Sunday, February 11, 2018
Flushing High School, How The DOE Destroyed A Potentially Great Neighborhood School.
Very soon, the entire staff of Flushing High School will reapply for their jobs thorough the 18D process that is simply a fig leaf for the DOE and Principal to choose who they want. Not what's best for the students of the school. The 18D process usually includes a committee that consists of three DOE employees, the Principal, a representative from Tweed, and another DOE representative, either from the Superintendent's office or an assistant principal from the school. The other two come from the UFT, usually the District Representative and another from the Borough office. The result is usually a 3 to 2 vote with the DOE holding the majority.
Because of Fair Student Funding and recession era school budgets, the 50% of staff members selected usually consists of the cheapest teachers and most of the lower paid employees like paraprofessionals, school aides, and support service personnel. The only veteran teachers selected are the lead teacher of each subject area, while the rest are usually not selected. The result is the majority of teachers selected are usually untenured and the rest will be new to the system. Most veteran teachers will be jettisoned to the ATR pool. The result is far less than 50% of the teachers will find themselves back at the school in their position next year.
The DOE decided that teachers are the blame for the poor results at Flushing High School and not the administration or the students. Flushing High School has had six principals since 2011 and each one of them had issues. One was arrested with drugs near the school. Another was found guilty by a jury for sexual harassment and retaliation, a third alienated the entire staff and fled to the suburbs. The only one that lasted more than a year was removed for trying to interfere with teacher surveys and stopped a student newspaper from being published. Let's not forget some of his questionable academic policies. His claim to fame was calling the principal's job at the school like the "hunger games"You can read some of the issues with the previous principals Here, Here, and Here.
When it comes to the school, the student body is unrepresentative of the community. Flushing High School is in the middle of Flashing's Chinatown and the neighborhood surrounding the school is 85% East Asian. However, the school's student body is 80% Black and Hispanic with Asians only representing 17% of the student body. Eliminate the South Asian students and the East Asian percentage is probably in the single digits. I taught at the school in the 2011-12 school year and it was a real hellhole. Read my post Here. The majority of Black and Hispanic students that go to Flushing High School live many mikes from the school and can take up to two hours to arrive at the school from Southeast Queens or Elmhurst. Showing up late or not at all is a common problem at the school. Combine that with the large "high needs" population and it's no wonder that the academic problems persist at the school.
How does the DOE expect the school to improve with a relatively inexperienced staff and the same student body? The answer is they don't. The DOE just wants to reduce school salaries and push veteran teachers out of the system. It's not about what's best for the students.