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Sunday, November 29, 2009
The Daily News Editorial Gets It Wrong Again. What Else Is New?
In today's New York Daily News editorial their clueless editorial staff once again gets it wrong when it comes to the New York City Public Schools. The editorial blamed the wrong people, the teachers for the ongoing problems with the New York City Schools. The editorial basically used Mayor Bloomberg's speech at Washington D.C. for what changes are needed in the school system. However, educators, especially ones who came from the classroom know better. These educators know that Blommberg's accusation against teachers are lies and what is really needed to help the children are as follows.
1. Smaller class sizes: New York City has the highest class sizes in the State and despite State money through the CFE lawsuit that was to be used to lower class size, the money appeared to have been e diverted by Tweed for other uses since class sizes have remained steady over the Bloomberg/Klein years. Most independent studies show that small class size has a very positive correlation to student academic improvement.
2. Experienced Teachers: There is no doubt that the most needy of children need an experienced teacher to guide their academic development. However, under Bloomberg/Klein we now have a "fair student funding" formula that penalizes schools that hire experienced teachers. In fact, budget cuts actually penalizes principals who hire experienced teachers.
3. ATRs & Rubber Room Teachers: Joel Klein created the ATR crises which has resulted in 1,300 ATRs, many of them experienced, senior teachers from closed schools and the sevenfold increase in reassigned teachers who's only crime is to be on the wrong side of a vindictive Principal. Some of the best teachers in the system can be found in both groups. All Tweed needs to do to get rid of both groups is to have a real hiring freeze until there are no ATRs left. As for the "rubber room" teachers, only those teachers accused of criminal offenses should be reassigned with the rest sent back to the school system after meeting with an independent mediator.
4. Reduce The Central Bureaucracy: Reduce Tweed to the bone and ensure that educators are in control of the DOE not the lawyers and business managers. Furthermore, it is time that an independent oversight board be established to make sure consultants and contracts are both cost effective and beneficial to the schools.
5. Stop Hiring Non-Educators: Finally, Tweed must stop hiring family and friends who only care about their next job outside the school system and waste precious education money on programs and people who don't contribute to the children they are supposed to represent.
These are the issues, along with improving the schools, not closing them, are what is needed to improve the New York City Schools.