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Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The Failure To Enforce Student Discipline Codes By The Administration Is The Main Cause Why Schools Fail.
I am in a Transformation/Restart school and am treated very well by the AP who is willing to ignore my lack of technology in my lesson plans. Yes, I know how to use the technology but I am in three rooms and two floors and refuse to lug around equipment that takes 10 minutes or more to set up, However, the Bloomberg threat to eliminate up to 50% of the teaching staff has caused the already low morale to plummet to a level that is affecting the students. I already have had some of my students ask me if I will really be here for the rest of the school year and are worried that they will get teachers who never taught in the classroom next year. One student told her classmates in my class about a "newbie" teacher that she had this year who can't teach and quit two weeks ago, leaving the students knowing little and with day to day substitute teachers. The school caught a real break, they just hired an excellent teacher from the ATR ranks and my student thinks he is great.
While teacher morale is at an all time low, the real problem is the lack of enforced student discipline at the school. This school has expanded their student body greatly by taking many students who have questionable academic skills and documented behavioral problems. These students tend to walk the halls, walk into the classroom way late and refuse to do any work when they do show up. Some will tell the classroom teacher to "shut up" when the teacher asks the student to open his or her notebook. Others are using their cellphone or Ipad and ignore the teacher. Cursing out a teacher is not a rare event and if the student does not actually threaten the teacher, the Administration looks the other way. I suspect that many of the Transformation/Restart schools suffer from the same problems with the Administration's failure to support student discipline codes and bury their heads in the sand of denial. Even a once great school like Martin Van Buren is failing due to the poor school Administration. Moreover, the failure of the screened and small schools to take these students worsen the situation.
Since the Bloomberg/Walcott Administration wants to close all the Transformation/Restart schools and keep the existing student body, it would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic but far worse as the "newbie teachers" who take over will be in for a culture shock and quit in droves during the school year, even further destabilizing these once great schools and hurting the students the Administration claims to care so much about in their "children last" program.