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!


Pogue said...

Wonderful post. So clear and true. For the betterment of this city for the future...children, parents, teachers, and workers, in general, we have got to send this guy, and all close affiliates, packing.

Chaz said...

We need the politicians to understand what the real damage that is being done to the NYC public schools. Until the politicians understand this, the general public will only listen to what Bloomberg and his media allies say.

Anonymous said...

Chaz, make sure a link to your blog gets E-mailed to all State politicians and officials in the Governor's Office, Senate, Assembly, and NYSED.

Also, you should promote your blog on Craigslist and New York Teachers Chatboard.

Highly critical letters, copies of which you should post, need to be written to the publishers, editors, education editors, and education reporters at the major dailies, informing them of what a grave disservice they've been doing to the people of NYC by concealing, covering, and misinforming.

Chaz said...


Thanks for the information. It is something to consider.

Anonymous said...

Chaz -

I think that you are being far too generous in your assessment of the situation in NYC public schools.

There are precious few educators involved in so-called education in the big cities these days, New York included.

The broken, ill creatures who dictate how things will work (bloomberg, klein, et al.) are not educators and are, in fact, psychopaths.

I use the term "psychopath" interchangeably with "sociopath" and I mean it clinically, forensically. These are folks who are missing normal human qualities and attributes. These are people who lack conscience, sympathy, empathy.

Other people are simply "self-objects" to them: inanimate, insignificant objects to be employed solely for their own amusement, gratification, sometimes material profit.

Then there are human beings whom you and others ordinarily and automatically refer to as "teachers," Chaz.

I respectfully and strongly disagree.

Most real teachers I know have told me that it takes 5 years to truly grow into the ability and skill and wisdom to teach.

One of the finest teachers I know estimates that it requires 7-10 years to become a completely developed teacher.

I agree with him.

In any case, the people whom you refer to as teachers, meaning "newbies," are simply NOT teachers. Period.

They may or may not be bright, altruistic, decent people.

The chances are excellent that they cannot write proper English, do not KNOW proper English. The chances are excellent that they are not readers. Very, very few Americans can write English anymore and very few read. The "newbies," whether they are 21 or 46, are no different.

Some of the "newbies," whether they are 21 or 46, intend to become lifelong teachers and give unstintingly of themselves. Others are bold in their assertions that they came to bilk New York City's tapayers out of the money to pay for their Master's degree and then pick up and leave.

In any event, no matter what their motives and no matter how talented they might be, this ever rotating crop of so-called "teachers" is not a seasoned teaching staff in any school.

There are, in many, many of the new, small schools, NO teachers whatever, and no staff of any kind capable of delivering educational services to New York City's children.

In my erstwhile school, there were nearly NO experienced people - no true teachers - in a staff of about 60.

Good intentions, a good heart, even knowledge and a fair helping of intelligence most decidedly do NOT a teacher make.

All of the above and more and many years of experience are crucial if one is to well and truly be a teacher.

Chaz - there are nearly no teachers left in the buildings still designated as "schools."

No educators teaching, supervising, organizing, nothing.

No educators, no education.

Only a successful massive effort to turn all of us into prey for the predators.

Sorry for what might seem harsh. Realith is MUCH harsher than anything I could write and will continue to become more cruel, more brutal and more desperate.

I just wish most of us would accept this reality and then act to bravely and wisely change it.


Anonymous said...

With all due respect, as "newbie teacher" I take great umbrage at what both K.C. and Chaz have been complaining so much about. I will remind you both, that you too were “noobs” in the past. It took YOU both the same amount of years as me to become a good teacher (I certainly hope you’re good, but why should I believe you?) So, please stop this pathetic, ranting hypocrisy against so-called “newbie teachers.
My Education is hardly cheap. Perhaps, you are complaining about paying a gross amount of money to have really learned what you really needed to learn while on the job. You generalize and demonize many of my fellow cohorts, who are masters degree owners for the most part, many of whom come from high paying jobs, and QUIT (not laid off, mind you), my self included to do this.
Your attitude towards your fellow teachers, whether new, or old, is disgusting. Sadly, your inability to see past your own vitriol is not only pathetic, but demoralizing to anyone out there who has no agenda other than teaching his/her students.
I demand an apology, and if you scuff at me for doing so, than I could care less. In a few years, you won’t be able to call me a newbie, and guess, what? I will welcome any new teacher with open arms, and try to help them along, to keep them here, instead of spit in their face.

Chaz said...

Anon 3:05

I believe you are missing the point. Yes, we were all "newbie teachers". However, it is only during the Bloomberg and Klein years that senior teachers have been discriminated against.

The fair student funding formula, the school budget, and agesim are the trademark of Bloomberg and Klein. Therefore, the encouraging of hiring "newbie teachers" who all need time to learn classroom management and the curriculum.

If you believe I have insulted you? So be it. This is about the 1700+ ATRs and 800 rubber room" teachers. Many of them quality teachers. The majority with over ten years experience who no fault of there own are being discriminated against because of their salary and outspokeness.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous "Noob:"

First off, nobody insulted you or anyone else.

IF you read the K.C. posting with intelligence, reason, discernment, critical faculties functioning, you would understand that there was no insult offered to anyone.

There was, rather, an analysis of what it means to become a teacher.

I am sorry to have to do this, but whomever you are: your English needs a good deal of work. Typos, such as those I sometimes make, are one thing. Ignorance of how the language works, what words mean is something different.

Examples: We "scuff" our shoes and we "scoff" at those with whom we do not agree. Your "Perhaps" took no following comma. "Education" in midsentence is not capitalized. It is "number of years" and NOT "amount of years." The expression is, "I COULD NOT CARE LESS." (Think about that one good and hard; most people these days have no clue about it: yet more evidence we don't spend much time exercising our intellects.) Your sentences are not always sentences! More examples could be adduced. This will suffice. (Do you know the word, "adduced?")

This is precisely one of this nation's problems: we cannot use the language to write, think, reason. That is one of the causes of the fact that we're out of the porcelain throne (do you understand the allusion here, Mr. Outraged?) and already in the sewer system in this grand country.

Outsized ego, based upon nothing more than the advertising and entertainment industries (aided and abetted by the overlords), has replaced the humility necessary to study and work hard to learn any subject, including the language we allegedly speak, read and write.

Whomever you are, I most assuredly did not spit in your face, nor anyone else's face.

A teacher needs years to become truly proficient. That is no insult.


Chaz said...


I think the "newbie" understands now this was not an attack on "newbie"' teachers" but a cynical plan by Bloomberg and Klein to destroy senior teachers while reducing salary and pension costs.

I am also guilty of typos and grammatical errors and so are many other bloggers. Let's not make this personal.

Unknown said...

As a parent I thank you so much for your post. Many parents, children and teachers feel that the NYC school system has become a "cash cow", which utilizes our children as collateral damage. Our voices are not heard, nor does Bloomberg wish for them to be heard. And yes, ARIS is a piece of crap!!! 81 million could have been spent on technology, books, supplies and yes God forbid, actual programs and services for those children in crisis.

Chaz said...


If only more parents would understand that under Bloomberg and Klein it is children last and they are the being sacrificed by these non-educators at Tweed.

Wouldn't you want an experienced teachers teaching your children than a novice?

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