Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The Mayor's Poodle, Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Demostrates Why He Is Clueless About The Classroom.
The Mayor's poodle, Chancellor Dennis Walcott, held a press conference where he stated that he will close 50 poorly preforming middle schools and replace them with Charter schools and new public schools. He will use the "turnaround model" which means replacing the leadership and 50% of the teaching staff, while leaving the students in the schools. UFT President MIchael Mulgrew responded to the Chancellor's speech by claiming " that all you are doing is rearranging the deck chairs". However, the most serious aspect of the Chancellor's middle school proposal will result in 2,000 more ATRs or a doubling of the current ATR population. Furthermore, the Chancellor apparently has the right to decide which teachers to keep based upon some obscure and undefined merit selection process. Since the Mayor has already stated that the "best teachers are our new teachers" and experience does not count in teaching, guess which teachers will be retained by the "turnaround schools"? Moreover, how many public school teachers will actually accept assignments in the new Charter schools? Not many, if any, since many of these Charter schools do not have the union benefits and teacher "due process" that the public school teachers do. That means some of the "turnaround schools" that become Charter schools will replace their entire teaching staff! Who will replace the teachers that leave or excessed from those schools? Well. the Chancellor already has solved this problem. He stated that the entire class of "Teaching Fellows", with their five weeks of training will be sent to the "turnaround schools". Yes, for the Mayor's poodle, Chancellor Dennis Walcott, the "best teachers" are those"newbie teachers" that cost the least amount of money. In other words its "education on the cheap".
I can just picture what will happen in a classroom as the "newbie teaching fellow" is confronted by the unruly middle school students who were largely responsible for the problems of the school in the first place. The "Teaching Fellow", with no classroom management skills, working in a new and challenging, if not hostile environment, and struggling with a new curriculum is just what the Chancellor ordered to improve these schools. Yeah right! If you really believe that "newbie teachers" are the answer then I have a Bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
Besides putting the entire recruiting class of "Teaching Fellows" in the "turnaround schools" some of the schools will be the first middle schools to participate in the online based IZONE, where students are essentially self-taught on computers with little teacher guidance. Even in the carefully selected high schools this technology based online program has received mixed reviews at best. Now the Chancellor and his minions naively believe that technology alone will succeed by making immature children responsible in a self-taught program that requires the academic discipline which many of them do not have. Finally, to make matters worse, the already large class sizes will continue as the Chancellor has no intention of lowering class size, an integral part of improving student academic achievement.
Let's see, the Chancellor expects improvements by replacing experienced teachers with poorly trained "newbie teachers" and in the IZONE schools no teacher, keeping large class sizes, and ignoring the social-economic problems these students are exposed to outside the school environment which is the primary cause of the problems with the failing schools. To me that is simply a fantasy and it shows how clueless the Chancellor really is about the what goes on in the classroom.