Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Inconvenient Truth On Why The Renewal School Program Was A Failure




























The Renewal Schools program will be discontinued at the end of the school year due to their failure to achieve meaningful student academic improvement.  The question is why did the Renewal Schools fail to significantly improve student academic achievement despite throwing money and additional resources at those schools?  To me, the answer is simple, the additional money and resources did not go into the classroom but ended up with the hiring of additional administrators, consultants, and questionable professional development programs.

I believe that these are the causes for the Renewal School program's failure to improve student academic achievement.
  • Large Class Sizes:  Despite various studies that show lower class sizes are strongly correlated to improve academic achievement, most Renewal Schools had class sizes that were at contractual limits. 

  • High Teacher Turnover:  Renewal Schools suffer from a higher teacher turnover than the rest of the NYC school system.  This results in an unstable school environment and lower student academic achievement.
  • Hiring of inexperienced teachers:  The Renewal Schools were still subject to the DOE's misguided "fair student funding" and hired only untenured or "newbie" teachers to stretch their budget.  In fact then Chancellor Carmen Farina prohibited Renewal Schools to hire ATRs, many of them veteran quality teachers.  Talking about cutting off their nose to spite their face!
  • Renewal School's Poor Reputation:  It didn't take long for middle school parents to make sure that their academically achieving students did not include Renewal Schools on their list of high schools to attend.  The result was the Renewal high schools were a "dumping ground" for academically struggling students that nobody else wanted.
  •  No Neighborhood Input:  Since the Renewal Schools were subject to citywide open admissions and many of their student body came from other neighborhoods, local input was lacking, both because of neighborhood disinterest and the failure of school administrators to reach out to the community.
  •  Poor Leadership:  Schools with strong leadership is a must for schools to improve.  Unfortunately, many, if not all, schools had weak or incompetent leadership.  That includes the Principal and the conflicting and confusing administrative directives from above.  Moreover, many of the administrators were failed principals who found themselves in a position to guide the Renewal Schools principals on how to best run their schools.  What a waste of money and resources. For example having Amiee Horowitz put in charge of the program.
  • Cellphones In The Renewal Schools:  The use of cellphones in the Renewal Schools serve as a distraction and hurts student academic achievement.
To truly improve the academically struggling schools, eliminate  citywide open enrollment, by bringing back neighborhood schools and give the community a say in the running of the school,  significantly reduce class sizes, and hire more veteran teachers by allowing academically struggling schools a waiver from Fair Student Funding.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

My question is why did carmen farina not want to hire atrs for the renewal schools? I mean I know we are living in the twilight zone world here in nyc but really now can anyone possibly tell me why farina would not want to hire experienced seasoned professionals?

Some of the top teachers nyc has really to try and improve a system that is so bad, so poorly run, so inexperienced now, so top heavy leadership incompetency and students that are so difficult to work with not to mention they are all speaking 15 different languages.

Come on now the ole media hype thing with bloomberg and klein about atrs is outdated. The media experiment several years ago trashing experienced teachers was a bloomberg klein low life move. By now we should all realize that many of the teachers in the atr pool are great teachers with a tremendous amount of experience which is so desperately needed in often violent loud disruptive over crowded classrooms in nyc. Just ask any 23 year old working in the bronx these days.

Carmen farina played to the media, it was so evident in her tenure as chancellor and its a shame because I expected more from her being able to realize who her great teachers really are.

Anonymous said...

I think part of the problem is people generally associate ATRs with bad teachers. While I agree many are highly effective, it is also true that many (less but still more than a few) are incompetent. And unfortunately, when people think ATRs, they remember the one incompetent ATR they dealt with rather than the hundred good ones who were put in the system for various reasons. Even the veteran teachers (10+ years) at my school hold this outlook.

Anonymous said...

I was hired under Project ARTS. Now I'm in Project ATRS.

Anonymous said...

There are just as many incompetent ATRs in the system as there are teachers. Everything is relative. I've seen some teachers at the school I am at that would be at most developing if they were rated when I was with them. The sad part is these people get to keep their positions and I'm out in the cold.

Anonymous said...

Yes! The 'coaches,' 'PDs' and extra paperwork requirements and materials orders are insane in renewal schools.

This has got to be the biggest scandal that will never see the light of day: the 'coaches' racket is a massive scam and cash cow for connected people to get in on the gravy train.

So many 'coaches' and 'experts' have come through my school, making massive amounts of money, and they are useless. A five or ten year+ veteran teacher does not need a three year teacher 'coach' making 10-15k more per year.'

'Teacher leaders' get extra pay in my school for basically doing admin work. They have light teaching schedules and just busy-body around to look like they are doing things, but they really make the rest of us have headaches.

The assassin-like observations of the mostly sadistic and psychologically deranged 'admins' is just awful.

Shady said...

Renewal Program led by Carmen Farina and Amy Horrorwitz was a complete failure. They spent 750 million dollars which is almost 1 billion dollars with inflation and adding a few million here and there. How Carmen and Amy both left the DOE at the same time needs to be investigated. They should both be interrogated naked until one confesses where the money is being hidden. I called the DA's office and they said they can't find an investigator who would interrogate them naked. What kind of bullshit is that?

Anonymous said...

The "coaches"=corporate welfare. People getting wealthy after a few well placed bribes. (See Mulgrew's Sister)

Anonymous said...

The fact that Aimee Horowitz was in charge of the renewal program itself speaks volumes about the program's inevitable failure. I also did inquire about the specifics of why Aimee left just several months after being given a cushy job made up just for her. She now works as a senior education specialist for Integration Charter Schools. I thought about printing every single news article and blog entry made against her within the last several years, and showing all these things to the HR department at her new job. That will generate some discussion for sure. Aimee is a cancer to education no matter where she goes. She used her Facebook account as a platform to constantly promote and plug the progress of the renewal program according to her. Her erroneous assumption that the renewal program was a wonderful thing just because the graduation rates increased is ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

What teacher would want to work in a shit hole like that.

Anonymous said...

I have 26 years in and I would work in a shit hole like that if the teachers were allowed to run the school. As long as we have inexperienced, corrupt, halfwit sheep as the administrators, nothing will improve. As long as politicians, also corrupt halfwits, are in charge of education, nothing will improve.

Anonymous said...

As an atr who plans on staying one I was ecstatic when that ego maniac farina banned ATRs from these shit boxes.

Anonymous said...

True. I'm an ATR and I get more respect as an ATR in the school I'm in now than when I was an assigned teacher at Flushing High School. The students are even more receptive to me.

Anonymous said...

Larry Brown was one of the greatest coaches in the history of college and NBA basketball. He went to the New York Knicks and was stuck with a bunch of over rated lazy players. I think they won 18 games all season that year. The bottom line is your only as good as the players you have. These students were not going to perform no matter how much money the DOE threw at the problem. Anyone in the DOE with experience could have told you this. At the end it was a complete waste of time and money.