Sunday, April 22, 2018

Violence, Threats, And Bullying Against School Staff Increases Under Bill De Blasio.

When Bill de Blasio became Mayor, he weakened the student discipline code, allowed student cellphones use in the schools, and reduced student misbehavior that had previously resulted in arrests or suspensions.  The result was that the De Blasio administration shwed student arrests and suspensions wewre down and the schools were safer. While school arrests and suspensions are down, due to lax discipline rules, school have becoming more unsafe.

The New York Post had an article that showed an increase in student assaults and threats against staff.  The numbers are very disturbing.

  •  2016-17,  10.825 incidents.
  • 2015-16,   10,357 incidents.
  • 2014-15,    9.686 incidents.
The latest numbers show an unacceptable increase of 4,5% from the previous year and a 11.8% increase from two years ago.

“The mayor’s narrative is that the schools are safer, crime is down. These stats show crime is not down. Assaults are high, threats are high,” said school-agent union leader Gregory Floyd.
“I’ve said from the beginning of the de Blasio administration, the schools are out of control.”

The bottoim line is that the schools are more unsafe then ever.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Is The DOE Really Collaborating With Teachers?

and that they have a good relationship with the teachers union and teachers in general.  The truth is the classroom teacher finds the DOE the enemy and for good reason.

First, the DOE continues to impose Fair Student Funding on schools that penalize schools who hire veteran teachers and forced principals to"hire the cheapest rather than the best teachers for their school".

Second, the DOE only funds the schools at 90% of their fair funding.  While the bloated bureaucracy continues to eat up precious funds.

Third, the DOE continues to target veteran teachers through the 3020-a process as the numbers are as high as in the Bloomberg era.anti-teacher  Danielson program to evaluate teachers and insists on four observation per year.

Rather then the DOE being a correlative partner, they are considered the enemy of the classroom teacher and for good reason.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Chancellor Carranza's Idea Of An Effective School.

Chancellor Richard Carranza visited Staten Island and told the local media his six key components that makes an effective school.  They are as follows:
  1. Strong leadership
  2. Excellent teachers.
  3. Strong and varied curriculum.
  4. School and classroom organization.
  5. Social and emotional learning.
  6. Parent outreach and empowerment.
While I agree with the new Chancellor on all but one item.   However, let's see if he practices what he is preaching by removing the far too many bad and incompetent principals in the system.  When Carmen Farina was appointed Chancellor she mentioned that there were 400 principals that need to be removed.  How many did she actually remove?  About a handful. Let's see if the new Chancellor actually removes the weak leadership that are common in the New York City Public School system.

When it comes to excellent teachers, since the Guliani era the word"excellent" means inexpensive and untenured teachers.   Memo to the Chancellor, there are many excellent teachers in the ATR pool aand many veteran teachers will transfer if it wasn't for DOE hiring policy that penalizes principals  who hire veteran teachers,  The Fair Student Funding formula needs to be eliminated before the word "excellent" means what it should mean.

Eliminate or severely reduce "credit recovery" courses.  Stop imposing scholarship requirements, and make the courses "college and career" ready. Only 3 out of every 10 students are ready for the adult world.

If social and emotional learning means restorative justice instead of a suspension or does it mean giving out "warning cards" instead of being arrested, then I am skeptical.

To the Chancellor, its one thing to say what is needed, its another thing to get the bloated Bureaucracy at the DOE to implement those changes.  You can read what the new Chancellor proposed Here.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Academic Fraud Is Pervasive In The NYC Public School System.

One of the challenges the new Chancellor must address and correct is the "academic fraud" issue.  While graduation rates keep going up, the "college and career readiness" rates are abysmally low, with 3 out of every 4 high school graduates are  subject to no credit remedial course work and many employers complain that the high school graduates are found lacking in academic skills to do the job properly.

The academic fraud is due to DOE pressure on schools to raise their graduation rate "by any means possible".  That includes "credit recovery" programs that lack any rigor or even an instructor!, scholarship quotas that require up to 85% of the students in the classroom to pass, and Principal pressure to pass failing students or get a negative evaluation.

In yesterday's New York Post there was an Opinion piece by a retired teacher who worked at John Dewey High School and described how the DOE stubbornly refused to take action against the Principal for her "easy pass" program that skyrocketed the graduation rate but hurt students academically.  You can read it Here.

Academic fraud is pervasive throughout the school system and is a running joke.  Until and unless the new Chancellor addresses the academic fraud issue, all other changes will not alter the educational landscape where students graduate unprepared for the real world.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Governor Cuomo Rescues The Unions From Janus


The New York State budget supported by Governor Andrew Cuomo has tucked away in it two new pro union items.  First and foremost is the right for the union to eliminate union benefits, other than salary and basic health benefits from members who "opt out" paying union dues.  You can read it Here

For example for teachers the disciplinary 3020-a hearings for educators will require the educator to pay for private lawyers rather than be represented by NYSUT attorneys.  Moreover, welfare benefits can be withheld, depending if it's contractual.  Finally, internal investigations might require the educator to hire a private lawyer to  represent them rather than be supplied by a union official when interviewed by investigators.

The other item tucked into the budget is that union dues are fully deductible by the State.  Obviously Governor Cuomo is appealing for union support and wants to put in the past his pro charter school stance, the underfunded .education budget,  and the punitive teacher evaluation system he rammed through despite teacher oppositionLet's not forget his support for education deformer John King as NYSED ChancellorOnce he is reelected look for the Governor to change his pro union position once again.

I guess most of us will still be paying union dues even after the Janus decision. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The New Chancellor Questions The Renewal Program

Less than a month on the job, Chancellor Richard Carranza has already questioned the Renewal Program and the ever changing criteria used to determine if a Renewal school closes or stays open.
According to the new Chancellor, everybody he speaks to have a different idea what the goals are.  Welcom3e to the DOE Mr. Carranza, where up is down and down is up.

The reason the new Chancellor is confused about the goals of the Renewal program is that most Renewal schools are overseen by failed administrators who were removed from their schools for various reasons.  The overall supervising superintendent was Ammie Horowitz who has been refereed many times in this blog.

If the Chancellor wants to change the Renewal program he must do the following:

  • Attract academically proficient students.
  • Reduce the high teacher turnover.
  • Encourage experienced teachers to apply.
  • Reduce the bloated Renewal program administration.
  • Stop making it a dumping ground for failed administrators.
Then and only then will the Renewal Schools have a real chance to escape the Renewal program.