Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Bloomberg & Klein's "Final Solution" - The Extermination Of The Large Traditional High Schools
There is no longer any pretense on what Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein wants to do with the large traditional high schools in New York City. They have targeted them for extermination and use the space for small and possible charter schools. In turn, there will be hundreds of additional ATRs added to the ATR ranks, many of them senior teachers as the replacement schools only hire the young, cheap, and nontenured teachers. The media rags, the New York Post & Daily News will rant about the over 200 million dollars the DOE must pay for the over 2,000 ATRs and demand a time limit. Meanwhile, our union will remain defensive and hunker down and hope the bad press will go away.
What about the children? Bloomberg & Klein do not care about the children. For them it is "education on the cheap" and "blame the teacher" for the administrative mismanagement of the schools. Since I am familiar with Queens, let's see how Tweed caused this mess in the first place and the falling of the dominoes associated with the closing of the large traditional high schools..
Years ago under Joel Klein's tenure, Tweed closed down four large traditional high schools in southern Queens. August Martin, Far Rockaway, Springfield Gardens, and Franklin K. Lane . The small schools that replaced these closed schools were allowed to exclude English Language Learners and Special education students for the first couple of years, Moreover, the schools worked hard to discourage level one students with behavioral or attendance problems from selecting their schools by claiming to the parents that their school could not provide the services to help their child and that the large traditional high school would be a better choice. The result was that schools like Beach Channel high school received an influx of these low achieving students once slated to go to Far Rockaway high school. The same happened to Jamaica high school as these very same low achieving students from Springfield Gardens & August Martin high schools ended up at Jamaica high school. The result was a destabilization of both schools who are now slated for closing. Now what happens to these low achieving students who would normally go to both schools? Well if I was a staff member of John Adams, Richmond Hill, Martin Van Buren, and Hillcrest high schools, look for your schools to be destabilized and slated for closing in the next year or two and be welcomed to the ever expanding ATR ranks.
It is time for our union to stand up for these schools and fight tooth and nail to stop Tweed from closing these or any other schools without "just cause" and organize political and parent support to get rid of Chancellor Joel Klein and his non-educators at Tweed who are destroying the New York City Public School System. We are supposed to be a powerful union. How about using this power for once?