Sunday, March 12, 2017
Mayor Bill De Blasio's Education Grade Is A Failure.
When Bill de Blasio campaigned to be Mayor in 2013, his education platform was very impressive, It promised lower class sizes, an elimination of the despised Bloomberg Era education reform, and a more teacher friendly DOE where collaboration would replace confrontation. Moreover, he gave educators hope that Bloomberg era policies like school-based fair student funding, reassigned teachers for frivolous reasons, and the ATR crisis would be eliminated. Finally, he promised to fully fund the public schools and stop the closing of schools. How did the Mayor do in keeping his promises? Not good, not good at all.
The Mayor's first mistake was his selection of Carmen Farina as Chancellor. true, she's a long-term educator. However, she was also Joel Klein's Deputy Chancellor and is part of the problem not the solution. In fact, she retained 80% of the Bloomberg policymakers and as a result, few real changes happened in the Mayor's first term. Sure, she eliminated the useless and money sucking Children First Networks and gave back the Superintendents their authority. However, her selection of Superintendents left much to be desired. Further, she has keep the destructive fair student funding, froze school budgets and allowed DOE Central to continue their bloated ways. Worse, she has allowed the ATR crisis to fester and has no real solutions to resolve the issue. In addition, reassigned teachers were just as high as the last years of the Bloomberg era. Finally, her apathy for veteran teachers was summed up by her statement she made to a conference of "newbie" teachers in 2014 when she said the following:
"New teachers should avoid the teacher’s lunchroom during the first few weeks. It’s where “the whiners” go to gripe".
Her attitude about veteran teachers has been picked up by principals, especially the Leadership Academy drones, who have been indoctrinated by the Bloomberg/Klein ideology and its little wonder that veteran teachers are being harassed to resign or retire throughout the system.
Second, the Mayor has utterly failed to reduce class sizes, his main campaign promise. In fact even his Renewal Schools have class sizes at contractual limits. That's no thanks to Chancellor Carmen Farina who has allowed schools to continue to put their personal preferences over student academic achievement such as using teachers uncertified in the courses their teaching or allowing a sixth period, rather than hiring teachers certified in the content specialty.
Third, the schools remain underfunded at 89% of their fair funding, despite an ever increasing DOE budget. Far too many schools lack proper resources, books, and technology to properly run a classroom. Moreover, 25% of the New York City Public School classrooms have no air conditioning and school overcrowding is a problem in Western Queens. Finally, many of the small Bloomberg high schools have no gym space and nothing is done about the lack of physical activity.
Fourth, despite promises to the contrary, 17 schools have or will close by the end of the school year, many of them from the failed Renewal School program.
Finally, the Mayor has bought into the Bloomberg narrative of raising the graduation rate while ignoring the academic fraud that is associated with the rising graduation rate, like "credit recovery", online or blended learning, scholarship requirements, and Principal pressure to pass failing students.
Overall, I must give the Mayor a failing grade of an "F".