fair student funding" program. Furthermore, many of the small and Charter schools have a less diverse student body then the neighborhood schools that they replaced and in some cases practice gender discrimination. In fact, Michael Myers of the NYC Civil Rights Collation wrote about it. This separation of the student body by cultural orientation, religion, and gender is contrary to our country's identity of inclusiveness and the City as a melting pot for all people. Grade "F".
No matter how you look at it, Tweed's policies have hurt the NYC Public Schools in general and the classroom in particular. Therefore, Tweed's overall final grade is? You guessed it a "F".