Saturday, September 06, 2014
The Education On The Cheap Era Continues Under The Disappointing Chancellor.
When Bill de Blasio replaced Michael Bloomberg as Mayor of New York City, many of us were looking forward to a new era of collaboration and respect. The new Mayor's selection of a long-term educator as Chancellor was also an encouraging sign as it signifies a change away from the failed business model which was the hallmark of the Bloomberg era. While the new Chancellor, Carmen Farina, has had a troubling past, she seemed like a breath of fresh air when compared to the top-down non-educators who were chancellors during the Bloomberg era. Even the UFT leadership hailed the new Chancellor as a person they can work with and UFT President, Michael Mulgrew, even hugged her. Unfortunately, in the first semester plus of Carmen Farina's tenure as Chancellor she has been a disappointment.
The Chancellor, has so far, failed to make any meaningful improvements in the schools and the classroom. First, she froze the already tight school budgets that has averaged 14% less than it was back in 2008. Second, she did not reduce class sizes, a campaign promise by the Mayor, third, she did not "clean house" and retained many of the architects of the destructive Bloomberg policies. Fourth, she retained the "fair student funding" that forces principals to hire the "cheapest" and not the "best teachers" for their schools. Fifth, she failed to get rid of the money sucking and useless Children First networks. Finally, the new Chancellor has targeted ATRs and made them "second class citizens".
In hindsight, Chancellor Carmen Farina does have a "dark side" that people seemed to ignore. Like the 80% turnover in staff when she was Principal, her rise to become a Deputy Chancellor under Joel Klein before being forced to retire, and this from Philip Nobile. In addition, Betsy Combier in her Rubber Room Reporter blog is a must read when going over the Chancellor's past. She has continues to suffer from verbal lapses such as her "its a beautiful day comment" during a monster snowstorm that trapped students in their schools. Moreover, her verbal attack on ATRs and her statement that she will train principals how to terminate them rather than encourage principals to hire them for their vacancies is not only unprofessional but continues the demonetization of the ATRs that started in the Bloomberg era. Most disturbing of all she told new teachers at a conference not to listen to those disgruntled veteran teachers in the lunch room.
With Carmen Farina as Chancellor do not expect any real academic improvement or a narrowing of the racial/income academic achievement gap as she continues the failed and destructive policies of the Bloomberg era. A very disappointing Chancellor is Carmen Farina as she continues to practice the "education on the cheap" policy of the Bloomberg era.