Tuesday, December 17, 2013
The Real Truth About Mayor Bloomberg's Education Improvements.
Mayor Bloomberg is making the rounds proclaiming he he has improved the New York City education system. However, his so called accomplishments are really "smoke and mirrors" and his claims fall apart under scrutiny. Let's look his claims and what I think is the truth. In his propaganda pamphlet he calls his education policy a success.
Mayoral Control Of The Schools: His dictatorial control of the Department of Education made the PEP a "rubber stamp" and a joke. The PEP meetings are remamisent of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Stalin rather than the Democratic and "fairness" principals we all grew up with in this country. How is that educational progress?
Raising Student Performance: He shouts about the improved graduation rate but fails to mention how the "graduation rate" was greatly affected by the use of "bogus credit recovery courses" and the pressure for grade infrlation by principals. The resut is that the student "college and career readiness" rates show only 22% of the graduates are "college ready" and 50% come from only 35 high schools, many of them specialized and screened schools. Furthermore, the actual achievement gap between Asian'Whites and Blacks/Hispanics are higher then when he took office.
Promoting Teacher Excellence: He boasts that he increased the hiring of STEM (Math and Science teachers since its important for students to have certified Math and Science teachers. However, if that's true why are there hundreds of Math and Science teachers rotating weekly in the ATR pool? The teacher evaluation system does not make for good teachers but will allow unscrupulous administrators to target teachers they don't want or like. Finally, the Bloomberg Administration practiced an "education on the cheap" policy when it comes to meeting the NCLB definition of a "highly qualified teacher". Instead it was getting the cheapest teacher not the best at the expense of the students.
Empowering Principals: He takes credit for the " Principals Leadership Academy" but many of their principals have little or no NYC classroom experience, unable or unwilling to collaborate with their staff, and are on top of the most despised principals on the DOE's Learning Environment ratings. Moreover, many principals hire the "cheapest" and not the "best teachers" for their school and the school's students are the real losers when 50% of these teachers quit or are terminated in the next five years. Finally, the near useless and money-sucking "Children First Networks (CFNs) minimizes community and parent interaction with the schools and hopefully will be eliminated next school year.
Holding Schools Accountable: Making school grades that are based primarily on test scores and are considered worthless by most educators. Moreover, his failing schools policy frails the "means test". The Bloomberg created small schools were given extra funding, screened out "high needs students" and to make them even look better "stacked the deck" against the struggling large schools by dumping the "over the counter" students, many of them "high needs", on the already struggling schools.
Increased Classroom Funding: This is a very misleading statement. Yes the Bloomberg Administration did cut the Central Bureaucracy and did increase total funding to the DOE but the schools actually saw a 14% reduction in funding since 2007. Much of the extra money went to high priced consultants and their programs, technology that had little or no classroom application, and the DOE's policy to require schools to fund services that the Central Bureaucracy had done before the Bloomberg years resulted in simply a "shell game"" to make it look like the Bureaucracy was cut but went to other DOE uses instead. Furthermore, class sizes are the highest in a decade.so it certainly did not go into the classroom. In addition, The "fair student funding formula" ushered in an "education on the cheap " program for staffing the schools.. The result was that principals hired the "newbies " and not the "quality teachers" they so desperately need for their student's academic success. The result is an ATR pool of 2,000 + members, many of them excellent teacher but cannot be hired because of their salary and age.
If the media should do some real "fact checking" they too would find that Mayor Bloomberg's educational improvements is simple a "mirage". Of course, I will not hold me breath waiting for that to happen.