Sunday, March 09, 2014

Where Is The DOE's Change of Tone? It Seems To Be The Same Old Song To Me.

When Mayor Bill de Blasio replaced the Bloomberg Administration, Michael Mulgrew claimed at the delegate assembly there was a change of tone at the DOE and that the leadership was apologizing for all their anti-teacher actions and demonizing of the profession.  Nice words, but when it has comes to actual deeds, there has been NO CHANGE IN HOW THE DOE TREATS THE TEACHERS! Every school I go to the teachers are under stress trying to fulfill the punitive Danielson rublic, the dubious rigor of Common Core, and the low morale.

I know it takes time to see changes and that this school year is a transition time between the punitive Bloomberg Administration and the De Blasio Administration.  However, Chancellor Carmen Farina has failed to make the changes necessary to instill confidence in her.  She has made few leadership or policy changes, made inappropriate statements, and backed down on the charter school issue.  Worse, it seems that she's taking no action against the DOE bloated bureaucracy and punitive leadership who protected "bad principals" and has apparently backed away from placing the ATRs in schools that could benefit the schools with extra teaching support by using them as "push in teachers" in their subject area or as co-teachers.

The result is that until the next school year the New York City Public School students will suffer from inadequate resources, inexperienced teachers, and worst of all, the lack of accountability by the DOE administrators, like the useless "Children First Networks" that simply suck up much needed funds that could go to the classroom instead.

Every school I go to have funding issues.  There's no money to fix broken smart boards that were placed in a middle of a blackboard, making instruction very difficult.  Many schools require teachers to supply their own copy paper and quite a few schools require teachers to buy their own classroom supplies.  Worse, in almost every school I walk into there are broken copy machines, lack of preventive maintenance, and wi-fi networks that don't have adequate bandwidth and are insufficient for use for classroom projects. Accountability for these problems are dumped on the schools while the bloated DOE bureaucracy denies any responsiblity for these problems.

Unless Chancellor Carmen Farina starts to do some major housecleaning, its not a change of tone that UFT President Michael Mulgrew claims he sees but the "same old song" when it comes to what's actually going on in the schools when it comes to the the dysfunctional, DOE with the children the real losers.


reality-based educator said...

To be fair, she took over in the middle of the school term. In the old days of the BOE, when a mayor was elected, the chancellor didn't change because that position was appointed by members of the BOE. So that's one thing to say here.

Second is that BdB didn't even announce the appointment of Farina until just before she was to take over, so that also hamstrung her a bit - that's a de Blasio fault, being late with everything.

All that being said, like you I wonder in the end just what changes de Blasio and Farina will bring. Will they announce changes to the Bloomberg reforms, then backtrack when the Post and News get mean with them? We've seen this happen twice already (UES snow b.s., Eva), so I'm no longer optimistic that we're going to get much out of this administration in the way of real, lasting change.

As always, hope to be wrong! Especially with this!

Alas, the first couple of months are not giving much indication that real change is coming.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the Cereal Killer (Farina)has no new ideas, is just bent on keeping the status quo. Perhaps ripping out the dysfunctional CFNs, coming up with a truly novel and useful plan to integrate ATRs back into their rightful place as permanent TEACHERS (not toilet monitors, cafeteria monitors, maternity leave coverages, envelope-stuffing adjuncts, phone call executors, or any of the inappropriate roles we've been forced to assume), tossing the punitive Danielson and ludicrous Commie Core, etc. is beyond her energy level.

She is like opening a time capsule from days of yore, with ideas and solutions not in step with what's going on today. And she appears to lack the energy and will to be a quick study and catch up. There might be a reason she had retired. She wasn't well thought of by teachers before she retired. And she is not changing that image.

Anonymous said...

The new Mayor has not said or done anything indicating that he would eradicate Mayoral control of the schools. So, as the Commander-in-Chief, what exactly is his vision for the direction he wants the public schools to go in? Haven't heard anything specific coming from BdB.

As for the Chancellor- though she has been touted as a well regarded educator, does she have the will and strength to undo the damage that Bloomberg inflicted on the system?

WHAT change of tone? Bill deBlasio and his Chancellor have NOT put forth any definitive answers out there to the many myriad problems faced by NYC students, parents, and teachers.

Mr. deBlasio: You campaigned as the "anti-Bloomberg". PLEASE stop campaigning, and DO SOMETHING!

Anonymous said...

...they r going against mnany teachers voted in the last unuin election. How many teachers are ready to get off their asses and scream long and hard in mulgrews ear about this shit ...? Farina and DeB will never be able to pull this off alone..

Anonymous said...

BdB is doing something unfortunately it seems to be all about the universal Pre-K agenda. He stated recently on TV that this is the number one priority. are they kidding me?? is this the easy way out??
Perhaps it is easier to deal with trying to get 4 year olds into school so they can have a little nap and some school lunch FOR FREE of course
America has become the nation of entitlement FOR THOSE WHO DONT WANT TO WORK.. however for those who work and then want what they are entitled to LIKE A Raise and A pension the media and ALMOST ALL THE POLITICIANS depict us as greedy and self serving..obama..bush ..cuomo..doesnt matter where you stand politically anymore..might as well give DeBlasio a break..I dont know who is going to do any better

Anonymous said...

Sorry Chaz (and everyone else), the charter schools are outperforming the public schools. They don't cut a strong teacher because of seniority, they retain him/her. The scores in ELA and Math are higher across the board. Complain all you want but the truth is clear. Charters are the Miami Heat and Public Schools are the NY Knicks.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:18 You hit the nail on the head! This full day Universal Pre K is just another way for people to get FREE babysitting! 4 year olds do not need to be in school all day long! And yes once again the middle class working people are screwed over when it comes to raises and pensions. Republicans are for the rich. Democrats for the poor. Where do us hardworking lower middle class people fit in??

Anonymous said...

and I hate the way these 2 jokers (DeBlasio and Farina) seem to be backing down over charter schools and yes even the school closing during the snow storm. They can't take the heat and we are in trouble.

Chaz said...

Anon 6:17

Most charter schools do not do as well as the public schools and if you compared therm to screened public schools that charter schools are(not specialized)they are inferior.

The teacher turnover rate is 33% yearly and this is not conducive to student learning...unless its all about test charter schools.

Anonymous said...


this is why i've always said change the mayor, change the chancellor, but same old doe

Anonymous said...

Seriously though, how can you or EdNotes or someone else really get a response out of the Mayor or Chancellor regarding this Pre K dominating agenda? Actually I can't believe the Post hasn't posed the question, which is simply "What in the world is Pre K going to do and who really is thinking about when that first group graduates high school, which would be the year 2028?" In 2028, plenty of people won't be around to see the fantastic results of this genius move of Pre K come this September, 2014. The several thousand 4 year olds will all graduate high school with honors and go onto college, etc? Truth is, prob be the same percentage. I can't believe this babysitting agenda is getting so much play. Where are the real issues? Enough with the 2028 graduating class!!!!

U. N. Owen said...

The genie is out of the bottle. And it will never go back in completely.

Most people who know me personally will generally agree that I tend to be one of the last holdouts on just about everything.

It may be early to make a judgment (but then again - by the time you can make a sure judgment, it's often too late anyway), but I'm calling this one:

The writing's already on the wall for Carmen Farina. She's in way too deep with the problems she has to deal with to make a turnaround in the organization. She's already showing signs of senility and that she's quite comfortable letting the terrible status quo stand rather than make moves to fight against it.

I don't blame her. The second-wind career bureaucrat experience probably isn't too bad for her overall. But if she has any grace and genuine desire to actually improve the situation for everyone other than herself, she should go back into retirement over a transitional period.

Let a younger, but experienced educator willing to make sacrifices take charge of the situation - preferably somebody who is old enough to have experienced the better parts of the NYCBOE (and its dysfunctions) but also young enough to know what exactly has been happening under the NYCDOE as well. (Unfortunately, anybody who can actually fit that bill will be very averse to taking on the risk before they can safely retire.)

In any case, the NYCDOE will deeply regret burning through new teachers who are seriously looking to establish careers AND experienced teachers with a lot to offer in every respect. Of course, the people who will end up paying for the past mistakes are largely not going to be the same group of people who allowed the sorry state of affairs to happen in the first place. History repeats itself with a new twist every time. If there is a silver lining to all this, it is perhaps that many important institutions today will become utterly useless and irrelevant as our country continues on its way to a hard fall from grace (for better or for worse).

Anonymous said...

Any word on ATR advisory board ?

Anonymous said...

I've been reading you for a long time and consider myself the better for it. I see you didn't post my comment which opened with "You're being a little bit ridiculous." I didn't mean it as an insult and I apologize if that is how you perceived it. I meant, of course, that your argument was ridiculous, not you personally, if that is a distinction with a difference.

Not posting my critical comment seems a bit thin-skinned, despite the other critical comments that you did post. I was just being short and sweet about it. But, its your blog.

PS, this comment is obviously not meant to be published. If you reevaluate your stance on my first comment, feel free to publish that.

Chaz said...

Anon 12:15

I didn't post your comment for the other thing you said not what you quoted.

U.N. Owen

I agree that Carmen Farina is not able to do the job. I believed she was a temporary choice until the transition is finished at the end of 2014 but she is unable to handle thejob and should go by the end of this school year.

Anon 6:36

There will be a meeting at the end of the month. I will inform my readers what was discussed.

Anonymous said...

As an ATR I've been the highest paid school aide in the Department of Education. I've been a llibrarian, secretary and I've even put name tags on scantron.

Anonymous said...

Chaz, knowing Norm Scott as well as being a former teacher has lead me to Norm's EDNOTES blog. I have taken to read many of the other bloggers as well. Over the course of the past year, I must say that you are truly one of the best! I think that this is evidenced by the number of responses to your posts. I also enjoy reading these responses and do agree with most of them. THANK YOU, keep up the very informative and good work!!

Anonymous said...

I 100% believe that the NYC DOE is going to face a massive teacher shortage as soon as the economy recovers. (Which will be in the not so far future) College grads are not going to want to get into the teaching career due to the horrible working conditions. What is even more sad is that I am hearing fellow veteran teachers who are seriously considering quitting due to the oppression that is currently going on. Farina has done nothing to even hint that things are going to get better. I truly believe that the DOE is going to have to start recruiting teachers overseas like they did back in the 1990's. As for me, I'm sticking it out. I have put to many years in to cave into the ed-deformers. They will someday move on to the "next big thing" once they have done their damage.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the DOE is that its become that good ole boys club that the Board of Ed was at its peak, but with one exception the good ole boys of the DOE got rich off of it. Look at Joel Klein got a 40 million dollar no bid contract after he let office. Not to mention that he chastised the pension system, but ran to collect his when he left. Then there is ARIS eighty million dollars of worthless outdated software. Not to mention other software like snap grades,skedula and engrade. Then of course we have the networks the cash cows of the Department of Education. These networks support principals like Marcellis Sills of the school of no and David Jimenez of Manhattan Center for Science and Math High School and help to exile good teachers. New York has seen this much corruption since William Marcy Boss Tweed.

Anonymous said...

At least with the old BOE teachers were treated with some sense of respect. We also had a contract in place that was upheld, class sizes were better, and there were support services in place for IEP students. The current DOE feels like some sort of shock army trying to destroy everything decent that the teaching career once stood for. I felt much more "secure" working for the old BOE. Today, I, and most other NYC teachers feel like we are looking over our shoulders every day.

Anonymous said...

Why is diblasio listening to these charter bumble heads. Just do what you have to do - we fought bloomshits and he just did what he wanted...diblasio is too kind

Anonymous said...

The people of this town and this country are so stupid its sickening. What you see at our schools now are stupid young neophyte teachers - the teacher parking lots - if there are any - are filled with Kia and hyundai autos - (you know $1500 down and a lease payment of $129 for some korean piece of junk) these neophytes come to school with their peanut butter and jelly sandwich and water. The thumbing down of the teaching profession has officially taken its toll. Everyone is so concerned about the teaching profession instead of the real crooks of this country i.e. wall street, athletes and movie stars (who are no role models for students) making absurd amounts of money - for no good reason - but hard working educators seem to be the front page headline bashing on a daily basis. Yes people criticize the working people of this country and are combative to unions - which serve the working people - but yet most are concerned with destroying unions which basically are for people. The focus should be on the ridiculous amounts of money being made by institutions which are basically self serving and nothing else. The day when people stand up for people will be the day of conquer but the people of today are cruel and evil spirited and have fallen into the trap of self destruction to the common folk. People like michael bloomberg should give the common folk an understanding of the manipulation being performed on them right now as they keep giving in to giving up all their rights and privileges. The press of this country should be ashamed of themselves as they have been bought by the billionaires and have taken away the word of the people and honest/independant reporting which is tragic. Unless people start to back up one another and realize what is right for the working folk, the teaching profession will go back to the days of when nobody wanted the job and the pay gets you peanut butter, jelly and a kia.

Anonymous said...

$100,049 = about $112,000 with the predicted 12% raise (not to mention full retro). Yea baby, just do it!!!! Who cares about anything else. The last post was funny, I drive a Lexus.

U. N. Owen said...

Speaking of money and remuneration, that reminds me! This is probably something most teachers and retirees probably don't think much about (and I'm not really surprised).

The US Dollar is fiat money. As fiat money, there is no intrinsic value to the dollar. However, it does have some value at the present time because of faith in the government AND because other people are willing to accept it as a means of exchange.

With that, there are no effective restraints (except of the moral variety) for the people who control the monetary system from printing the US Dollar like there's no tomorrow. And you've guessed it - they've been doing just that in earnest for the last 6 years or so. (That's not to say it hasn't happened in the past, but certainly never to the extent that the "Federal Reserve" has been doing under "Qualitative Easing").

Most people are still operating under the older rules and mentality that's an anachronism at best today (e.g.: limited supply of money, USD having intrinsic value as they did well over four decades ago, virtue in saving money, etc). And it gets better: Since the majority of the people still have not caught on yet, those with access to those freshly printed dollars (for example, many in the field of finance have direct access to the Federal Reserve) can openly buy up everything in sight!

The teachers earning 6 figures a year today would definitely be earning a lot under the older mentality AND possibly the extra scrutiny might be justified. In reality, they're probably barely making a dent in this artificially induced inflation environment. However, a lot more people make less than $60k a year (and wages are stagnant or even falling). Those people are going underwater and eventual death by drowning cannot be ruled out. Unfortunately, there is no safer haven to go to in order to avoid the worst fate and no easy answers out of the conundrum.

To those wielding power of the printing press, I'm sure they are infinitely amused at people like us behaving like crabs in a barrel and bickering over what is nothing more than phlegm to them.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:19
That was great and I love the peanut butter jelly and water remark. That is classic ..What has also taken place is that many years ago there were a people who were strong and fought for their rights through strikes and protests( now I know it's illegal to strike) These young puppies coming into the system today think they are the MASTER teachers and they do not have the same respect that we were taught to have to those who paid their dues did their time..unfortunately of the many schools I have traveled to this year I have felt animosity from the younger staff and they are so clueless to what lies ahead.. I have 10 years to go and this is definitely not what I expected.. We live in a country where the older you are the less you are celebrated...