Friday, July 10, 2015
Chancellor Carmen Farina Fails Yet Again.
With much fanfare, educators in New York City looked forward to a new era now that Michael Bloomberg and his non-educators no longer were in charge at the DOE and installed policies that made teaching in the New York City classroom a more hostile environment. Unfortunately, very little has changed when Mayor Bill de Blasio placed Carmen Farina in charge of the New York City schools. Ms. Farina has basically followed the Bloomberg era policies and the few things she actually changed, like the elimination of the Children First Networks, and criteria for the Leadership Academy were the ideas of her arch nemesis, Eric Nadelstern, who allegedly pushed her out and into retirement back in the early years of Chancellor Joel Klein's tenure. When it came to other Bloomberg era policies, like the ATR crisis, fair student funding, education on the cheap, and large class sizes, nothing changed. Yes, she gave Superintendents back their authority but some of her picks smacked of cronyism and not competence. One of her primary goals was to remove the 400 principals she believed should not be running their schools. However, saying it is one thing, doing it is another and in this she has failed miserably.
Take the latest travesty, the removal of Principal Kathleen Elvin of Dewey High School in Brooklyn. Despite pleas from Dewey staff and allegations of credit accumulation fraud that resulted in a suspected large increase in graduation rates, Chancellor Carmen Farina failed to remove the Principal. Interestingly, Principal Elvin was selected by then Superintendent Amiee Horowitz, who apparently ignored complaints by Dewey staff about Principal Elvin and her questionable policies before she moved on to head the renewal schools program. Yes, the same Amiee Horowitz that discontinued a highly competent Science teacher who reported Regents cheating at her school. The story is Here.
As far back as when Carmen Farina took over as Chancellor, she was apparently informed of the problems at John Dewey High School but chose to ignore it. Instead, it was the John Dewey staff that contacted SCI, who dumped it to OSI for review. OSI apparently sat on the case for over a year as the DOE was hoping the issue would blow over and let the Principal continue her reign of terror on veteran staff and the bloated graduation rate that made the DOE look like their policies were successful. However, the Dewey staff, sensing that little was going to happen if they let OSI sit on the investigation, took it to the WCBS-TV and the New York Post who blow the phoney "credit recovery" program wide open. The "credit recovery" scam was known as "easy pass" by students and staff alike and was a joke.
Interestingly, the DOE leadership kept the Principal in place, despite the media onslaught and Chancellor Carmen Farina even said that most of the accusations were unsubstantiated! However, the media pressure was unrelenting from both WCBS-TV and the New York Post and OSI had no choice to complete and publish the investigation. What was their conclusion? That much of the "credit recovery program" was a sham with no instruction and work that consisted of packets that in many cases were not completed.
Confronted with the overwhelming evidence of "credit recovery" fraud, Chancellor Carmen Farina changed her tune and now says that she has removed Principal Elvin and will fire her.. It only took eighteen months after the Chancellor was informed for Farina to very reluctantly remove Principal Elvin. If she was a teacher how long would it have taken to remove her? Probably one day. As we see the DOE "double standard" remains alive and well under the disappointing Chancellor Carmen Farina who protected the Principal for eighteen months as too many students were graduated, unprepared academically and shows once again that she has failed the students of the New York City schools.