Monday, March 24, 2014
As The Polar Vortex Finally Leaves Will A New Spring Finally Dawn On The DOE?
The end of a brutal and snowy winter is finally in sight and by week's end spring will appear and stay with us for the rest of the school year as the "polar vortex" finally retreats back to the Arctic, At the same time the De Blasio administration is in the process of negotiating a contract, complete with "retroactive raises", a fairer teacher evaluation system, and a less hostile supervision. Yes, it appears a thawing in relations between the City and the union appears upon us. A real change from the frozen contract negotiations under the Bloomberg administration.
Unlike the "polar vortex" which lasted only three months, the icy reception that the Bloomberg administration has directed at teachers lasted 12 years! During the Bloomberg/Klein/Walcott years we saw teacher disrespect increasing year after year while teacher rights were always under attack. Hopefully, Chancellor Carmen Farina will start her "spring cleaning" and send the DOE architects of the chilly Bloomberg years packing with the "polar vortex" .
Chancellor Carmen Farina has said that she intends to change the tone at the DOE, work on teacher retention, and collaborate with school staff for a better environment for student learning. However, it doesn't look like change is coming anytime soon since the new Chancellor has made few substantive changes of the Bloomberg DOE by keeping most of them in their positions and power base.
While the brutal cold of the "polar vortex" will be gone by next week, the chilly winds of the DOE's gotcha mentality"looks to remain in place for the remainder of the school year and maybe beyond. While the new Chancellor talks a good game her actions have been disappointing to date.
A final note. While the new Chancellor met with parents, principals, and students. She has made no effort to meet with teachers in the trenches. Curious and disturbing that our new Chancellor has made no effort to meet with the very people she needs to get on her side of issues that are important to the school system. I guess time will tell if Carmen Farina lives up to our expectations. So far she has been disappointing.