Sunday, April 27, 2014
Chancellor Carmen Farina's First Four Months Have Been Disappointing.
The first four months of Carmen Farina's tenure as Chancellor of the New York City Schools has been very disappointing. While she has made a few changes at the top (too few), she has failed to "clean house". The result is that there has been no "change of tone" of the "gotcha mentality" at the DOE. While Chancellor Farina has talked about changing the way things are done at the DOE, there is no discernible change for the classroom teachers when it comes to the mandates from Tweed that overwhelm teachers with loads of unnecessary paperwork and subject to vindictive administrators. It certainly didn't help her creditability and accountability either when the new Chancellor had a "Cathie Black moment" when she failed to close schools during a blizzard.
True, the Chancellor has changed the requirements to become a Principal and that's good but she has failed to eliminate the perverse "fair student funding" that forces schools to hire the "cheapest" and not the "best teachers". Furthermore, she had a chance to stop the useless weekly rotation of excessed teachers and leave them in place for the rest of the school year. Instead, she allowed this travesty to continue while falsely claiming that she instructed principals to interview ATRs for their vacancies (no Principal remembers her actually saying that). Of course, with the present DOE budgeting process in place, saying and doing are two entirely different things since salary is a major issue here. Moreover, she has failed to change the tone at the DOE and the "gotcha mentality" that was the hallmark of the Bloomberg Administration and is pervasive throughout the department that we teachers feel it every day. Finally, her failure to eliminate the money sucking and useless "Children First Networks" is a failure in her resolve to change things for the better.
I also must point out that her failure to "clean house" at the DOE is why teachers and school based personnel still feel as if the "icy winds" of the Bloomberg years has continued and UFT President's statement that he already sees a "change of tone" at the DOE is simply a mirage when it comes to what's actually going on in the classroom. To the classroom teachers, the DOE is still the enemy and until their policies and unwanted mandates end that perception will continue.
To Chancellor Carmen Farina, you talk about supporting teachers but when it comes to real action, there is little or no real change to the hostile environment coming out of the DOE. My grade for the new Chancellor for her first four months is a "D" for disappointing.