Now that Michael Bloomberg and his poodle ex-Chancellor Dennis Walcott are gone. Its time for the new Chancellor, Carmen Farina to do some very extensive housecleaning at the Department of Education (DOE). In other words "its time to take the trash out". At Tweed, there is plenty of "trash" that needs to go. First in line should be Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky who provided cover for the last two non-educator chancellors, participated in closing schools and long forgot his teaching roots to please the Mayor on his quest to destroy the teaching profession.
Next Carmen Farina should be asking and accepting the resignation of the "gang of eighteen", almost all non-educators, who implemented the destructive Bloomberg education policies that resulted in the closing of 166 schools and his "education on the cheap" policy that excluded parents, antagonizing school staff, and hurt the students.
Moreover, the Chancellor must eliminate the bureaucratic bloat that is legendary at the DOE. Hopefully, the new Chancellor cuts the overhead by eliminating managerial and legal positions and reducing consultant contracts. In addition, giving the geographically placed Superintendent offices the power and responsibility to provide direction to their schools by tasking over the tasks of the soon to disappear Children First Networks. The tremendous savings could be used to give the schools the resources they need to succeed.
Finally, the Absent Teacher Reserve fiasco must be addressed and if the DOE is paying $160 million dollars for the ATRs, let's put them in a school for the semester and help schools by making them a "co-teacher" or a "push in teacher. This is what's needed to help the students, not the demoralizing and useless weekly rotation system. By next school year the Central Bureaucracy should be given the responsibility for staff salaries and not the schools and the (un)fair student funding formula should be eliminated and the ATR pool should be a thing of the past.
In order of priority, here is what I hope the new Chancellor does before the end of the school year.
- Extensive housecleaning at Tweed.
- Eliminate the Children First Networks.
- Streamline the Central Bureaucracy and give the saved funds to the schools.
- Review and sharply reduce the high-priced consultant contracts.
- Address the Absent Teacher Reserve issue.