Sunday, June 29, 2014
The Grade For Chancellor Carmen Farina Is a "D" For Disappointing.
The New York Daily News interviewed some respected people who have a say in education, ranging from Ernest Logan, the President of the CSA (principals and assistant principals), Mona Davids, President of New York City Parents Union, and two highly respected college professors David Bloomfield and Pedro Noguera. Absent from this list was an actual classroom teacher. Therefore, here is my grade of Chancellor Carmen Farina's first semester in charge of the New York City schools.
First, Carmen Farina came in with high expectations that things will change for the better for the classroom. She was a long-term educator, not like the Chancellors under the Michael Bloomberg administration. She rose up the ranks from teacher to principal to Superintendent, to Deputy Chancellor and knew the system. However, there were some dark marks on her record. For example she removed or encouraged 80% of her staff to leave her school as Principal. She was a vocal advocate of the failed "balanced literacy" program and as Deputy Chancellor supported many of Chancellor's Joel Klein's policies. She only retired when Mr Klein promoted Eric Nadelstern, her subordinate to a position above her. Despite, these concerns, I and many others believed that a new day was coming and that with the progressive Bill de Blasio as Mayor, things will change for the better. However, Chancellor Carmen Farina's first semester has been, to say the least, very disappointing.
Probably the most important aspect is what changes have occurred in the classroom since Carmen Farina took control of the DOE. Unfortunately, the hostile classroom environment experienced little improvement for the teachers in it. For the teachers in the trenches the change at the top has not translated into classroom improvements. The obscene amount of paperwork and data mining requirements remain unchanged, while the "gotcha mentality" still is evident as teachers are stressed to meet the Danielson rubric requirements.
Class size will remain unacceptably high for the next school year as Mayor Bill de Blasio's claim to reduce class sizes takes a back seat to the pre kindergarten and after school programs. In fact, the New York Post claims class sizes are higher than when Mayor Bloomberg took office. New York City has the largest class sizes in the State and that is not expected to change under Chancellor Carmen Farina.
Shockingly, Chancellor Carmen Farina has frozen the already tight and inadequate school budgets for the next year. Combine that with the continuation of the "fair student funding" will force principals to hire the "cheapest" and not the "best teachers" for their schools. How on Earth can she expect student academic improvements when most schools will forced to hire teachers who need a steep learning curve themselves? The result will be the students will suffer academically from these inexperienced teachers simply because its what's best for the Principal's budget.
Failure to Clean House:
Chancellor Carmen Farina has retained most of the Bloomberg DOE and it showed in the recently
"caste system" that makes the ATR second class citizens. Moreover, ATRs who were disciplined will be not offered interviews for provisional positions and are now the "untouchables". With the continued excessing, (John Adams 28, Flushing 24) more and more teachers will be joining the ATR pool and over 160 million dollars will be wasted by the DOE simply to satisfy their ideological policy.
Protecting Poor Administrators:
The old double standard has continued under Chancllor Carmen Farina as vindictive and abusive principals are kept in their schools to wreak havoc on students and staff, while good teachers are harassed and removed under frivolous charges. While she has changed the requirements to become a Principal. There are too many Leadership Academy principals in the system who have little or no classroom experience and need to be removed.
DOE Bloated Bureaucracy:
The infamous bloated DOE bureaucracy is still going strong with very few changes evident. There still are 300+ lawyers and accountability personal that still consume millions of precious education dollars. Furthermore, the useless and money sucking Children First Networks are still in existence despite claims that they would be eliminated.
Overall, my grade for Chancellor Carmen Farina is "D" for disappointing.