One of the more despicable education policies under the Bloomberg Administration was the introduction of the "fair student funding" (fsf) formula for the NYC public schools. The "fsf" forced principals to consider their tight budgets when hiring staff and the student's academic needs became secondary to the school budget.
For decades the school staff salaries were paid by DOE Central, which was based upon the student population at the school and were given a set number of staff members. When it came to teachers, the schools did not have to take salary into consideration and many principals would hire highly experienced educators for their schools. However, after the infamous 2005 contract, the school funding formula was changed and the DOE decided to empower the schools by giving the principals control of their budget. Unfortunately, the majority of schools have found themselves funding programs and consultants out of their own budget as the average school budget shrank by 14% over the last seven years. A bad bargain indeed.The worst was the "fsf" which forced schools to hire the "cheapest" and not the "best teachers" for their students. Additionally, principals had to pay for services that were once paid for by DOE Central and another significant chunk of money was used to pay for the useless and money-sucking "Children First Network" that the school was forced to join with.
The ""fsf" policies added to the closing down of 163 schools under Michael Bloomberg's tenure has resulted in a 2,000+ ATR pool, primarily composed of older and highly experienced quality teachers.that principals couldn't or wouldn't hire Therefore, the influx of inexpensive "newbie" teachers, some not even certified to teach in the classroom and the "Leadership Academy " principals the run the schools is simply a recipe for failure and shows up in the poor student academic achievement scores over the last half of a decade. Moreover, the income/racial/ academic achievement gap has actually widened which shows the failure of using the "fsf".
If Chancellor Carmen Farina actually wants to improve student academic achievement and .narrow the income/racial achievement gap, here is what she must do:
- Eliminate the "fair student funding" policy.
- Clean house at Tweed and the DOE.
- Reduce class sizes, the largest in the State.
- No more "sixth periods" to encourage teacher hiring.
- Remove principals that can't or won't collaborate with staff.
- Stop using uncertified teachers who teach out of license.
If the NYC schools are to see real student academic achievement and start to reduce the already too wide income/racial achievement gap, the Chancellor must eliminate the "fsf" and require principals to hire from the ATR pool for those quality teachers that their schools lack. So far Chancellor Carmen Farina's tenure has been, to say the least, very disappointing as she is more of the problem and not the solution when it comes to improving the schools.