Thursday, September 01, 2011
If I Was The Chancellor It Will Really Be "Children First" Not "Tweed First, Children Last" As It Is Now.
It is September and the beginning of a new school year but unfortunately, we have the same old failed system run by those non-educators at Tweed along with a puppet Chancellor, the Mayor's poodle, Dennis Walcott. For people who had hoped for change with the new Chancellor, they have been disappointed yet again. The Chancellor has adopted all the failed policies of Joel Klein, and Mayor Bloomberg. That had me thinking about what would I do if I became Chancellor of the New York City Schools.
First, and immediately, I would restore the 13.7% cuts to the schools and reduce class size for better student learning. I would use the CFE State money to achieve that purpose. Presently, the DOE uses the money for other purposes. Furthermore, I would eliminate the "fair student funding" formula that penalizes almost all schools and at some middle class schools have resulted in a 20% reduction of much needed funding. (Interestingly, Charter schools are exempt from the "fair student funding" formula. I wonder why?) The teachers would come from the 1,940 ATRs, many of them experienced and quality teachers who just want a chance to get back into a classroom in their district. This would wisely allocate the $125 million dollars that is presently being wasted by the present Chancellor.
Second, eliminate the 62 "Children First Networks" (CFN) and their clusters and give the Administrative responsibility back to the District Superintendents. Realistically, you can eliminate many layers of bureaucracy and reduce the headcount by up to 75% with the elimination of the CFNs and their clusters. Moreover, no longer will many of these positions at the CFNs be put on the school budgets unless the schools and their "School Based Leadership Team" unanimously agree to fund the position. Presently, many principals complain that precious funds are being siphoned away to pay for increasing levels of bureaucracy at the CFNs. Here are some examples of this.
Third, hire an independent efficiency expert by competitive bidding, to identify administrative bloat, redundancy, and unnecessary positions at the DOE Central Bureaucracy. This should include scrutinizing consultant contracts, as well as assigning a numerical grade on each and every contract that affects the school system and in particular, the classroom. No longer will money be wasted in hiring questionable positions. We all remember this.
Fourth, bring back schools as neighborhood schools and ensure that struggling schools get extra resources to help those schools succeed. Instead of closing the schools the schools would get a crisis group of "great educators" (principals and teachers) who will observe, model, and review school safety and discipline procedures. Rewrite the Chancellor Regulations on A-420 and A-421 to give more leeway for school staff to discipline students without fear of retribution and termination. Presently, any school staff member can be brought up on 3020-a charges for a nasty look, a stare, a word, or for any physical contact. Only serious verbal abuse or corporal punishment should and will be subject to discipline.
Fifth, stop the destructive practice of co-locating Charter schools with existing schools. No longer will Charter schools exclude students with disabilities or English language learners. These Charter schools will have the same representation of student diversity as the neighborhood school. Moreover, if Charter schools are found to consul out struggling students rather than provide the services the student needs, the Chancellor has the right, no the obligation, to reduce or even suspend funding to the school.
Finally, restructure Tweed and put a majority of educators in the leadership positions. Presently, there is only one educator in the Chancellor's inner circle. Is it any wonder that there is a disconnect between Tweed and the schools?
Also on my agenda would be the elimination of the "double standard" between disciplining teachers and administrators, no funding of the infamous "Principal Leadership Academy" and requiring a minimum of 10 years of classroom teaching before an educator can become a Principal. In addition, there will be no hiring of outside teachers unless there are no teacher in excess available in that subject area and administrators found to have violated the rules, or abused their staff will be subject to termination.
As Chancellor I will reduce class size, put experienced teachers back into the classroom, and reduce the bloat at the DOE. This is what I call "children first" and so would you.
Hmmm Chancellor Chaz. It has a nice ring to it.