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Saturday, December 14, 2013
The Real Legacy Of Chancellor Dennis Walcott. A Legacy Of Failure.
I had a real good laugh reading Chancellor Dennis Walcott's claim that he had a successful reign and improved the New York City school system. In fact, Chancellor Dennis Walcott has shown to be a failure and he simply was a "yes man" for the Mayor. This post looks at the legacy of Dennis Walcott in his almost three year tenure as Chancellor and his failure in improving the New York City Public School System. Let's look at his failure as Chancellor.
Quality Teachers: Under Chancellor Dennis Walcott, school principals found themselves forced to hire the "cheapest" and not the "best" teachers for their students. His insistence that teacher salaries come out of the school budget hurts the schools and the students. While schools are forced to hire inexperienced "newbies" who may never make it as a teacher and in the process makes those students "guinea pigs" to untested teachers, the ever increasing ATR pool is populated with many highly experienced "quality teachers" who are nothing more than act as a "babysitter" as they rotate weekly to different schools.
Class Sizes: In the three years that Dennis Walcott has been Chancellor, class sizes have increased every year. Worse yet, the greatest increases are occurring in the lower grades where class size is of most importance. It's unforgivable that our youngest students are subject to the ever increasing class sizes that interfere with real academic achievement.
Staff Morale: There is little doubt that under the tenure of Dennis Walcott, teacher morale continued to deteriorate. Lack of a contract. additional paperwork, his
"blame the teacher" philosophy, and increased pressure from Tweed on
schools have worsened the classroom environment and made it more
hostile. His support of the teacher evaluation system and the punitive
aspects of the Danielson framework known as a "gotcha system" to terminate as many teachers as possible and making it a living hell for the classroom teacher. Its little wonder his approval ratings is in Cathie Black territory.
Lack of Parent Input: When Dennis Walcott took the job as Chancellor, he claimed that he will bring parent input into the process. However, he failed to live up to his promise and parents have felt alienated and left outside the loop. His attempt to use parent coordinators to lobby for the Mayor's LIFO bill was an example how he wanted to use parents rather than listen to them.
Lack of Independence: One of the most obvious outcomes of his tenure was his lack of independent thought or deed. He simply was the "yes man" for the Mayor. Or as I have said many times the "Mayor's poodle". Even when he proposed some initiatives such as agreeing to a teacher evaluation system and an ATR buyout offer,
once the Mayor showed disapproval, they disappeared. His unquestioned
support of anything Mayor Bloomberg proposed made him untrustworthy in
the eyes of educators and politicians throughout the school system and
even the City Council wanted him to go to jail and required him to take an oath before he testified, a highly unusual and insulting request.
The bottom line is that under Chancellor Dennis Walcott's tenure he has practiced "education on the cheap" and "children last" policies that has hurt the very students he pledged to protect and continue the destruction of neighborhood schools while throwing more money to charter schools. Worse, his lack of independent thought or deed and his unquestioning of support on whatever the Mayor decrees is not what a Chancellor should be. His failure to work with both the UFT and CSA during his tenure was highly disappointing. If I was to give the Chancellor a grade it would be a big fat. "F"