Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly - The TDA Pension Agreement Between The UFT and The City

In the never ending quest by the UFT to poorly represent their members, the UFT/City of New York pension agreement continues in screwing its members. There has been some very confusing information about the June 22, 2009 pension agreement between the UFT and the City on what the annual interest rate will be for the fixed income TDA. Is it 8.25% or 7%? As many of you know the UFT allowed Mayor moneybags to impose a Tier V pension for "newbie teachers" and a reduction of the Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA) ixed income fund from 8.25% to 7%, effective when Governor Patterson signs it. However, the TRS in their newsletter stated that the TDA fixed income fund will remain at 8.25% until June 30, 2010. Confused? I was and while a Newsday article did clarify some of the confusing issues, it did not answer all of the questions. In the article it stated that Mayor moneybags requested that the 8.25% for the fixed income TDA fund be extended until the City's actuarial calculations can be completed for the change in interest rate. Therefore, the following applies to our TDA fixed income fund.

The Good: The TDA fixed income fund will stay at 8.25% until the legislature passes and the Governor signs the interest rate change bill, sometime in the fall or winter but may stay at 8.25% until June 30, 2010.

The Bad: Unfortunately, the extension of the 8.25% is at the mercy of Mayor moneybags and he will use the agreement with the UFT in lowering the interest rate of 8.25% to 7% during the 2010 mayoral contest. Therefore, expect the 7% interest rate to be put into effect sometime in 2010 but no later than July 1, 2010.

The Ugly: Here again, when Randi Weingarten negotiates with Mayor moneybags there always seem to be an unpublished side agreement. According to Richard Steier of the Chief, the agreement allows the City to require retirees to remove their TDA money from the fixed income fund once they retire. Presently, retirees don't have to start removing their TDA funds until 70 years of age. Why wasn't this side agreement published? Here is the excerpt from Richard Steier's article.

Discontinues Leaving Money In

Another loss to UFT members as a result of the TDA change, assuming it is enacted, would be the right to leave their money in the funds until they turn 70, with 8.25-percent interest continuing to accrue for up to 15 years if they retired at 55. That, along with the discontinuation of pension contributions after 10 years and pension vesting after five years, were gains that were made during the Giuliani administration.

The Mayor estimated that the changes would save the city $2 billion over 20 years, but most of the savings from the contribution and vesting changes would not materialize until well into that period. That also means, however, that the annual savings will mushroom beyond that time, with one official saying they could reach $200 million a year.

Ms. Weingarten said she had done what she could to protect members' benefits while also dealing with the economic realities confronting the retirement systems and the Department of Education.

"Our pension systems have lost a lot of money," she said. "We tried to do something that worked for education and the education system and the pension systems we operate in."

Why wasn't this clause included in the agreement? Another infamous side agreement that secretly screws the retirees. I guess it is their turn to "feel the pain" of Randi's secret side agreements. I can only hope the Michael Mulgrew does a better job negotiating a contract then Randi Weingarten but I highly doubt it, based on his past performance of being a union flunky uner Randi's tenure.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why Is Chancellor Joel Klein Immune From A SCI Investigation When It Comes To No-Bid Contracts That Appear Not To Pass The Smell Test?

One of the most objectionable aspect of Chancellor Joel Klein's tenure has been the awarding of "no-bid contracts" to consultants that waste millions of dollars in precious education funds. Time and again the Chancellor's critics have brought up the lack of accountability by Tweed in spending priorities. In particular, the awarding of large contracts to high-priced consultants and the increase of the total Tweed headcount during a time when the schools are experiencing a 8.5% budget cut and the Regional Offices that directly work with the schools are experiencing massive reductions, including layoffs.

Now comes a Daily News article by Juan Gonzalez that exposes an apparent agreement between Tweed and a little-known Florida computer company that will give this company a 95 million dollar contract. Interestingly, this company does not even have an office! The address they claim they work out of is simply a mail box drop and the Brooklyn address they claim they use is a residential building with no offices in it! In his article Juan Gonzalez writes the following.

"This, of course, is nothing new under Klein and Mayor Bloomberg. Both state Controller Tom DiNapoli and city Controller William Thompson have issued scathing reports in recent months about DOE's mushrooming use of no-bid contracts and the runaway costs that often result.

DiNapoli's report, released in May, found that the DOE awarded 291 no-bid contracts between July 2005 and June 2008 for more than $340 million and in most cases "failed to properly document" the reason why".

The question is why won't the Special Commissioner of Investigations (SCI) start a serious investigation of the practices of Tweed in general and Joel Klein in particular when it comes to allocating millions of dollars to companies that don't even have an office? SCI never seems to have a problem in starting an investigation of a school staff member that might have been accused of misappropriating a few dollars or was accused of potentially criminal conduct. However, when it comes to Tweed and Joel Klein SCI turns a blind eye and allows potential ethics violations and no-bid contract abuses to continue. Joel Klein and his Tweed cronies should be subject to the same requirements as school staff members. However, at present that does not seem to be the case.

In another Daily News article Joel Klein's popularity with the general public remains near an all-time low with an approval rating of 37% ( the lowest was 33% last year). If NYC parents of school children and school staff were the only ones polled, I suspect the numbers would be be much worse. Hopefully, Bloomberg's lead starts to deteriorate and he will terminate Joel Klein and his non-educator staff at Tweed. Only time will tell.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

How To Appeal A 3020-a Arbitrator Decision And The "Just Cause" Provision Used To Determine The Arbitrator's "Award".

In the State Education Law 3020-a the Arbitrator is given wide discretion in deciding the award (penalty) for the tenured teacher. However, occasionally the Arbitrator violates those rules and can be overturned in New York State Court under the Article 75 provisions (CPLR 7511). An example of this is the Teddy Smith arbitration decision when a second arbitrator only used the transcripts of the first arbitration decision to decide the award. Failure of the second arbitrator to hear the case was a violation of the rules and the award was reversed by the Supreme Court Judge. Remember, the 75-11 appeal must be submitted within ten days of the decision. Failure to meet the ten day time limit means that no appeal is allowed.

The four reasons that an Arbitrator's award can be reversed can be found in the New York Public Personnel Law. These four reasons are somewhat broad and vague. However, unless the Arbitrator's decision is egregious, it is highly unlikely that the Court will overturn the Arbitrator's award. listed below are the grounds that an Arbitrator's award can be appealed.:

The sole grounds set out in Article 75 for overturning such a determination:

1. Proof of corruption, fraud or misconduct in procuring an award;

2. The partiality of the arbitrator;

3. The arbitrator exceeded his or her authority; or

4. The arbitrator failed to follow the procedures set out in Article 75.

More interestingly, is the basis for an Arbitrator to terminate a tenured teacher. While, only 10% of the 3020-a cases in New York City lead to termination (20% of cases actually heard by an Arbitrator).The basis for an Arbitrator to terminate a tenured teacher must meet the "Just Cause" provision in the employee dismissal law, Section 5 and starting from page 5-13. The seven provisions must all apply if an Arbitrator is to terminate the tenured teacher.


In determining whether an employer’s discipline of an employee was for cause. The Arbitrator usually considers two elements. The Arbitrator first makes a factual determination whether the employee committed the act alleged and then makes a determination as to whether the act committed warranted the discipline imposed. In cases of dismissal, the burden is always on the employer to prove wrongdoing, and is always so when the agreement requires “just cause” for dismissal.

According to the “just cause” standard if any of the seven questions are determined by the Arbitrator not to be true (negative), then “just cause” does not exist and the Arbitrator can use his judgment on the proper penalty, short of termination.

· Did the company give the employee forewarning or foreknowledge of the possible or probable disciplinary consequences of the employee’s conduct?

· Was the company’s rules reasonably related to a) the orderly, efficient, and safe operation of the company’s business and b) the performance that the company might expect of the employee?

· Did the company, before administering discipline to the employee, make an effort to discover whether the employee did in fact violate or disobey a rule of order by management?

· Was the company’s investigation done fairly and objectively?

· At the investigation, did the company’s decision maker obtain substantial and compelling evidence of proof that the employee was guilty as charged?

· Has the company applied its rules, orders, and penalties evenhandedly to all employees without discrimination?

· Was the degree of discipline administered by the company in a particular case substantially related to a) the seriousness of the employee’s proven offense and (b the employment record of the employee in his service to the company.

The inconsistent enforcement of company rules is improper, and the discipline is set aside upon proof of discriminatory enforcement. Further, the Arbitrator can set aside management decisions on the grounds that the employee was denied due process rights in the investigatory procedure.

While most Arbitrators follow the ""just cause" practice, some may have their own very similar standards that are used to determine their "awards".

It is very important that all teachers going into their 3020-a hearings understand what their rights are. The more you know the better you will be able to defend yourself.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I Admit I Am Confused. Do We get 8.25% Or 7% In Our Fixed - Income TDA?

In June of this year the UFT and the City agreed that all UFT represented participants in the 403b fixed income plan will have the interest rate reduced from 8.25% to 7%, the New York State minimum. In the June 22nd agreement, the UFT and the City agreed to the following language relating to this agreement:

"The City and the union agree to support legislation to provide that, effective the next business day after the enactment of the legislation, the interest to be allowed on the Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA) accounts in the fixed-annuity savings funds of all UFT-representative participants in the Teacher Retirement System ("TRS") and the Board of Education ("BERS") retirement systems TDA program shall be 7.00% per annum".

To me, it seems as soon as the legislature passes the bill that is related to the UFT/City agreement, our fixed income TDA would be lowered to 7%. However, what confuses me is the July 16, 2009 statement in the TRS online newsletter. The TRS stated the following:

The New York State Legislature has extended the 8.25% annual interest rate for the Fixed Return Fund. This rate is retroactive to July 1 and is applicable through June 30, 2010, when it may be renewed or reset in accordance with applicable laws. We previously reported that the interest rate dropped to 7% as of July 1 because the State Legislature had not acted to extend the rate. However, this law supersedes that change, and members who participate in the Fixed Return Fund will, at this time, continue to receive interest at the annual rate of 8.25%.

Confused? I certainly am. It would appear the legislature ignored the UFT/City agreement and we are getting 8.25% in our TDA Fixed-income annuity. However, I am not totally sure this is the case. If anybody has knowledge of what our interest rate is in our TDA fixed-income annuity, please comment on my post.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Am Ashamed Of Our Union For The Undemocratic Method It Allows For Nominating Presidential Candidates

It was with great disgusted that I read how the UFT Executive Board decided to only allow for the nomination of their hand-picked puppet, Michael Mulgrew as President of the UFT. I had thought that the UFT was an inclusive union that allowed for honest debate and nominations for President. Why should my $47.27 per paycheck fund undemocratic policies that I don't agree with? I can understand that the "Unity caucus", which dominates the executive board and the union leadership didn't want any competition. However, I am especially disappointed at the "New Action caucus" who claims they are independent but bows to the whims of the "Unity caucus" when it comes to voting on issues. I really am disappointed in JD2718 who usually questions some of the union's policies but failed to allow for competition for UFT President on the Executive Board that he is a member of.

It would only be right if the other UFT caucuses were included on the Presidential nomination process and in fact, two of them. The Independent Council of Educators (ICE) and Teachers for a Just Contract (TJC) did combine forces and tried to nominate James Eterno. However, the Executive Board refused to consider the nomination. You would think that our union which is supposed to represent the "Brightest" people in the City workforce would encourage inclusiveness and transparency in union business. Instead, they practice "Stalinist" tactics with a demand of 100% obedience and non-democratic practices by appointing people based on their loyalty to "Unity" and not on their ability to help their members. Under the "Unity caucus" only school representatives (chapter leader, delegate, and SBLT representatives) and TRC liaisons are elected by its members. All others are appointed by the President and his/her minions. Is it any wonder that the common complaint from the schools is that the Union has lost touch with their members?

I am an independent thinker and not a member of any of the UFT caucuses. However, I despise the "Unity caucuses" Stalinist cult of loyalty and secrecy that has hurt this union and is mistrusted by many of its members. The next President must promise transparancy and democratic elections for all Borough positions as well as a separation between the High Schools, the Middle Schools, and the Elementary Schools to get my vote. It is time that our union go back to its democratic roots rather than be a mirror image of Tweed.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Why Michael Bloomberg Is Not The Education Mayor And Never Will Be.

Mayor Mike's media blitz that has reached 36 million dollars and trumpets him as the education Mayor. However, is Mayor Mike really the education Mayor? Let's look behind the media hype and investigate what Mayor Mike has really done to the News York City Public Schools.

Academics: Despite the media propaganda that student academic achievement has improved during his administration, the truth is far different. First, the baseline national tests, the NAEP and the SAT tests have shown little movement during the Bloomberg years. In fact, the SAT scores have shown a slight decline since Mayor Bloomberg took over the New York City Public Schools. The phony academic improvement came from the continuing "dumbing down" of the State tests and matrices which resulted in all school districts in the State showing equivalent improvements. Further, the alleged narrowing of the achievement gap between minorities and White/Asian students results from the "dumbing down" of the State tests that artificially raises level 1 students (well below average) to level 3 status (above average). I wrote a post about this issue previously. In fact a study down by a management consulting group showed how the Bloomberg Administration did not close the gap and can be found Here. Many high school teachers are shocked that the level 2 or 3 ninth graders are so lacking in academic skills that there is genuine concern of them making it to graduation without additional assistance. Of course that leads to the next issue.

Graduation Rates: Every year the high school graduation rates increase. However, under Bloomberg there is a question if the graduation rates are real. The DOE has pressured the High Schools to provide a "credit recovery program" to assist failing students. Since the DOE lacks transparency and Principals don't report how the "credit recovery program" affects the High School graduation rates. This has been brought up time and again by various bloggers and newspaper articles Here. The majority of high school graduates must take non-credit remedial courses and until significant improvement is made here, the high school graduation rates reported by the Bloomberg Administration will remain bogus. In addition, because Principals are under pressure to improve the school grades. Many Principals will pressure teachers and even change failing seniors grades to improve the school's graduation rate and improve their school's grade. You can find an article about how Principals use tactics that inflate the school's grades without actually improving the student academics.

Overcrowded Classrooms and Schools: One of the biggest failures by the Bloomberg Administration is the disgraceful conditions of many schools and classrooms. New York City has the largest class sizes in the State (Here) and it would be higher if not for the UFT contract that limits class sizes. However, many of the schools lack decent supplies or technology to help the classroom educate the students. An example of this is Francis Lewis High School which is extremely overcrowded and chapter leader Arthur Goldstein in his Daily News article described it best.

" My high school was built to hold 1,800 but enrolls 4,450 students. My kids sit in a crumbling trailer, with no technology and often no heat in the winter. So much for efficiency".

Despite the CFE lawsuit and extra State funds, the Bloomberg Administration has failed to reduce class sizes and in some cases actually raised it.

Quality Teachers: The Bloomberg Administration talks a good game when they claim they want quality teachers in the classroom. However, the reality is quite different. The City practices a policy called "education on the cheap" where inexpensive "newbie teachers" , many coming from an alternate certification program (Teach For America & Teaching Fellows) are hired over senior teachers (Here). Educators know that it takes between 3 to 5 years before a new teacher acquires enough experience to master classroom management and the curriculum to make him or her a quality teacher. However, under the Blommberg Administration the DOE is dominated by non-educators and they do not understand what it takes to be a quality teacher. In fact I posted an article how Bloomberg and Klein's idea of a quality teacher is far different than what educators think. Until educators are back in control of the DOE, look for the Bloomberg policy of "education on the cheap" to continue.

Lack of Parent, Student, and Teacher Input: Under the Bloomberg Administration, the only people who have input into the education process are the non-educators from Tweed. Mayoral Control has given Joel Klein complete control over education policy and given the Principals total control of their schools. Under the Bloomberg Administration the parents, students, and teachers have no voice in education and are ignored when they do speak out. Mayoral control has been a disaster for all three groups and some of the reasons are posted by me previously.

Money For the Schools: I can only laugh how one of the Bloomberg commercials claims he cut 350 million dollars of overhead and sent it to the schools. If that was true, then why is it that the schools are experiencing a 8.5% cut for the 2009-2010 school year? How come Tweed has not significantly cut its Central Bureaucracy? In fact, in some areas Tweed has seen an increase in personnel Here. How about the no-bid contracts that Tweed signs? Or the 81 million dollar waste of a computer program called AIRS? It seems Bloomberg didn't talk about that.

Wasting Money: The 1700 ATRS and 800 "rubber room" teachers account for almost 150 million dollars a year. Many of these teachers are "quality teachers" that disagreed with a vindictive and insecure Principal, had their school closed, given an unfair and biased investigation, or deemed incompetent simply because they didn't submit to the Principal's school tone. In the real world of education there would not be any ATRs and a maximum of 100 reassigned teachers (teachers subject to criminal action). However, this is the bizarro world of the DOE where non-educators waste precious funds in a mostly futile attempt to terminate teachers that should be teaching in the classroom. Here are some articles. Here, Here, and Here.

Age Discrimination: The Bloomberg Administration has backed Joel Klein in removing senior teachers to the "rubber room" . In the Queens reassignment Center over 50% of the teachers are 50 years of age and older while 85% of the teachers are over 40 years of age. Ageism? You bet it is !

Is Mayor Bloomberg the education Mayor? Only if you are a non-educator and believe in the City's "children last" and "education on the cheap" policies.

Note: To prove my point. If you want to know how much Mayor Mike disrespects and marginalizes the New York City Public School students just read this!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Is Michael Mulgrew Randi Lite?

Unless you live under a rock, Michael Mulgrew will take over the presidency of the UFT, effective August 1, 2009. Who is Michael Mulgrew and what does he stand for? Good question but I have no answers for you. However, I can tell you in the past, that Mike Mulgrew was a great kisser, especially when it comes to kissing Randi Weingarten's ass. Under Randi Weingarten's tenure he has been one of the most loyal of Randi's inner circle and has a 100% voting record when it comes to union resolutions that Randi wanted passed. Interestingly, in the last Presidential elections the "Unity caucus" pointed out how John McCain was George Bush Lite when they brought out that as a Senator, John McCain voted for 90% of what the Bush Administration wanted passed. I guess that makes Michael Mulgrew Randi Weingarten Lite as well.

Trying to determine what Mike Mulgrew will do once he takes over the Presidency of the UFT will not be difficult since he will be responsible to complete the parameters of the new contract that Randi and Mayor Mike have agreed on. I expect only two things from Mulgrew when it comes to the new contract. There are no givebacks and the elimination of the ATR pool, meaning that all excessed teachers must be placed before the DOE can hire "newbie teachers". Since we are stuck with the pattern of 4% and 4% for the two year period (minus the 0.58% that Randi already gave back to the City), nothing less is acceptable.

It is common knowledge that Michael Mulgrew shot up through the ranks of the UFT as he "brown nosed" his way into Randi Wiengarten's inner circle as Vice President of Vocational Schools and an apparent protege of Tom Pappas. While I have no problem how Mr. Mulgrew rose in the ranks of Randi's lackeys. It could have been worse, we could have gotten Cleo, eh Leo Casey instead. I do have a problem with his statement in praising Tom Pappas on his retirement. In the New York Teacher he said the following.

"I've learned more from this man in two years than from all the teachers in my life".

I read this as the advice from a person that hasn't been in the classroom for over 20 years as being more important than all the classroom teacher input he has experienced in his life. This is the type of person that represents the classroom teacher? Very disappointing to say the least.

I personally see business as usual and I can only hope that I am wrong and that Michael Mulgrew, rather than being Randi Lite, brings strong leadership and allows for more direct elections for many of the positions that have been taken away from us over the years under Randi Weingarten's regime. Further, that he turns out to be a mensch and stands up to Chancellor Joel and Mayor Mike when it comes to teacher tenure and "due process" and not a wuss. Only time will tell.

I can however assure you that we won't have to see the disgusting image of Joel Klein giving Michael Mulgrew a kiss once a contract is signed. However, let's hope that Mr. Mulgrew doesn't forget himself and bend down to kiss the Chancellor's ass as seen Here. Good luck Mr. Mulgrew, and remember its your members first, something the union has seemed to forget lately.

Update: According to Gotham Schools, the DOE has quietly lifted the hiring freeze for "Teaching Fellows" assigned to District 75. That means 70 positions that should have gone to ATRs are going to "newbie teachers". What is so strange that the dropping of the hiring freeze occurred just as the City instituted a total hiring freeze. How can an agency disregard the City and hire new employees without consequences? Something stinks here.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Age Discrimination Continues At The DOE As Our Union Leaders Keep Their Heads In The Sand

The regional DOE offices, known as the Integrated Service Centers (ISC) have decided that the reason the ATRs are not getting jobs is that they don't know how to interview with the Principals properly. Therefore, the Borough ISC offices have spent precious funds in organizing an "interview techniques class". The ISC, rather than face the obvious reason that the ATRs are not being hired by the Principals, they are blaming the ATRs instead. Pissed Off's friend described her frustration with the ISC and wrote about her experience with the ISC.

Of course the real reason that the ATRs are not being hired is quite simple. It is about age discrimination and the control the Principals want to have. Remember, if a Principal says "jump" the "newbie teacher"will say "how high"? While the senior teacher will rightly say "why?' It is really not about the money, it is about Principals not wanting senior teachers who might question their directives. This is especially true of the "Leadership Academy Principals. Previously, I wrote about the reasons why the Principals refused to hire the ATRs despite not costing their schools any more money than a "newbie teacher".

As for our union? Their collective heads are buried in the sand as they refuse to see the obvious age discrimination going on in the DOE. Previously, I posted the ageism that is going on in the Queens Teacher Reassignment Center (TRC). Furthermore, the UFT quietly dropped an age discrimination lawsuit at or about the time the union signed the unenforceable and DOE ignored November 16th 2008 ATR agreement. Despite union denials that there was any linkage between the two events, it certainly looks suspicious to the informed observer and was posted by me here.

In an earlier post I talked about a friend of mine who is an excellent teacher and her private tutoring services is highly rated and sought after by parents who's children need extra academic help. However, after her school restructured she found herself as an ATR and despite a sparkling reputation and glowing Administrator evaluations she has failed to land a classroom position. My friend has sent out 31 resumes and received not one response. Not one! Why won't Principals hire her? Well it could be that she is 50+ and has over 20 years experience. Nothing else can account for the lack of interest in this teacher.

Remember, the DOE's real mission is to get rid of senior teachers at all costs and if the students are collateral damage, so be it. It is consistent with Tweed's "education on the cheap" and "children last" programs. Unfortunately. our union seems quite happy to ignore the DOE's abuse of their senior teachers and allow the "ATR (1400+) and rubber room (800)" ranks to continually increase with older teachers, many of them 50 years of age or older.

Maybe with Michael Mulgrew as the new President of the UFT things will change. Yeah right. I'm more likely to see Leo Casey become an ICE member before the UFT does the right thing and go after Tweed for their ageism policies.

"Happy Independence Day"

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Board Of Education Must Seize The Opportunity To Terminate Chancellor Joel Klein While They Can

With the temporary ending of mayoral control the Borough Presidents and their representatives must seize the opportunity and terminate Chancellor Joel Klein and save the New York City Public Schools. This window of opportunity will be gone by the next school year and terminating the despised Chancellor sends the Mayor a very important message that Tweed's anti-teacher culture and "children last" programs must change.

While it is true that mayoral control, with some modifications, will be given back to Mayor Bloomberg, it is very important that the politicians let everybody know that having a non-educator as Chancellor has hurt the New York City Public School students and staff and has resulted in the wasting of millions of dollars that could have been given to the schools. The only way the Mayor will understand that is if the new Board Of Education terminates the Chancellor while it has the power to do so.

Under Chancellor Klein's leadership we have found that the two national baseline tests, the NAEP and the SAT has shown no significant academic improvement. In fact the SAT scores have slightly declined since the beginning of Joel Klein's tenure. Furthermore, the "credit recovery system", the dropout rates, and the granting of full credit for both semesters when passing the last semester also adds to the lack of credibility of the alleged improved high school graduation rates. A Daily News article by Marc Epstein shows what happens in Jamaica High School on how they used "smoke and mirrors" to improve his school's graduation rate.

It is under Chancellor Klein that has seen the DOE program of "education on the cheap" as he starves schools for funds, encourages Principals to hire "newbie teachers" and applauds Principals who remove teachers at their pleasure while picking up the removed teacher's salary after sixty days instead of one year. The result is 800 teachers have been removed from the classroom and another 1700+ have become ATRs, many of them senior teachers.

Under Joel Klein's regime, the classroom has not seen any significant class size reductions despite the State giving additional funds for this purpose. There, has been a corresponding increase in teacher paperwork and a lowering of teacher morale as student discipline codes are ignored by administrators and a mere student accusation can get the teacher removed from the classroom. The neighborhood schools are being attacked by an influx of Tweed inspired small and charter schools that leave the most needy of students behind and try to steal the cream of the crop from the neighborhood schools. For the large traditional high schools that are not being dismantled, the DOE continues to push more and more students into those schools. Arthur Goldstein of Francis Lewis High School stated it best when he said.

" My high school was built to hold 1,800 but enrolls 4,450 students. My kids sit in a crumbling trailer, with no technology and often no heat in the winter. So much for efficiency".

Finally, the use of no-bid contracts that are hidden from public view and lack of transparency in Tweed's decision making does not allow for parent, student, or teacher input into the education process, The result is that Tweed uses the failed "top down approach" while receiving little input from the schools. This results in a "one-size-fits-all" teaching model that does not work for many of the most challenged students and puts teachers at risk for incompetence charges.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, where are you when we need you to terminate the Chancellor?

Update: the Board Of Education wimped out and voted to retain Joel Klein as Chancellor. Too bad they did not have the "guts" to do the right thing for the New York City Public Schools.