Sunday, July 15, 2018

Westchester Square Academy - Just Another High School Caught Using Bogus Online Courses.




























A wanna be screened high school trying to keep their academic reputation intact has been caught cheating by giving bogus online causes to jack up their graduation rate.  The New York Post has exposed more phony credit recovery abuses, thanks to Susan Edelman.

The school is Winchester Square High School in the Bronx and it tried to pattern itself after the selective Brooklyn Latin.  However, no Latin is taught and the school could only attract a thin vernier of academically proficient students.  If you go to school digger you find that school doesn't do better the the District 8 average and well below the State.  You get read that Here.

Here are some of the disappointing statistics about Westchester Square Academy High School in the Bronx.

  • Ranked 923 out of 1,221 NYC high schools or the lower 25%,
  • Only 25% of the teachers trust the Principal.
  • 23% of teachers feel the administration clearly communicates with them.
  • College readiness is only 31%, below the City average of 49%
  • The majority of teachers are untenured,
  • High teacher turnover.
Here is the school's snapshot and you can see that the administration is lacking good judgement and fails to collaborate with the staff..

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Protect The Child, Hurt The Children





















Chalkbeat wrote an article that made the connection between suspensions and students dropping out or ending in juvenile hall.  I don't disagree with the connection between suspensions and academic failure.  However, what the paper did not say is what happens when students are not suspended but instead, have a restorative justice session and gets to misbehave back in the classroom.  The result, is he or she affects the otherwise, peaceful classroom where learning and teaching suffers.

Ask any teacher how student academics are adversely affected when a misbehaving student continually disrupts the classroom and distracts the rest of the students with his or her antics. Moreover, misbehaving students are one of the major factors for teachers quitting the urban classroom.  Finally, misbehaving students make other students and school staff  feel that the school is "unsafe".

Suspensions are a necessary punishment and remedy, not restorative justice, or a warning card.  A saying that has stood the test of time "if you do the crime than you must do the time.  That goes with suspensions for misbehaving students.

Monday, July 09, 2018

ATRs Are Pawns When Negotiating A New Contract.




























Every chess player knows that the goal to checkmating your opponent is to sacrifice  pieces to achieve that outcome.  In chess the piece that get sacrificed most often is the pawn.  In a well played game, few, if any pawns remain on the chessboard.   The same can be said when it comes to contract negotiations between the City and the UFT.

From the 2005 contract on, the City has asked the UFT for an ATR time limit;  Checkmate had the union agreed to one.  Thankfully, our union leadership has not allowed the City to checkmate ATRs.  However,  other abuses to the ATRs has resulted in the ATR sacraficing many of their "due process" rights.  Let's look at what the union sacraficed that has made ATRs second class citizens.

Maybe the City cannot checkmate the ATR but they can make the pawns mighty uncomfortable while trying to elude capture. 

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Maspeth High School, Just Say No To Any Vacancy. .




























Back in 2012 I had the displeasure of being assigned to Maspeth High School for a month.  What were my observations of the school at that time?  Here is what I found.
  • The entire staff was composed of "newbies".
  • Few lasted to achieve tenure at the school.
  • Teachers had to wear name tags  to differentiate between staff and students.
  • Staff was unfriendly and forced to do extra unpaid periods. 
  • Students complained  about not having experienced teachers.
  • Administration will write up ATRs for any violations of the contract.
  • All students had to to take four years of Latin to keep out "undesirable"" students.
  • Chapter leaders lasted only one year as they were targeted by the Administration. 
The post I published about Maspeth High School back in 2016 can be found Here.
 Have things changed at Maspeth High School?  Nope.  Here is what a teacher wrote about the school in the Organizer.

  •  Is the staff friendly?  No
  • Most of the staff is not tenured.
  • Many teachers hired are right out of college,
  • Staff must do unpaid work.
  • Administration uses Danielson as a weapon.

The administration regularly violates the contract in Maspeth, teachers are NOT paid per session for "required" activities outside the school day such as mentoring meetings, chaperoning events, etc. A large majority of the staff are extremely young and untenured and will simply do as told even if it violates their rights. There are very few veteran staff in this building...wonder why... If you are older, tenured, and more vocal about your rights, administration will target you in any way possible. Veteran teachers need not apply.

 All teachers are regularly given four in a row teaching schedules and are expected to comply without protest. Of course the untenured newbies will do it and kiss ass to the admin for the sake of their job, but everyone else who dares to question it will become a target.
The school boasts a 100% graduation rate but the secret is that teachers cannot fail students. If you try to fail a student, admin will have their buddy buddy staff come into your classroom, yell and try to intimidate you into passing said students. Forget it if the student has an IEP. If you *dare* fail a student, you will not hear the end of it, and will be sat down by administration and their cronies in an effort to make you pass the student. Since its a well known thing that teachers cannot fail students (dubbed the "Maspeth Minimum"), students know that they could do no work all semester, and then ask for a packet of makeup work in the last marking period to get a passing grade in the course. This ultimately works against the teachers, because students will not listen to you when you tell them they are failing the course, or that they are in danger of failing the state exams (i.e. regents). Therefore, students who should have failed the course all year, passed, and then when they sat down for the exams in June, they had not a clue what to do and failed, because they were used to being handed 65's for minimal efforts. 

Teachers should beware of this school on the Open Market, they have high turnover but it is kept on the down low because of their inflated numbers that look great on paper. Much of what occurs in this school is toxic. The principal is like a mythical beast, you hear of him, but you never see him. Seniors in this school have no idea who he is since he never leaves his office. Instead of him being present, he has his 25 year old little suck up 2nd and 3rd year teachers who think they're masters acting like they run the place and DISRESPECTING staff whom are more experienced than they are!

Administration has their friends who act like spies and will look for anything and everything to get you, then run back to their admin friends and get you in trouble. many schools have problems with just administration, this school has problems with BOTH staff and administration. When people are pitted against one another, and teachers who have been in the DOE for many years are being suddenly given ineffective ratings after years of effectives and highly effectives because they happened to "say something about the wrong person" or ruffle someones feathers the wrong way, that is truly a toxic environment. 

Stay away from Maspeth High School. You can see "My Do Not Apply" list Here.


Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Is Our Pension Inflation Adjusted? Yes, But There Are Restrictions.



















Many teachers are retiring this summer and they may want to know how the Cost of Living (COLA) works once you retire.

Back in 2000, the State agreed to give a COLA to State and Local public employees.  However, the COLA has restrictions that come with it.  They are as follows.

  • The COLA is one half the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  • Only the first $18,000 is subject to the COLA.
  • The COLA adjustment starts five years after retirement if you retire at 62 or older.
  • The COLA adjustment starts ten years after retirement if you are 55 or older.
  • Maximum COLA is capped at 3% for CPI over 6%.
  • Minimum COLA is 1%.
  • Surviving spouse gets only one quarter of the COLA adjustment.
  • Disability Retire starts getting a COLA five years after starting disability.
  • Any outstanding loan at retirement will be considered income and taxed.  Pay off the loan before retiring.
Interestingly, the pension cap of $18,000 that is subject to the COLA adjustment has not changed since 2000, despite the fact that the commutative CPI has increased by 46.1%.  If the pension cap was raised, using the CPI, the pension cap should be $26,300!  You can use this inflation calculator for different time periods Here.

The average NYC teacher pension is $45,000 from 2016 data, that means that only 40% of the pension is subject to the inflation adjustment. You can use the pension table to determine how much money you will get in your pension assuming the maximum.

Monday, July 02, 2018

School District Student Acceptence Rates For The Three Specialized High Schools.




























The tables below are the list of School Districts, the number of students who passed the SHST, and the percentage accepted to the three specialized high schools in NYC. Brooklyn Tech, Bronx High School of Science, and Stuyvesant.

School District.............# of Offers........ Accepted

Manhattan 22.0%

..........1..............................51.................1.0%
..........2............................655...............12.9%
..........3............................295.................5.8%
..........4.............................26..................0.5%
..........5.............................38..................0.7%
..........6.............................55..................1.1%

Bronx 5.6%
..........7.............................12..................0.2%
..........8.............................53..................1,0%
..........9.............................17..................0.3%
.........10............................92..................1.8%
.........11............................97..................1.9%
.........12...........................19...................0.4%

Brooklyn 23.3%
........13...........................104..................2.1% ........14............................48...................0.9% ........15...........................365..................7.2% ........16............................21...................0.4% ........17............................33...................0.7% ........18............................21...................0.4% ........19............................32...................0.6% 
........20...........................527................10.4%
........21...........................251..................5.1%
........22...........................202..................4.0%
........23............................13...................0.3%
........32............................10...................0.2%

Queens 34.1%
........24..........................324..................6.4%
........25..........................358..................7.1%
........26..........................382..................7.5%
........27..........................124..................2.4%
........28..........................229..................4.5%
........29...........................96...................1.9%
........30..........................220..................4.3%

Staten Island  6.0%
........31..........................305..................6.0%

Chalkbeat has a map that also can prove useful, you can see it Here.

If you look at the table only two school districts make up more than 10% of the entering class.  They are District 2 in Manhattan and District 20 in BrooklynBoth areas are upper middle class neighborhoods and have a diverse student population.   The worst acceptance rates, less than 1%, occurred in Districts 7, 9, and 12 in the Bronx as well as Districts 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, and 32 in Brooklyn.  

 In addition, the total Bronx student acceptance rate is only 5.6%, less than the acceptance rate of seven districts.  They are Districts 2 and 3 in Manhattan, Districts 15 and 20 in Brooklyn, Districts 24, 25, and 26 in Queens, and District 31 in Staten Island.

Good luck Bill de Blasio trying to desegregate schools and getting the State Legislature to remove the SHST as the basis for being accepted in the three specialized high schools.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Queens High Schools That Students Avoid.





























The 2md Round of 2018 high school student vacancies are now available and you can see the list Here. What is quite obvious is that the most student vacancies are in schools with a 90% or more Black and Hispanic student population.  Moreover, these high schools are academically struggling and many students are subject to poverty.  In addition, these schools have high ELL and Sp Ed populations as well as having high teacher turnover.  Finally, some high schools refused to show vacancies by claiming they are continuing to recruit students. To check other years from 2015 to 2017 you can find them Here, Here, and Here.

This is the list of Queens High Schools with the most student vacancies in the 2nd round.

School..............................................Vacancies

Long Island City.....................................535
John Adams...........................................455
Grover Cleveland....................................420 
William Cullen Bryant..............................250
Flushing.................................................245
Newtown................................................190
August Martin.........................................170
Martin Van Buren....................................160
International HS For Health Sciences........150 
Humanities And Arts...............................145
Hillcrest.................................................125
Pathways Collegiate Prep Academy..........120
George Washington Carver......................105
Mathematics, Science, and Tech..............100
HS of Law Enforcement.............................80
Benjamin Franklin....................................80 
Fredrick Douglas Academy VI....................80
Richmond Hill...........................................65
Excelsior Preparatory ..............................60
Queens Preparatory Academy...................60  
Rockaway Collegiate.................................60

If you look at the list you can see many of the schools are in Southeast Queens and Renewal Schools.

It needs to be noted that these vacancies are the minimum available since the DOE list stops at 40 vacancies.  Some of these schools might have double the amount of vacancies listed on the DOE website.

Read my other posts that list the Queens high schools that students avoid 2017, 2016, and 2015..  Here,  Here, and Here.