Friday, January 01, 2016
My Predictions For The Year Ahead.
The year ahead will see some significant changes in the New York City Public Schools. Some good and some bad and of course some being wishful thinking on my part. So here are my 2016 predictions.
Chancellor Carmen Farina: Look for the disappointing Chancellor to pack it in and permanently retire to Florida and be with her grandchildren as Mayor Bill de Blasio finally realizes that the Chancellor is more the problem than the solution in turning around the New York City Public Schools. Her failure to "clean house" at the DOE, retaining poorly performing principals, the continuation of the "fair student funding", and her failure to eliminate many of the Bloomberg/Klein polices that resulted in ever larger class sizes, frozen school budgets, and a bloated Central Bureaucracy at the DOE has resulted in little or no real academic achievement.
Unity caucus loses the high school seats: For the first time in nearly a decade the dissident caucus of MORE/New Action wins the Executive Board seats from the high schools bringing a real voice to policy proposed by the leadership of the UFT. Unfortunately, the Unity caucus will still have a large majority and will still pass whatever they want with more transparency and scrutiny that is lacking presently.
Union and Friedrichs: If the Supreme Court rules against the unions and make dues checkoff a voluntary item. Look for a majority of teachers to refuse to authorize the union to take their money. The TWU, when they lost the dues checkoff privilege in their strike, only 33% paid their dues voluntarily. Because of how well the UFT protects their retirees, I believe most of them will authorize their union to collect their dues. However, for active members the percentages will be drastically lower. As for me I will pay my dues. However, I will split it between the union, depending how response they become to my needs, and organizations like "Class Size Matters" and other pro teacher organization that are worthy of my support.
Teacher Shortage: The New York City Public Schools have become a revolving door for new teachers who are hired by schools subject to the restraints of fair student funding and flee the hostile classroom or school when a better opportunity presents itself. Moreover, the more stringent State tests and teacher evaluation system is making it increasingly difficult to recruit certified teachers while ever increasing numbers of veteran teachers are retiring, especially in the high poverty schools. Finally, the poor quality of principals discourage new teachers, who get little or no support and are discontinued or quit in ever larger numbers. With the teacher shortage spreading nationwide, look for the beginnings of the teacher shortage to rear it's ugly head this year. and next.
Unaccountable union leadership: One would think that our union leaders would want to show the skeptical membership that they represent them.. However, the arrogance of UFT President, Michael Mulgrew, and his entitlement that he can do as he pleases and screw the membership to please his political allies, will continue. An example is his agreeing, in advance, to continue the ATR provisions until 2018 that has made the ATRs a second class citizen.