Friday, April 23, 2010

The DOE's Principals First & Children Last Policy

Over the tenure of the Bloomberg/Klein Administration the New York City Schools have seen an increase in Principal abuse of their staff as Tweed has given these principals more control of their school. Many of these principals are coming out of the "Leadership Academy" with little actual classroom experience, some not even tenured! Moreover, these principals have been told that they are the CEO of their school and run the school as a business. The problem is that the students are not widgets and the staff cogs. Every child is different and have individual learning needs, while among the staff, their are various teaching styles. The result is chaos at many of the schools and can result in the unfair removal of a teacher.

How many times have I heard about a teacher being removed from his or her class, usually instigated by the Principal, only to have no qualified substitute to handle the class. This results in an Administrator to come into the class of unruly students and say "if Ms. Jones was here, you wouldn't act this way". Of course if the Administrator had not targeted Ms. Jones in the first place, the class would not be a problem. This is called "collateral damage" and results in the DOE encouraged "children last" policy that has swept the New York City Public Schools.

You might ask why would a Principal deliberately hurt the students by removing a well qualified teacher? The answer is simple. Its about the Principal's power and control to impose their will over the staff. Any teacher criticism can and usually does target that teacher. Is it little wonder their are between 600 and 700 teachers in the "rubber rooms"? Many of the "Leadership Academy" principals are insecure and rule their schools through intimidation and fear. Therefore, they find any reason possible to push out senior teachers who are outspoken and defend the rights of the students and staff. The DOE allows these principals to gets rid of the teacher while enforcing the intimidation and fear aspect to others.

Another reason is the budget. Many schools are suffering from significant budget cuts of up to 5%. Therefore, many of the Principal's pet programs would need to be cut. However, if the Principal can drum up frivolous or bogus charges against a senior teacher, the school can save up to $100,000 after carrying the reassigned teacher's salary for only 60 days. Quite a temptation indeed.

Finally, just plain "age discrimination" as many of these insecure Principals want to hire "young, newbie teachers" who don't question idiotic decisions. That is why the "rubber rooms" have a majority of teachers 50 years or older.

Every time I hear Chancellor Joel Klein state that he has a "children first" policy I can only laugh and say when does it help the children when you remove a quality teacher because of a Principal's dislike of the teacher. To me that is Principal first and children last.


NYC Educator said...

Honestly it's not only contempt for teachers, but also indifference to children who don't happen to attend his favored schools. It's remarkable that more people are not hip to what an awful job this administration is doing, despite Ravitch's incredible and revelatory book. People prefer to check the NY Post, which just wrote 11 articles over three days demonizing Bill Perkins for having the audacity to question the value of charters.

Anonymous said...

The wheel is turning as more and more foks are finding out the reality of this administrations reforms, or is that deforms?

Anonymous said...

I recall around 04-05 or maybe 05-06 that several schools around where I work- District 9- had multiple LA prinipals who crashed and burned early. One had been someone I taught with, then she became a principal, failed miserably, was replaced midyear (by someone wonderful I'd also worked with, who'd come in the tradtional way and is still doing great things at her school) and then got a very cushy principalship but did not stay long. I didn't know the others. My own school had been broked up, and one of those schools had an LA person who was INSANE. Her people left in droves- someone showed up at 6 am and tacked his resignation to her door. But these are the things that the DN or Post will NEVER cover.

Chaz said...
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Chaz said...

The media has blinders on and never writes the real problems caused by Bloomberg and Klein

Anonymous said...

Sorry to introduce reality, but many of the teachers removed from classrooms are incompetent and in some cases guilty of other charges.
Your "all teachers are blameless" position only makes you seem ridiculous to anyone who knows anything about this system.
If the UFT spent 5% of the efforts in helping teachers who don't belong as teachers to ease out of the profession it expends on stonewalling the dismissal of incompetents, the students and teaching profession would be better off.
--I am a teacher in an NYC Public HS

Chaz said...

Anon 11:26

This only proves how ignorant you are. Do you realize that 90% of the teachers, accused are sent back to the classroom?

How about the teachers who's only fault was age and salary? they should just leave?

If you are really a teacher, which I doubt, you are lucky you are not targeted.