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Sunday, April 21, 2013
My Grade For Chancellor Dennis Walcott's Tenure Is A "F" For Failure!
The Daily News asked some high profile people in the education field, some not even being educators, what grade would they give Chancellor Dennis Walcott? Predictably, the education reformers gave him a passing grade while opponents to education reform gave him poor or failing grades. Interestingly, the Daily News failed to interview teachers to get their opinion of the job Chancellor Dennis Walcott has done. However, if you read the education blogs of New York City teachers it is very obvious that there is a near unanimous agreement that the Chancellor would receive a failing grade. Regardless of what UFT caucus you follow and support, MORE, New Action, or Unity, the Chancellor's job approval ratings are dismal. In fact, if the Chancellor was a student, he would need to go to "summer school" because of his failing grade from teachers.
Why do the New York City teachers despise the Chancellor? Let me count the ways.
First, and most importantly, the Chancellor blindly follows what the Mayor wants and not what is best for the students in the New York City schools. The Chancellor's lack of independent thought and deed from the Mayor has resulted in calls that the Chancellor is Mayor Bloomberg's "sock poppet"and "poodle". Even when the Chancellor tries to deviate from the Mayor, like an ATR buyout or the teacher evaluation system, he quickly retreated when the Mayor objected to the proposals. When you care more about the Mayor's wishes then what is best for the students, that makes you an uncaring and clueless leader.
Second, Dennis Walcott has refused to spend $240 million dollars of much needed money that a judge ordered released to the NYC schools and imposed cutbacks in school resources as a consequence of his wrongheaded decision. As a result class sizes have increased as teachers aren't being replaced and classes are merged. In fact, class sizes have increased throughout the Chancellor's inept tenure.
Third, he has shown to be a hypocrite time and again as he practices a"double standard" between disciplining
administrators and teachers. He wants to fire teachers based on mere accusations but fails to terminate administrators or managers who were found guilty of doing even worse! A Chancellor who has different rules for different people is a failure as a leader.
Fourth, the Chancellor has been blind to the complaints of teachers about the deteriorating classroom environment and the emphasis on test preparation at the expense of real learning. His failure to stop the increasingly hostile classroom environment and his ignoring of teacher complaints is a major reason for his failure as a Chancellor.
Finally, in 2012 the Chancellor and the Mayor made many mistakes when it came to their educational legacy and had a bad year. Things have not gotten any better in 2013 as even the City's Independent Budget Office found fault with the Chancellor as their report showed that schools scheduled for closing were a"dumping ground for high needs students"and that under Walcott, the DOE has starved these schools of resources.
In conclusion, Chancellor Dennis Walcott has been a failure as a leader of the New York City schools and deserves the grade of "F".