Sunday, September 22, 2019

NYC High Schools Practice Academic Fraud To Jack Up The Graduation Rate




























Most high school teachers in New York City know that academic fraud is practiced in most, if not all the schools.  Be it scholarship requirements, easy credits, blended learning, grade inflation, or administrative pressure to pass failing students.  The New York Post has an article dealing with the widespread academic fraud practiced in the New York City high schools.

Maspeth high school is just an extreme example of the common practice of academic fraud.  If your an untenured teacher and you dare fail too many students, look to be discontinued.  For tenured teachers, look for poor observations and a 3020-a termination hearing. It doesn't matter that these students did not deserve to pass, they want you to pass them anyway.

The DOE will claim that they do not tolerate academic fraud but they put intense pressure on school administrators to pass as many students they can or risk negative consequences for the Principal and the school.  Hence, academic fraud is encouraged while the DOE looks the other way. No wonder there is a disconnect between the graduation rate and being "college ready" at many of the NYC high schools..


Rather than going into detail of the academic fraud that goes on in the New York City high schools please read my academic fraud articles from my blog.  In addition, you can also read my numerous graduation rate articles as well and they will give you a complete understanding how academic fraud is practiced in the New York City high schools.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

What Do Oklahoma And New York City Teachers Have In Common?






















CBS Morning News did a story on Oklahoma's trouble recruiting and retaining teachers and you can find it Here.   Oklahoma not only experiences a severe teacher shortage, they cannot retain teachers they recruit. Many  of the red states have similar problems recruiting and retaining teachers.

While New York City does not suffer from a teacher shortage like Oklahoma is, except for the Bronx.  Like Oklahoma, many teachers in New York City don't make it a career in the New York City schools.  Some go to the higher paying and better resourced suburbs.  Others leave teaching, and of the recently hired Tier VI teachers, few will make it to their vesting year for a pension and retiree health benefits.

Whether you teach in Oklahoma or New York city, teachers complain about the same things.
  • Lack of respect
  • large class sizes
  • Inadequate pay
  • Under resourced schools
  • Too much paperwork
  • Lack of independence
  • Too many useless meetings and time consuming and unnecessary Professional Development.
The bottom line:  Teaching is one of the lowest paid professions and politicians have a field day blaming teachers for society's ills.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Maspeth High School Cheats For The Illusion Of Success





















Maspeth high school has been accused of cheating to jack up their academic success.   This Queens high school has been written about previously in my blog and others  for the high percentage and abuse of untenured teachers along with financial shenanigans.  Now columnist Susan Edelman of the New York Post has written an article that exposed the school's manipulation of the school's graduation rate and Regents passing percentage..

Despite the various issues at Maspeth High School over the years the DOE has never bothered to seriously investigate the founding Principal, Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir or his assistant principals despite the various questions about how the school is run by parents, students, and teachers.   I was at Maspeth High School for a month a couple of years ago and read my experiencel Here. 

Maspeth high school will cheat to continue the illusion of success and the DOE will do nothing about it.  Read the New York Post Editorial Board opinion.

Read one student's story how the school graduated him six months early despite hardly attending class.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Repost: Teachers, Not Administrators Dictate The Lesson Plan Format

The Lesson Plan





























It has come to my attention that many principals are telling teachers what must be in their lesson plan.  Let me clarify what the school administrators can demand from the teacher.

 The administrators can RECOMMEND not tell the teacher what should be in his or her lesson plan.  Moreover, the lesson plan must be made available to the administrators when being observed.  That means a hard copy on the teacher's desk or a digital copy in the teacher's open laptop.  Finally, the administrators can make sure the lesson plan represents the lesson observed, as long as it complies to the unit and topic being taught.  Under no circumstances can an administrator dictate to the teacher what format the teacher's lesson plan should be.

Remember, the administrator can only evaluate the teacher, based on the actual lesson and not the lesson plan.  The lesson plan is the teacher's guide to the lesson and not part of the administrator's observation.

A simple one page lesson plan that uses bullet points of the lesson being taught, with a introduction, body, and conclusion, with an exit slip should be sufficient to cover any one lesson.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Federal Employees Will Get A 2.6% Raise
























The Trump administration will approve a 2.6% raise for federal and civilian employees. This is less than the 3.1% that the House of representatives approved but it seems that the 2.6% raise will eventually be approved by the Congress.

The 2.6% raise is higher than the UFT negotiated 2% raise for its members but then again our union leadership rather play nice with the Mayor than fight the City for a better raise   Compared to other teacher contracts, our union leadership cannot negotiate an adequate raise.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Stop Dumbing Down The High School Diploma Requirements



























For the last decade New York State Education Department (NYSED) has weakened the requirements for achieving a high school diploma.  Since 1995 NYS Regents was the "gold standard" that showed if high school seniors were academically proficient to succeed in college and the workplace.  However, under political pressure to graduate more students and reduce the racial achievement gap, the NYSED has dumbed down the Regents by grading the gateway Regents of Living Environment (known as Biology lite) and Algebra on a curve that makes the passing rate as low as 29 correct answers to pass, rather than the 65 that was the case in the 1990's.

Despite the dumbing down of the Regents and the curve to get more New York State students to pass, only 38% were considered "college ready".  By contrast, the State graduation rate has risen every year and was 80% as of 2018.  What happened to the 42% who graduated high school but were not college ready?  They were required to take no-credit and expensive remedial courses in colleges and few ended up with a 4-year college degree.

Now it seems the NYSED wants to dumb down the Regents testing requirements even more and approve alternate academic ways for high school students to legitimately graduate. New York State has had the Regents for high school students since 1865 and if there is no push back, the Regents will become optional and only for the academically proficient high school student.,

Some educators suspect that the elimination and weakening of the Regents testing requirements is due not only by political pressure to pass more students but the cost of developing and printing the Regents exams.  Moreover,the educational materials associated with those exams plays into the NYSED''s approving the downsizing the Regents exams. This "education on the cheap" policy only weakens New York State's reputation for academic excellence.

Will the Board of Regents continue to weaken the Regents testing equirements?  Only time will tell.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Theoretically A Discontinued Teacher Does Not Mean That Teacher Cannot Get A Position At The DOE, Practically They Can't








A teacher cannot achieve tenure until they put in a minimum of three of the four years of effective or higher ratings and quite a few teachers need five years as the Principal or Superintendent may want to delay tenure by giving the teacher an extra year for a myriad of reasons.  if a teacher gets a developing or ineffective rating for the fourth year, the Principal or Superintendent can discontinue the teacher.  Usually, if a teacher needs a second year of the extension of probation, his or her days are probably numbered.  I know of many New York City teachers who were discontinued when they received a second year of probation.

A teacher who was discontinued in one New York City district can theoretically get another position in a different New York City district or has a license in another subject but few have dual licenses .  However, there is a problem.  The DOE will tell the principal of that district not to hire the discontinued teacher and to ensure that happens the DOE puts the discontinued teacher on a "do not hire list" and places a problem code on their file.  What Principal would go against the DOE?  None that I know of.

Therefore, once a New York City teacher is discontinued, forget about getting a teaching job in the New York City public school system.


Wednesday, September 04, 2019

No Change In The Gifted And Talented Programs This Year























After receiving intense push-back from parents and the Asian-American community, the DOE has decided not to change the gifted and talented program for this year.  The gifted and talented program was drastically reduced by the Bloomberg administration by requiring 4 year olds to take an entrance test to qualify for the program.  The result was the City's gifted and talented programs were reduced from 60 to 10 as the low income, minority communities had few entering students that can qualify for the program.

The existing gifted and talented programs have only a 21% Black and Hispanic component, despite the two minorities making up 85% of the City's student body.  Finally, the 10 gifted and talented programs are found in the more diverse neighborhoods, like Districts 2(Manhattan),15(Brooklyn), and 26 (Queens) where there is enough middle and upper income families that attend the public schools to fill the classes. 


If the City eventually adopts the crazy proposals by the diversity advisory group  that wants to eliminate the gifted and talented program and diversify the Borough's schools, upper and middle class flight would follow.  Just imagine you live in Little Neck Queens and the City forces your child to be sent to South Jamaica by a 2-hour forced busing to integrate the school.  You would either sell your house and move to Long Island or send your child to private school and who can blame them?

I highly doubt that Mayor Bill de Blasio will agree with the diversity advisory committee's recommendations but you never know since the Mayor is more progressive than practical.  However, I do see that the City will try to increase the gifted and talented programs throughout the City but the question is how?

Sunday, September 01, 2019

The Two Worst Academic School Districts On Long Island


















Long Island is known for their high quality and expensive school districts in the nation.  Many middle and upper income families who live in New York City will wait for their children to become school age and move to the suburbs for their excellent schools.  The flight of middle and upper income families to the suburbs may accelerate with the Mayor's and Chancellor's ill-advised integration plan. Moreover, most Long Island school districts have a full plate of academic courses and extracurricular activities that most school districts don't or cannot offer.  Finally, the Long Island school districts have strong parent involvement, because of the high school taxes they must pay, and that's a very important aspect when it comes to excellent schools.

Another important consideration is peer pressure.  At the elementary school level its not that important since most elementary schools are parent and teacher dominated, especially at the lower grades.  However, by the time the students are in middle school and high school, peer pressure becomes the most important factor in student academic achievement. This is where the suburban Long Island school districts have an advantage since school taxes are expensive and range from $8,000 to $22,000 a year and the parents put pressure on their children to do well academically to justify paying such high property taxes.  Therefore, the peer pressure to succeed translates in academic achievement for the majority of the students.  By contrast, many urban schools, especially in low income minority communities, peer pressure is just the opposite as academic excellence is frowned upon, with many students doing as little work as possible to pass with a low academic average.

There are a few school district on Long Island that mirror many off the urban schools. In Nassau its the Hempstead school district and Suffolk its Wyandanch school district. Both school districts are considered poor and heavily minority with many immigrants who speak poor English and came from countries that had a poor education system.  The Hempstead school district is a majority Hispanic student population with most of the rest Black. While Wyandanch is about evenly divided between Black and Hispanic students. The table below show the passing rate of State tests for 3rd thru 8th grades for the two school district and the county as a whole.

Percent passing the State test

School District.......3rd.....4th....5th....6th.....7th.....8th

Hempstead  ELA    33%...31%...25%...23%.....13%...26%
Hempstead Math....36%...31%...28%...15%.....13%...0%

Nassau ELA...........66%...61%...51%...60%....52%...69%
Nassau Math.........67%...67%...61%...68%....58%...38%

Wyandanch ELA....34%...28%...12%...31%....15%...21%
Wyandanch Math...31%..29%...16%...18%....10%....4%

Suffolk ELA...........50%...44%...34%...45%...35%...44%
Suffolk Math.........50%...48%...42%...48%...43%...19% 

One noticeable trend is when peer pressure starts to become the most important factor as students advance in grades, passing rates decrease in the poor and minority communities and this is especially true in the two school districts.  On the other hand, in Long Island as a whole, except for 8th grade Math where many of the advanced classes take Regents Algebra instead of the 8th grade Math test., the passing rates remain static.

See all Long Island school district test results and opt out rates Here.


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Why The TDA's Fixed Income Fund Is So Popular




























One of the best perks New York City teacher,s have is the Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA) ,  Due to a quirk in New York State tax law, the TDA is treated as a public pension and is not subject to State and Local taxes which can be as high as 13% for most teachers who live in New York City and 7% for teachers living outside New York City.  This perk has become even more important since we now have a SALT limitation of $10,000 that can be deducted on our income tax for people who don't take the standard deduction.

The most popular fund in the TDA is the Fixed Income Fund which pays market based rates by guaranteeing a 7% dividend regardless of how the stock market does.  The only negative is that the 7% is not monthly compounded but is adjusted once a year in December to account for any changes in the TDA principal in the Fixed Income Fund (annual adjustment)  You can get a higher return if you annuitize the TDA but that means losing control of your TDA funds and is not recommended here.

Most participants in the TDA select the Fixed Income Fund to place their contributions in.  The latest data showed that70% of all TDA contributions were in the Fixed Income Fund and who can blame then?

an analysis by Financial Planner, Neil Frank of the Chief showed that if a teacher put in $100 monthly in the Fixed Income Fund for the last 30 years, that teacher would have amassed $135,089 in their TDA.  However, if the teacher put alll his or her money in the TDA's equity funds the amount would be $140,947.  The difference by taking a risk with the ups and downs of the equity market is only 4.3%.  For non UFT members like school administrators who receive 8.25% and that resulting in them receiving $147,696 or 4.8% above the educator who put all their money in the TDA's equity funds.  You can thank UFT ex President Randi Wiengarten for the TDA dividend being reduced from 8.25% to 7% for UFT members.

The age-old investment principle that those who take on greater risk are rewarded with greater returns has no application to this TDA Plan; at least for the past 30 years.

All teachers should strongly consider putting the bulk of their TDA contributions into the Fixed Income Fund and to account for inflation, buying equity funds outside the TDA..

Note:  Here is how TRS calculates the interest for the Fixed Income Fund.  Notice it's based on an annual 7% dividend.


Sunday, August 25, 2019

Will The ATR Pool Change?



























It's another year and while Chancellor Richard Carranza has made some administrative changes at the DOE, he has made no real changes when it comes to the ATR pool.  The DOE has tried to encourage principals to hire ATRs but since most ATRs are older and in the higher salary range, averaging over $98,000 annually, schools do not want to take on the hefty salaries associated with the ATRs.

Sure, the DOE has tried to set up an ATR hiring program like paying for the ATR's salary the first year, one half their salary the second year, and one quarter their salary the third year.  However, principals are not stupid and realizes that by the fourth year the school would be responsible for the full salary of the hired ATR.

Moreover, the DOE told principals that if they hired sn ATR to permanently fill a vacancy and they achieve an effective rating, they must hire the ATR,.  However, there is a loophole wide enough to drive a truck through if a savvy Principal knows how to manipulate the system and many do.   The loophole would allow the school to refuse to permanently hire the ATR and hire a cheaper alternative.

The DOE got so desperate in trying to reduce the ATR pool that every other year they offer ATRs $50,000 to resign or retire but only 170 ATRs took the offer and those ATRs who take the DOE incentive are probably resigning or retiring anyway.  With more schools closing or downsizing and teachers who win their 3020-a hearings the ATRs are replaced by others.

One small change is that the DOE will no longer use the $2,000 fine or 30 day suspension limit to automatically put the educator in the ATR pool. .Teachers, unless they are considered a threat to students, will be sent back to their school, regardless of their or the Principal's wishes.  This change is expected to help reduce the ATR pool.  In addition, there will no longer be field supervisors who evaluate ATRs but the school principals will evaluate the ATRs

The result is that the ATR pool has remained relatively stable of around 1,200  over the last few years, despite the above DOE programs and the incentives.

Until the school-based fair student funding is changed and the DOE penalizes principals who refuse to hire ATRs, nothing will change and that includes the ATR pool,

Friday, August 23, 2019

Charter Schools Cause Cutbacks In Hempstead Public Schools




















One of the poorest school districts on Long Island is Hempstead in Nassau County.  The heavily minority community is plagued with gangs, (MS-13) illegal immigrants, and a relatively high crime rate when compared to the County as a whole.  The result is that the schools have one of the lowest academic achievement results on Long Island.

Because of the poor academic results in the traditional public schools in Hempstead, many parents, who care about their child's education, decided to put their children into charter schools.  The result is that the three charter schools were able to cherry pick their students and since many immigrant families had no clue how to apply to these charter schools.  The charter schools have a low percentage of both English Language Learners and Special Education students.

The problem is that the charter schools require funding from the school district for tuition, food, and transportation costs for the 2,000 students enrolled.  This is 27% of the 7,300 students enrolled in the Hempstead public schools and that takes a significant chunk out of the school district budget.  This school year that is 44 million dollars and next year's projected budget it will rise to 55 million.

The result is that this school year Hempstead had to fire school staff, including teachers and next year the school district envisions more teacher layoffs as the charter schools expect an 11 million dollar increase in their budgets abd if the State does not issue a special grant for Hempstead, the school district will have to cut many programs.  Newsday has a nice article about Hempstead schools.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Can Teachers Lose Their Pension?




























Detective  Daniel Pantaleo lost his pension because he didn't have 20 years in the pension system as a New York City police officer (he had 13 years).    Mr. Pantaleo can only recover the money he contributed to his pension and no more. The question is can teachers lose their pension?

The short answer is that teachers cannot lose their pension, once vested except for some extraordinary circumstances. For example, unless a teacher agrees to lose his or her pension, due to criminal charges in a plea deal or the teacher became vested for a pension but was not entitled to a pension due to fraud.  Otherwise, any teacher who resigns or are terminated, if they meet the vesting requirements, will receive a pension at age 55 at the earliest.

Unfortunately, 33% of New York City teachers (mostly Tier IV) are vested for a pension while the percentage is far lower for Tier VI teachers due to the good economy that encourages younger teachers to leave the profession and the lack of respect for teachers.  Add to that the poor school leadership, the reduction in pensions, and the overwhelming paperwork and the use of Danielson makes teaching in the New York City public schools an unappetizing job.

Therefore, teachers who meet the vesting requirements of between 5 and 10 years, depending when they started your teaching career,  have nothing to fear about losing their pension. 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Chancellor Carranza's Cronies Grab Salary Raises As High As 35%




















Chancellor Richard Carranza approved raises as high as 35% for his cronies while the teachers negotiated raises of a messily 2% this year.  How can the Chancellor justify such outrageous raises when he shortchanges school budgets by only funding 90% of their fair student funding?

Susan Edelman has an article that tells all and is a must read Here. The only question I have is that quoting Eric Nadelstern is questionable since he, as Deputy Chancellor under the infamous Joel Klein, implemented some of the more anti-teacher policies that still exist

What Chancellor Richard Carranza needs to do is eliminate the bloat at the DOE something which he has failed to do since taking charge.  In fact, he actually added an extra layer of Bureaucracy by appointing executive superintendents to oversee the 31 District superintendents.  Many of then political appointees from the Joel Klein/Carmen Farina days..

Thursday, August 15, 2019

DOE Finally Removes The Hillcrest High School Principal



























It only took five years but the DOE  finally removed the Principal of Hillcrest High School.  The Principal, David Morrison,   was found to have committed academic fraud by passing and graduating students by giving them credit for phantom online courses.  The question is why did it take five years for the DOE to remove the Hillcrest Principal after an investigation substantiated the academic fraud?

Part of the answer is that we have a new Chancellor Richard Carranza, who owes no allegiance to the people at Tweed as Carmen Farina did.  Another reason is that under Farina, the District Superintendent protected principals while the supervisory superintendents have no such loyalty to principals.

In my opinion. any Principal caught doing academic fraud should be subject to 3020-a hearings and if found guilty, should be fired.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Poor Areas Losing Public And Catholic School Students To Charters























In the poorer sections of New York City many public schools are losing students to charter schools.  In fact, many private Catholic schools, that cater to low income families have closed or in danger of closing as charter schools have siphoned many of those student away.

As for the traditional public schools, while they also lose students to charter schools they tend to receive an influx of Special Education and English Language Learners as charter school tend to discourage their application due to resource issues and academic problems.

Bushwick Brooklyn is a prime example of this.    From 2010 to 2019, School Construction Authority data show the share of District 32 residents attending charters more than quadrupled—from 6 percent to 27 percent   While the Catholic schools in the area are closed or closing.  Father James Kelly, who was pastor of St. Brigid’s for nearly 40 years and still does immigration advocacy in the neighborhood, sees it too. “St. Martin of Tours is closed. St. Joseph’s. St. Barbara’s is gone. The Catholic schools are gone,” .

As for the traditional public schools.  Bushwick is expected to lose over 45% of their students in the next decade as rapidly rising rents chase out families with children and increased charter school enrollment reduce the amount of children available to the traditional public schools..

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Why Does Chalkbeat Believe That Educators 4 Excellence Represents Teachers?



























Chalkbeat wrote an article that showed the 33% of New York City teachers have not made up their minds about Chancellor Richard Carranza.  However, the survey was done before the Chancellor came under fire for his ill-advised  diversity program and the alleged anti--Asian bias as he tries to eliminate the SHSAT.

However, what bothers me the most about the article is that Chalkbeat, rather than asking a respected  classroom public school teacher like NYC educator, his opinion.  Chalkbeat interviewed   the Executive Director, a non-classroom educator for Educators 4 Excellence.as if she represented the New York City Public School teachers. The truth is that Educators 4 Excellence represents significantly less than 1% of the New York City public school teaching force.  In fact, in the last UFT election the lone Educators4 Excellence candidate received 25 votes out of over 44,000 votes cast or 0.05%.  The group refused to participate in the UFT elections, fearing their unpopularity would be exposed.

Its hard to believe what Chalkbeat writes since they are  a pawn of the education reform movement as their interview with Educators 4 Excellence demonstrates.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

The City Snookered The UFT On Parental Leave



Despite UFT leadership's claim that they negotiated a great deal with the City on parental leave for its members, the truth is that the City get the better deal as the UFT was forced to self fund the parental leave cost by extending the contract  73 days which effectively meant a 0% raise for almost three months. In addition, the City made out in other ways.

UFT members who took parental leave found out that the six weeks under parental leave IS NOT PENSIONABLE!  That's right, the six weeks are subtracted from the 52 weeks or 12% of the annual salary is not included for that year in the Final Average Salary if the UFT member retires or resigns within three years (Tiers III or IV) or five years (Tier VI) of taking parental leave.

Moreover, since the City does not directly pay for parental leave, it comes from the UFT welfare fund which is funded by the City.  Consequently, the City does not have to include the UFT member on parental leave on their payroll and therefore it does not need to be included in their budgeting to NYCERS, which saves the city money in the short-term.

Once again City negotiator Bob Linn has outfoxed the inept Michael Mulgrew.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Is The DOE Discriminating Against Jewish Teachers?






















Chancellor Carranza and his DOE administrators are being accused of being anti-White and while I believe he and his top administrators are misguided, I don't believe they are anti-White.  Read my previous post Here.  However, there seems to be a disturbing trend that many school administrators are trying to force senior teachers to retire and many of them are Jewish.

Because of tight school budgets and school based Fair Student Funding, principals are targeting senior teachers who are eligible to retire by filing or threaten to file 3020-a termination charges.  The senior teachers are the "baby boomers" and generation X, the last cohort that had a significant amount of Jewish teachers.

While I don't believe the principals are anti-Semitic, I do believe the Bloomberg era policies that the DOE still employs encourage the principals to target their senior teachers and replace them with far cheaper and untenured "newbies".  The principals can then use the salary differential between the departing senior teacher and the entering newbie teacher for their own use in the school budget.

Included is a letter from one teacher who wrote her experience about being forced to retire after being put through a 3020-a hearing in an Israeli newspaper.  Here.. 

Is the DOE discriminating against Jewish teachers?  The answer is no but they are targeting senior teachers and many of them are Jewish.

Friday, August 02, 2019

DOE Must Get The Lead Out




















An investigation found  938  NYC classrooms, which includes many of the youngest students, are in classrooms  that had lead paint levels that were considered a health risk.  High levels of lead are associated with mental retardation, inattentiveness, behavioral problems, and low intelligence as the lead interferes with the developing brain in young children.

Worse, parents of these children in lead contaminated classrooms were kept in the dark by the DOE Is it any wonder these young children are potentially exposed to lead paint chips and, air pollution that negatively affects their academic ability.

 I bet DOE headquarters have no lead problems. The DOE's children first policy is simply a joke.


Monday, July 29, 2019

This District 75 School's Students Are Treated Like S--T By The DOE



























PS 9 in Maspeth Queens is a District 75 school that has students with severe disabilities.  These students can be autistic, emotionally disturbed, or mentally retarded.  Some have more than one severe disability. and need an environment of small classes,  .up  to date classrooms, and physical education facilities to help these student succeed.  However, at PS 9 only small classes are met and that is because of Federal regulations require it.
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In the classrooms of PS 9 there are badly damaged chairs and desks and lack of appropriate technology to help the students master academic and behavioral programs. Further, there are too few bathrooms for the students.   Read the New York Post story Here

The school lacks a gym and uses the school cafeteria and kitchen as a gym which is a safety issue.  Moreover, the school is smack dab in the middle of an industrial area and the classrooms are subject to industrial pollution and truck noise.  Finally, the school itself needs to be modernized and despite the DOE's claim that they will spend $14 million dollars to upgrade PS 9, most people don't believe it and want a new and modern school that caters to the needs of this severally disabled students.

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Union Must Negotiate With The Chancellor To Eliminate Danielson






















New York City is one of the few New York State districts that evaluates teachers by using the Charlotte Danielson rubric. This evaluation tool, when used appropriately by fair-minded administrators, the Charlotte Danielson rubric is an efficient teacher evaluation tool.

However, there are far too many incompetent and vindictive administrators who use Charlotte Danielson as a weapon to rate teachers who are effective as developing or ineffective.  Moreover, approximately 33% of the principals are graduates of the infamous " Principal Leadership Academy".  These principals are selected, not by talent, but who they knew who can recommend them.  Finally, these Leadership Academy graduates are told that they should run their schools as a CEO and not as the instructional leader.

These Leadership Academy principals are told they should demand staff cooperation and not collaborate.  In other words it's "my way or the highway".  In addition, due to tight school budgets and Fair Student Funding, these principals are sure to target senior teachers.  Since they can save money if they encourage the senior teacher to leave and replace that teacher with an inexpensive "newbie".  The difference can then be used by the Principal to put in his slush fund and use it as he or she sees fit.

Will the union push for the removal of Charlotte Danielson as a teacher evaluation tool?  Don't count on it since Michael Mulgrew and company are not in the classroom and are not subject to the Charlotte Danielson rubric. The union does not even try to remove these vindictive principals who make teaching a living hell in their school.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Will The Chancellor's Desegregation Plan Cause "White Flight?"
















Chancellor Richard Carranza has proposed a school integration plan that will desegregate schools.  While the idea is goal worthy, the results may not be.  It may cause "White Flight" when they only make up 15% of the student population in the public schools as is.

Various studies show that Black and Hispanic students who are bused to integrated schools do better than those who remain in their segregated schools in minority neighborhoodsThese minority students who are bused to integrated schools have lower dropout rates, more likely to go to college, and have better job prospects which allows them to become a positive role model to the next generation family members.  So far, all this appears to be positive.  However, there are negatives as well.

The most negative is "White flight".  When a school district tried to integrate their schools by "forced  busing" like the federal government did in the South.  White families, rather than allow their children to be bused across the district to lower academic achieving schools,  either moved out of the school district, or enrolled them in private or religious schools..  The result was the public schools ended up to consist of high poverty, minority students with reduced political power and consequently, lower school funding.

Moreover, if the school district bused minorities to more White schools, those bused were usually the more academically proficient students, leaving the academically struggling students behind in high poverty and minority segregated schools. The result was that peer pressure of low academic expectations became the rule for those schools and their students.

Finally, by integrating schools it became extremely important to have fully credentialed teachers to  sell the unpopular integration plan which resulted in a lower percentage of Black male teachers and less positive adult role models for Black students.

While voluntary busing has a positive outcome for minority students.  Forced busing is extremely negative since it causes "White flight",  high transportation costs, involuntary school selection, and loss of the middle class in the urban areas.  In addition, there is a loss of neighborhood school pride and parent involvement.

Joe Biden is right, federally mandated forced busing was wrong and the negative outweighs the positive.  Will the Chancellor's desegregation plan work if there is forced busing across the district?  I think not unless he doesn't care about "White flight".

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Chinese-American Community Rise Up Due To The SHSAT Debate




Until Nayor Bill de Blasio and his Chancellor, Richard Carranza, pushed to eliminate the SHSAT by claiming it was a "racist" test and anybody supporting it was "racist",  the East Asian community was non-0political and accommodating.   The blowback to the Mayor and Chancellor was immediate and severe.  The Chinese-American community rose up and called their politicians and the Mayor's plan was never voted on in Albany.

The Mayor and Chancellor tried to get their allies to support his plan to eliminate the SHSAT and allow every middle school student who was in the top 5% to be automatically enrolled in the specialized high schools.  The problem was they deliberately excluded the East Asian community and it was so blatant that even many of the Mayor's allies saw the exclusion of the East Asian community as discrimination.

The Mayor's and Chancellor's ill-advised attempt to eliminate the SHSAT gave rise to a politically conservative Chinese-American group that has become politically savvy and media sensitive that resulted in the City's plan to eliminate the SHSAT to become dead on arrival when it showed up at the Democrat controlled State Senate.

Many of the Serrate Democrats were recently elected in previously moderate Republican districts and are not allies of the progressive Mayor Bill de Blasio and don't want to be associated with him when they try to get reelected in their districts.  The Mayor's integration plan, while not directly affecting their communities still will have negative consequences by giving their Republican challenger a talking point that they are a "rubber stamp" for the Mayor.

Obviously, the Governor is no fan of the Mayor and with the Senate Democrats shifting toward the middle of the political spectrum as reelection nears, he Mayor's plan to eliminate the SHSAT looks to be a goner in Albany.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

New York State Wants To Drop High School Regents Exams





























After 150 years the New York Education Department gave an outline of a proposal to the State Board of Regents that is entertaining the notion of dropping the high school Regents exams and replacing it with different alternatives.  The reason is that fewer and fewer New York State students are academically eligible to obtain a Regents diploma, according to Newsday.

It seems that in the major New York State cities too many students end up getting a local diploma or a certificate of completion rather than a Regents diploma which hurts their chances of getting into a 4-year college. Too many of the students cannot pass four or five Regents exams to get a Regents diploma.

At one time the New York State Regents was the gold standard of final exams and over the last twenty years the New York State Education Department has dumbed down the exam and added a curve to the gateway Regents of Algebra 1 and Living Environment.  Now they are considering eliminate them altogether.

Soon the New York State high school diploma will end up to be a worthless piece of paper.

Friday, July 12, 2019

More Speed Cameras Rolling Out, More Money For The City




























New York City will start rolling out more speed cameras and will have 720 by June of 2020.  The hours of operation will expand from 6am to 10pm weekdays.  This is an expansion from 7am to 4pm on school days.  This is part of Mayor De Blasio's vision zero policy.

Moreover,  the speed cameras can be placed in a 4 square mile parameter around a school.  This means that the City will maximize those locations where the can catch the most speeders and generate the most money.

While its true it will help school safety, the main purpose is to generate income for the City.  If it was simply a school safety issue, the City would install speed bumps around schools,

Sunday, July 07, 2019

The Carranza Hypocrites


















Chancellor Richard Carranza's prime objective is to integrate schools, by any means possible.  However, the Chancellor's integration policy seems not to apply to his top level cronies.  According to columnist, Susan Edelmen, of the New York Post, two of his cronies, Deputy Chancellor, Cheryl Watson-Harris and Executive Superintendent Meisha Ross-Porter got DOE zoned waivers from their majority Black and Hispanic schools to a more Asian and White schools outside their zone.

Deputy Chancellor Cheryl Watson-Harri's younger child was zoned for PS 170 an elementary school; that largely serves immigrant children. Its 1,000-student body is 24 percent white and 58 percent Asian, with 32 percent of students learning English. In contrast, PS 185’s 650-student body is 68 percent white — the kind of school Carranza would blast as “segregated.” Only 7 percent are English language learners.

Moreover, Deputy Chancellor's  Watson-Harris' older child was given an exemption to get in the highly selective IS 187 schools which is  91% Asian and White, despite not going through an academic screening committee like everyone else

Supervising Superintendent, Meisha Ross-Porter who took in a friend's child, using her connections she, Instead of enrolling the child in her zoned Mott Hall Community School — which is 90 percent Hispanic and black and 8 percent white — Porter requested a seat at MS X101, which offers advanced classes for gifted kids. Its student body is 67 percent Hispanic and black and 15 percent white.

What a bunch of hypocrites!

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Comparing An Apple To An Orange







District 9 of the Bronx, a high poverty and minority neighborhood, saw over 50% of the students fail the Algebra I Regents.  Moreover, only 2% reached the top tier scores   By contrast  Success Academy 2 in the Bronx had a 100% pissing rate and all were in the top tier.  However, on further inspection its like comparing apples to oranges.

If you read only the New York Post you would think that the above paragraph is all there is,  Sure, District 9 has academically struggling schools but that's due to high percentages of Special Education, English Language Learners, homeless, and family dysfunction, both financially and the lack of a two parent household.  By contrast, Success Academy 2 of the Bronx have few Special Education students or English Language Learners, and homeless students.  Furthermore, the family situation is much more stable than in District 9.

A closer look at Success Academy 2 of the Bronx show what the New York Post failed to include.  the 30% of students who dropped out (pushed out?)  of the school since 6th grade when there were 72 students.  That left only 53 students to take the Algebra 1 test.  I strongly suggest that you read Gary Rubenstein's blog who did a deep study of the data and showed how poorly Success Academy students did on the Geometry and Algebra II Regents..




Monday, July 01, 2019

Schools Still Practicing Academic Fraud


























I have been posting about academic fraud for years, you can read them Here.  Now the esteemed columnist, Susan Edelman of the New York Post, wrote an eye opening article about the grade inflation tha goes on in most of the New York City public schools.

As a high school teacher, I used to get many of these middle school students who could not do simple Math and had no clue what commonly used words meant.  Even worse, because these students were academically unable to do high school course work, they would act up and become discipline problems.

Of course the Department Of Education (DOE) would blame the high schools and the teaching staff for their failure to improve student academic achievement when these students do not have the academic tools to succeed in yhe first place.

Teachers have often complained that school administrators pressure teachers to pass undeserving students and the DOE supports school administrators in artificially inflate grades and passing rates. In the high schools many poorly performing schools require teachers to have a "scholarship requirement" that forces the teacher to pass up to 85% of their students.

Unfortunately,  if the teacher is not tenured, the teacher will not go against the administrator and pass the students, despite their academic failure.  Let the next teacher or school deal with the low performing student.

Despite a new Chancellor who is attempting to "clean house", the DOE mentality is to still punish schools who have low graduation rates. Therefore, principals are encouraged to pass and graduate students despite their academic shortcomings.  


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

New York City Cannot Retain Teachers
























City Controller Scott Stringer held a press conference that criticized the Department of Education for the low teacher retention rates in the New York City schools.  According to Mr. Stringer 40% of all new teachers  leave the New York City public schools within five years.

The Bronx had the lowest teacher retention rates with 21.5%  leaving within a year in the 2017-18 school year..   he worst retention rate was District 12 in the Bronx with 26% of the teachers leaving after one year.

According to Scott Stringer, the problem is the DOE failed to provide appropriate support to new teachers.  He believes that a teacher's first year should be a residency program while having a veteran teacher mentoring the teacher before being permanently hired the next year.

While I agree with Scott Stringer, it will still  not solve the teacher retention problem and unless you improve the quality of school administrators, solve the many student discipline issues, and improve the classroom environment by respecting teachers, the retention problem will remain..

Monday, June 24, 2019

Mayor Bill De Blasio Retains Too Many Bloomberg Policies For Our Schools

















When Bill de Blasio ran for Mayor he claimed he was to fully fund the public schools and reduce class sizes.  He also pledged to "clean house" of the Bloomberg ideology at the DOE and reduce the administrative bloat at Tweed.  Instead, he appointed a Tweed insider, Carmen Farina, as Chancellor and she retained 80% of the Bloomberg policymakers and failed to reduce the administrative bloat, especially lawyers..

The Mayor and Chancellor failed to fully fund the public schools, giving them only 90% of their fair funding, despite a 6 billion dollar surplus..  Further, the Mayor and Chancellor has repeatedly refuse to reduce class sizes, despite a CFE court case that allocated State money to do that.  Finally, the Chancellor continued the tricks that reduced the need for more teachers by reducing class time and limiting classes to three days for physical education, art, and music.and reduces Science from six classes to five.

The ATR pool still exists with a thousand ATRs rotating from school to school.  The discrimination against senior teachers continues, and the school based fair student funding which penalizes principals who hire veteran teachers and financially incentives principals who hire inexpensive "newbie" teachers.

Now Bill de Blasio has hired an outsider as Chancellor and while the new Chancellor is starting to clean house at the DOE .  However, the Chancellor's racial policies are very disturbing and are inappropriate.  The well respected.   Ed the Apple blog gave the Chancellor a APPR ratting of developing and to me, that's being kind.  Unfortunately,, Chancellor Carranza has not tackled the problems identified above.  Instead he is selecting people with questionable or no credentials to run the DOE, while not changing the policies that are damaging the NYC public school classroom.

Friday, June 21, 2019

District 28 In Queens Tries Integrating Their Schools





















I read the article in Chalkbeat that District 28 in Queens is going to try to integrate their schools. While the policy of integration is a worthwhile goal, I believe that the unanticipated consequences will lead to the middle and upper middle class parents taking their children out of the public school system or send their children to relatives who live in the adjoining District 25 or 26 schools.

While District 28 is a highly diverse school district which includes the relatively wealthy White and East Asian communities of Forest Hills and Kew Garden Hills in the far north of the District and the poor Black neighborhood of South Jamaica in the South.

The schools are highly segregated and the school district is going to try to start integrating the schools.  How they will achieve integrating the schools has not been spelled out but I cannot see it succeeding without integrating the communities involved.

First, most parents will not allow their children to take public transportation (two buses) and a commute of an hour or more from their homes in the northern part of the school district to schools in South Jamaica and adjoining communities, where the schools are academically low achieving and through dangerous neighborhoods.

Second, most parents want to send their children to neighborhood schools, rich or poor, Black and White.  These schools are the social gathering place f0oor families and their children make life long friends through the neighborhood schools.. Integrating the schools destroys the social fabric of the neighborhood schools.

Finally, many families do not own a car and if a problem occurs at the school they cannot easily get to the school to pick up the child.

While District 28's goal is noteworthy I cannot see it succeeding without losing the middle and upper middle class..

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Should Richard Carranza Resign As Chancellor?


















 



When Mayor Bill de Blasio hired Richard Carranza as Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools and I was somewhat pleased.  Hiring a well qualified outsider, with no ties to the Bloomberg era, I expected the new Chancellor to "clean house" and to some degree he has.

The problem is that Chancellor Carranza is playing racial politics, replacing White female administrators with lesser qualified minorities.  At first, I supported the Chancellor as he was pushing out Bloomberg holdovers, mostly long term White females an to a lesser degree Black females.  However, it is quite obvious that he is appointing his cronies, some without proper credentials to lead highly sensitive positions at Tweed.

His policies are so appalling that seven members of the City Council'  penned a letter to the Mayor objecting to what Chancellor Carranza is doing. Also another Cararnza aide hs been reported for alleged misconduct.

Just look at the latest selection, Abram Jimenez, who was hired for a newly created $205,416 position to improve schools.  It turned out that Mr. Jimenez had an extensive disciplinary history and was forced to resign due to mismanagement. Now it seems that Mr. Jimenez has taken some "personal leave" once the New York Post wrote an article about his disciplinary record.

While I don't think Chancellor Carranza is a racist, he appears to be playing racial politics and that is unacceptable and should resign.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Charter Schools Drain Resources From Traditional Public Schools




























Charter advocates are trying to pressure the New York State legislature to expand the charter school cap in New York City and has the support of the Governor.  However, charter friendly Chalkbeat has an article on whether charter schools drain resources from traditional public schools and the answer is yes!.

The article looked at various studies and concluded that charter school expansion added to the financial stress of traditional public schools.  Moreover, an analysis of the Los Angeles and San Diego school districts found similar results.

Charter schools drain students and resources from traditional public schools and try to claim that they alleviate overcrowding  in school districts that see a population influx of students.   That might be true to some degree in Florida and Arizona but overall it causes financial stress for the school district.  These school districts must either raise taxes, increase class sizes, or reduce staff, usually a combination of all three.

The bottom line is that charter schools are a negative factor when it comes to funding traditional public schools in a school district as every student who leaves the traditional public school takes the funding with the student to the charter school.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

How Will The City Integrate The Schools Without Losing The Middle Class?






















According to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza, the City is on track to integrate the public schools.  The student demographics and geography tell me that is an impossible task.

The City public schools are 70% Black and Hispanic and only 15% White.  How can you integrate the schools with so few White students?  Even if you included East Asian students, it only adds up to 25% of the public school cohort.  Moreover, I highly doubt the majority of middle class families will allow their elementary and middle school students to travel long distances into poor neighborhoods and poorly performing schools to achieve some semblance of integration.  Finally, the City has no control of the family environment, where many students are homeless, without a father, and financially insecure which affects student learning. This doesn't take into account the geographic isolation of many of the racial cohorts.

A retired middle school reading teacher wrote an article in the New York Post showing the racial disparity of different cohorts and according to the 2017 State test in Math,the racial breakdown for students who achieved the highest scores (level 4) was as follows.  Asians (52%), Whites (28%), Hispanics (17%), and Blacks (6%).  Why is there such a disparity between racial cohorts?

To me, the reason is that many of the inner city schools have a weak academic curriculum and lack student discipline to achieve a peaceful classroom that is necessary to improve education.  Further, peer pressure in the middle class and  East Asian community to excel in school is just the opposite of the peer pressure in the poor, minority schools that think education is for nerds.  No wonder there is a wide achievement gap between the racial cohorts.

Good luck integrating the schools without addressing the social-economic problems in the communities that the schools are located in.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

The Lesson Plan





























It has come to my attention that many principals are telling teachers what must be in their lesson plan.  Let me clarify what the school administrators can demand from the teacher.

 The administrators can RECOMMEND not tell the teacher what should be in his or her lesson plan.  Moreover, the lesson plan must be made available to the administrators when being observed.  That means a hard copy on the teacher's desk or a digital copy in the teacher's open laptop.  Finally, the administrators can make sure the lesson plan represents the lesson observed, as long as it complies to the unit and topic being taught.  Under no circumstances can an administrator dictate to the teacher what format the teacher's lesson plan should be.

Remember, the administrator can only evaluate the teacher, based on the actual lesson and not the lesson plan.  The lesson plan is the teacher's guide to the lesson and not part of the administrator's observation.

A simple one page lesson plan that uses bullet points of the lesson being taught, with a introduction, body, and conclusion, with an exit slip should be sufficient to cover any one lesson.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Brooklyn Charter High School Forgot To Pick Up The Global Regents



























On Monday sophomores and a few juniors and seniors showed up at their Brooklyn charter high school, only to find out that the school's administration failed to pick up the Regents and now these students must wait to August to take the Global Regents and some of the seniors will not graduate in June.

It appears that the school's administration are set to resign at the end of the school year due to their lack of an administration license, as the City is cracking down on both uncertified teachers as well as administrators.  Therefore, its possible the school administrators were either too lazy or simply incompetent for their failure to pick up the Global Regents in time to give it to the students.

This is the same charter high school where a 18 year old male student give brownies to a bunch of freshman girls that was laced with synthetic Marijuana   Most of the girls got sick and were throwing up and many of them ended up in the hospital.

Like most charter high schools most of the teaching staff will not be returning next school year as wel as the administrators.  This is due to a few factors like not being asked back, are not certified, or decided to go on to other schools or professions.The news media may love charter schools bu the truth is that the charter high schools are a very unstable educational facility with a transit teaching staff, unqualified administrators, and a student population that usually had trouble in their previous public schools before ending up at the charter high schools..


Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Principal Irene Sanchez Of PS 15 - White Teachers Need Not Apply


























 


It appears that a Principal in Community District 1 sent out a help want-ad on Indeed.com that asked that only minority teachers need to apply for vacancies in the District.

The Principal, Irene Sanchez of PS 15,  sent this racially targeted want ad and this was an apparent violation of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is “illegal for an employer to publish a job advertisement that shows a preference for or discourages someone from applying for a job” due to race, color, religion, sex or other characteristics".

The DOE had the Principal remove the help waned-ad the next day when the New York Post was given  the offending want-ad.

Since the apparent racially targeted want-ad by the Principal was removed under DOE pressure, what penalty will the DOE impose on Principal Irene Sanchez?   If she was a teacher, I have no doubt she would be subject to  3020-a charges and probably be fired.  However, my guess is that the Principal will simply get a reprimand, if that.

I will be very interested to see who Principal Irene Sanchez of PS 15 hires for the next school year. If no White teachers are hired then the UFT should use their resources and force the DOE to take corrective actions against the Principal.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Why Does The DOE Continue To Shortchange Schools?

























   Since 2008, the DOE has shortchanged schools when it has come to funding.  According to the City budget for 2019, only the now discontinued Renewal Schools received 100% of their Fair Student Funding (FSF).  In fact, most schools received far less with a minimum of 87%,  To fully fund NYC public schools under FSF, it would cost an additional 750 million dollars.

The FSF is broken down as follows:

Fair Student Funding Fair Student Funding (FSF) is $6.1 billion this school year and is used by schools to cover basic instructional needs. FSF funding usually comprises between 60 to 70 percent of an individual school’s budget and Principals may spend it at their discretion, with the ability and flexibility to decide how much to spend on teachers and other instructional needs. 

 The FSF formula allocates funding to schools through five categories:  

1.Foundation, which is a fixed amount of $225,000 for each school and may be used at the principals discretion for administrative staff, teachers, or other services the principal would like to provide. 

 2.Grade weights, based on student grade levels; 

 3.Needs weights, based on students’ needs; 

 4.Enhanced weights for portfolio high schools, which include CTE and transfer schools; and 

 5.Collective Bargaining,related to increases for staff funded with FSF

 While Mayor Bill dr Blasio committed to fully fund the public schools and lower class sizes, he has failed to achieve either one despite a $4 billion dollar City surplus.

Obviously, the Mayor and his Chancellor rather use the money for other needs then to  help the students by reducing class sizes, hire more teachers, and fully fund the schools.