Friday, October 26, 2018

Is The Renewal Program Working? I Think Not.

When the Renewal program was introduced by Chancellor Carmen Farina and Mayor Bill de Blasio.  There were 94 schools in the program.  All of them academically struggling.  Four years later, as the Renewal program is expected to end at the end of the school year, we see that 25% have escaped the Renewal program as they have improved enough academically.  25% have closed as they have academically failed, and 50% have remained in the Renewal program and their fate will be decided at the end of the school year.

At the high school level, no school has escaped the Renewal program due to academic improvement, while some have closed due to poor performance or lack of students applying.  The reasons for the failure are multiple.
  1. Lack of academically proficient students. 
  2. High teacher turnover.
  3. Inexperienced teachers.
  4. Low staff morale.
Is the Renewal program working?  Not at the high school level.  Read the Chalkbeat article.


Prehistoric pedagogue said...

Polish it, rub it, buff it all day. You still can’t shine shit.

Or, more politely, you can make chicken salad from chicken feathers

Anonymous said...

As long as a school has a majority of lower-performing students who are also struggling with trauma and the effects of poverty, and may also have emotional disturbance and behavior problems, and attendance problems, and have families struggling with the same - and then, they are expected to pass the same exams as the kids in Stuy and similar schools - and, no one pays any attention to research or common sense - no one reduces class size, or modifies the curriculum - or decides that maybe different methods might work better - such as, making a different standard for kids who are so devastated - or distributing these kids throughout well-run schools so that they can have a majority of stronger peers - or creating a strong vocational focus for these kids, then it will be a fail. And the teachers will be blamed.

Anonymous said...

Try this one on for size. I am currently teaching at Flushing High School which did a restaffing last Spring. Half of the staff was new this year. We just learned we met our benchmarks for last year and made "demonstrable improvement." Our brainless, insensitive principal, Ignazio Accardi just sent out a memo to his staff teling us we made demonstrable improvement and thanked the staff including the 50% new staff for all there hard work. Sorry, the new teachers had nothing to do with meeting the benchmarks. He should be thanking the staff that either left and the ones he chose not to rehire. We won't be so lucky this year as many of the incompetent newbies couldn't teach a rabbit how to hop. This is the most thankless job ever. Also, if you can't teach, don't worry Mr. Accardi will hire you.

Anonymous said...

Those schools that graduate from Renewals are called "Rise" schools and have to show insane progress for two years to be a normal school again.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 2:34 and 6:37. I work in a school in which approximately 10% (100) of the students have serious emotional, psychological, family, and/or drug problems. It feels more like 50% because they require so much attention and cause so much havoc.

Not only is no one admitting or addressing their needs, these troubled students are also interrupting, curbing, pilfering the education of the others. It is only when the students who attend school for academics go to college they have to work twice as hard to catch up with the rest.

These troubled students also require the majority of the time from the deans, the social workers, the guidance counselors, the peer mediators, and the administrators. So, not only are they stealing an education from the other students, they are also stealing more than one million dollars in tax payer money. I have not even mentioned the abuse that the teachers suffer.

I think we have come to a point that the emperor does not care that he has no clothes. Everyone knows the renewal schools have not changed a bit (other than possibly the statistics that can be manipulated).

Anonymous said...

The evaluation system, and tye leadership principals are destroying these schools.

Anonymous said...

Chaz, I'll never forget this article that you posted more than three years ago. It was obvious from the beginning that this program was destined to fail.

Jonathan Halabi said...

The whole framework is designed to disrupt and close schools, to add instability to poor neighborhoods, and to weaken the union.

Closing and reopening schools, no matter what they call it, renewal, registration review, redemption ... these are strategies to harm kids, neighborhoods, and teachers.

When a school has low test scores... Oh wait? If schools re choosing kids based on test scores, doesn't that "choice" system need some review? Tested schools, ed-op, zoned schools for District 2 and Staten Island, hmm.

Are kids learning? I've been in classes where test scores sucked, but I knew that kids were making progress. But in a school where kids aren't making any progress, where safety is lousy, where attempts at engaging kids outside the classroom also aren't working - shut that school down?

WTF? There is still a neighborhood, there needs to be a school there. Shutting the school down is destructive, and intentionally so. Shutting schools down was the response of those who saw Katrina as an opportunity.

But let's look at a school where nothing is working. What should be done?
1. Change the administration.
2. Reduce class size.
3. Add classes in the arts, make sure PE is fully programmed (not the DoE's state law skirting minimal PE), add electives in robotics, computing (and using software), film, more foreign languages, etc. Note, this is the complete opposite of what renewal, etc, do. You're school's not doing well? We'll give you 3 hours of English and 3 hours of math and now you'll really want to come...
4. Add extra-curriculars that all kids should have: issue-oriented clubs, gardening/environmental clubs, drama or photography clubs, debate teams, Model UN, robotics clubs, chess clubs, cultural clubs, etc. PSAL teams and intramurals in a wide variety of team and individual sports.
5. Add social services. That means attendance teachers, but also social workers, and a range of counseling services, therapists, etc. Increase the number of counselors and other providers.
6. Reduce overcrowding. Is the school over-crowded? Yes, it is. It is overcrowded because NYC has an unreasonable tolerance of too many kids in a building, in a classroom. Reduce the overall number of students in the school? Yes, but only by creating new schools, nearby. The DoE game of pushing overcrowding off onto neighboring schools is unacceptable. Build more schools, and reduce overcrowding system-wide.

Do I have right? Maybe. Maybe I'm looking in the right direction, but I'm wrong on a count or two, or missing some important stuff. But you know who is wrong? The DoE. For at least 20 years. And that Bronx Plan? it's better than Renewal, but it's missing some key component. It's also designed to create "jobs" for the "right people" - which neither helps nor hurts, but is a diversion of attention and resources.


Anonymous said...

It's a damn shame that my career in the DOE ended for absolutely nothing. I talked about this several times on this blog. Many DOE principals outside the renewal programs were/are not under the same kind of pressure as their renewal school counterpart so they have less of a reason in resorting to fraud.

My former high school is a renewal school, and it was one among one of the crappier renewal schools in Queens. In his effort to artificially make it look like he was weeding out the "ineffective teachers" my principal selected me another teacher to be rated ineffectively no matter what for the 2014-2015 school year. It was my fourth year and I was looking forward to receiving tenure. Up until that point there was nothing in my background that would have suggested otherwise. My former principal had no outstanding reason to go after me of all the people there in particular. As far as I was concerned I was a model teacher, in fact, the previous year he even wrote me a very nice letter of recommendation, which went to show how desperate he was in wanting to sacrifice somebody else in the name of saving his own hide. Pretty much the same thing happened to at least one other teacher that I know of the following year after we had left the school. To this day the school still remains on the renewal list, despite the shallow and specious initiatives of the principal.

The ironic thing is/was that the renewal program never even worked out to begin with so the careers of so many people were destroyed for absolutely nothing.

Anonymous said...

Can I put in $20,000 in my TDA account and withdraw it $20,000
From my TDA account so I can avoid city and state taxes.I have more than $20,000
my TDA account for many years. I still working and older than 59 1/2.
Or can I went to 20,000 from my city 457 and put it in my TDA tru salary deduction.
So what can I can avoid city and state tax.

Prehistoric pedagogue said...

4:10 PM. Are u drunk or ill ? I can’t believe you are 60 years old and unable to compose a coherent sentence. If you do have that much in your TDA someone should take it away from you before you hurt yourself

Anonymous said...

These issues need to be promptly addressed by Chancellor Richard A. Carranza and the Panel for Educational Policy.

If they refuse, or fail to act, then an appeal can be brought to Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia pursuant to Education Law §310 within thirty days.

Anonymous said...

4:10 PM
The grammar is horrendous. What, pray tell, do you teach?

Anonymous said...

They use any excuse to push older teachers out.

Anonymous said...

They just change grades.

Anonymous said...

Hi 11:19,

what language can I answer your question in, since you can't speak english?

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for the bad grammar but I’ve been an ATR for 10 years with no observations.
Since I don’t write lesson plans my writing skills went bad and probably my lesson plans if I had to write any are worse.
Is it my fault that they don’t let me attend professional development to improve my writing skills?
This is what the Board of Ed did to me. I used to be excellent writer.

Anonymous said...

It 8s a big mistake to hire newbies while many ATRs are being targeted. I guess that is what our Union wants.

T.J. L said...

8:08 That is really about the elimination of Special Ed and "mainstreaming" kids who don't belong in the gen ed classroom. It robs everyone, the special ed kid who can't function in the gen ed classroom and doesn't learn anything and the gen ed kids who can't learn because the Speds are spazzing out in the classroom.
By the way, this phenomenon is not limited to the NYC DOE, this is going on in the suburbs as well.

re: TDA: You cannot avoid taxes. You either pay them when you contribute (as one does with a ROTH IRA) or you pay them when you withdraw, as you do with the 403b TDA. Note TDA stands for "Tax-DEFERRED Annuity". Deferred means just that, deferred until later, not never.

Anonymous said...

TDA you don't pay city or state tax when you're withdraw the money.

The city 457 you do not pay city or state tax on the first 20,000.
City or state tax is about 10% for teachers so add that on
To the 7% fixed so you're retard is actually 17% .

Prehistoric pedagogue said...

Special Ed. was always as much about letting mainstream kids have a place to learn in peace as it was about educating those with an IEP

Anonymous said...


You make a cogent point I don't think I've ever read on a teacher/atr blog. ATR's are in fact being denied their agreed upon employment conditions and as a result are losing the ability to teach the subjects. Speaking for myself, teaching, playing, and performing Music are PERISHABLE SKILLS, and without constant practice, improvement, self and peer critique, will and have, in my case, withered and all but disappeared. I used to have access to a huge vault of instruments, practice studios with full 88 key pianos, a keyboard classroom, computer music classes-all ripped away by some hack with connections-now-zero,kicked from one segregated 'small learning community' to another, no access to my subject matter or its materials. I've written this in as part of my complaint in the ATR legal action.
Don't worry about grammar and typos, keep up the good comments.