Monday, May 26, 2014
Chancellor Carmen Farina Is Part Of The Problem And Not The Solution.
Its very interestingly how the leadership of our union and the new Chancellor appears to get along with each other which was not the case under the Bloomberg administration. Its no wonder that UFT President Michael Mulgrew bellowed that there's a new tone at the DOE. Yeah right, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Unfortunately, when it comes to real change for the teachers in the trenches, its still the same old song.
First, a little history. The new Chancellor, Carmen Farina, was a very important part of the Joel Klein's inner circle as a Deputy Chancellor and only retired when she saw much of her authority taken away and given to a subordinate, Eric Nadelstern. Encouraged to come out of retirement to be the new Chancellor for Mayor Bill de Blasio, she has been a vast disappointment and even suffering a Cathie Black moment by failing to close schools during a blizzard and then while it was sleeting with freezing rain by saying "its a beautiful day". Rather than do what should have been a no-brainer and "clean house" at the DOE, Carmen Farina has instead promoted some long-term Bloonberg bureaucrats into the highest positions as Deputy Chancellors. Katherine Grimm and Dorita Gibson. Moreover, her failure to remove some Superintendents and the continuation of the useless and money-sucking "Children First Networks" says everything about her failure to change the tone at the DOE. Moreover, Carmen Farina's past and present actions suggests she is pro principal but not pro teacher. As Principal she had a 80% teacher turnover rate which strongly suggests that she didn't collaborate well with her teaching staff. Furthermore, stories about her actions from Betsy Combier and Phillip Nobile's comment show that she has made some very questionable decisions over the years.
Presently, Chancellor Carmen Farina has continued her pro principal agenda by not imposing a hiring freeze until all the excessed teachers are placed and gave principals even more authority to remove an ATR from their school in a day. Moreover, under the Chancellor the DOE fought hard to demand that teacher lesson plan specifics be dictated by the administration. Furthermore, the new Chancellor is giving the principals the power to charge a long-term ATR with the vaguely defined term of "problematic behavior" that can lead to the expedited ATRs termination in a one day 3020-a hearing. Additionally, while she reduced the Danieson components to eight from 22, this was at the request of the principals and not to help teachers since it made the administrators job very difficult to cover all 22 components and refused to lessen the amount of observations under the teacher evaluation system.
During the contract negotiations, the Chancellor's position was to have all the ATRs fired by giving them only four months to find a position. With her approval for the continuation of the "fair student funding" any time limit is simply a termination program for senior teachers and she knows that, According to one blogger, South Bronx schools, Ms. Farina claimed only 400 of the 1,200 ATRs are capable teachers. I guess to the Chancellor these are the teachers that never received an unsatisfactory observation or went through a 3020-a hearing. More importantly, she has convinced the union to have a "caste system" and have the lowest caste being those teachers who won their 3020-a hearings who are known as the "untouchables". Finally, the chancellor has retained the teacher termination requirements under the teacher evaluation system that makes it very difficult for teachers to win their case if given two consecutive "ineffective ratings".
When compared to the Chancellor's of the Bloomberg Era, she may cooperate with the union leadership but when it comes to the classroom teachers she still practicing many of the destructive Bloomberg Era policies and its still "education on the cheap" under her tenure. Chancellor Carmen Farina is still part of the problem and not a solution.