Saturday, February 21, 2015

If I Became The Chancellor Of The New York City Schools.

Readers of my blog know how critical I have been about the job Carmen Farina has done as Chancellor of the New York City schools.  To say she has been a disappointment, is putting it mildly. Last month a DOE mid-level official and I had a pleasant conversation on the future of the public schools and this official asked me a simple question.  "What would you change as Chancellor"?  That got me thinking of what would I do as Chancellor of the New York City schools?  If I was Chancellor, here is what I would try to change.

Clean house at the DOE:  First, and foremost, I would remove the "Bloomberg 300" that Carmen Farina left in place in policy making positions.  Their removal is necessary if we are to eradicate the Bloomberg ideology that is imprinted throughout the DOE.  Moreover, I would severely downsized the accountability and legal departments.

Eliminate fair student funding:  The fair student funding fiasco is a failure and forces principals to hire the "cheapest and not the best teachers" for their schools.  Reinstall the unit method that requires DOE Central to allocate staff to each school, based upon their student population, without salary being a consideration.  Principals would no longer have any incentive to hire cheap since it does not come out of their budget.

Reduce the Bureaucratic Bloat at the DOE:  In addition to reducing the accountability and legal departments, I would hire a company to evaluate and eliminate redundant and unnecessary positions within the DOE.   The money saved will be allocated to the schools to hire additional staff, reduce class sizes, and provide extra resources to the schools.

Reevaluate principals:  There are just too many principals who are not capable to collaborate with their staff and are not providing the proper leadership to help their students. I would work with the newly empowered Superintendents and the school staff to determine which principals should stay and whom should leave.  I would totally eliminate the "Leadership Academy" and future principals will come from the ranks and who were successful long-term classroom teachers and assistant principals.

Eliminate the ATR issue:  A priority will be to place the ATRs back into the classroom as quickly as possible.  All vacancies in the District will not be filled until the ATRs in that District are placed.  To ensure that there is truly mutual consent, the ATR and Principal would both need to agree to the placement.  If both agree that its been a good fit, then the ATR will be appointed to the school the following year. This will save the DOE $150 million dollars annually and supply schools with experienced teachers.

Stop the use of uncertified teachers:  Too many schools are using teachers not certified in subjects they are instructing students in.  This will stop with the end of the fair student funding since schools will have the appropriate units to hire qualified staff, without having to consider salary.

Reestablish the "600 schools":  For students that disrupt the schools with repeated behavioral actions, its time to send them to schools where they can still receive an education but with a staff that is experienced in handling behaviorally challenged students.  Obviously the school administration and staff should be paid a pensionable stipend for working in these schools.

No co-locations with public schools:  If charter schools need space, let them find and fund it themselves or force the State to pay for the space.

I'm sure there's more, but these would be my priorities as the next Chancellor of the New York City public schools.


Bronx ATR said...

I guess my question would be is "why hasn't she done these very obvious items yet?". Farina has done some very positive things. Perhaps, she is a perfectionist and wants things done correctly. She knows that the items you have mentioned are important, except for one - the ATRs. She mentioned only about "400 hundred of them know how to teach". Mulgrew, instead of dispelling that unpleasantry fortified it with the new contract and by saying the new expedited termination process would help those get on their way to other careers outside of the teaching. I like Farina, but feel "our" union has serious defecencies.

NYC Educator said...

You have my vote.

Anonymous said...

I would allow schools to drop the bottom 1-2% of the worst students. These students are already failing with no credits so get them out as a dean its the same trouble makers that cause most of the violence and problems. Often we have to wait till they age a out and are not gradyating anyway so they know they are untouchable. It would rid schools of 20% of their problems and have others straighten out since they know they too could be kicked out.

Anonymous said...

I'd ...... Go back to one high school environment rather than 6 or 7. Make the orincipals fight against each other got the spots

Anonymous said...

Hello 11:47am.
I agree with you 100%.

19 year old freshmen. Yet they still receive a free metro card, free lunch, and a face-to-face letter to give to their parents, which of course is used to receive government benefits.

Why on earth these kids are allowed to "attend" school till age 21 is beyond me. And if a "kid" happens to turn 21 on (or after) July 1st, he is allowed to return to school to "complete" ANOTHER FULL YEAR.

I worked in a large hs which closed (shocker) that had about 200 of these so called "students". All between the ages of 19-21. The most credits any one of these "children" accumulated was 11. If you are 20 years old with 11 credits, YOU NEED TO GO!!!

These same kids disappear from school for 2-3 weeks at a time every few months, cause they "caught a charge" and couldn't get bailed out at Rikers.

Let these bums get their free metro, lunch, and heat somewhere else. All they are good for is causing havoc in the hallways, banging on classroom doors during instruction, and intimidating deans/SSA's.

These 19-21 yr olds refuse to attend YABC night program, because they want to be in day school with "their boys", and are too busy gangbangin at night. So the entire school population suffers, since the precious children cannot be forced out of (day) high school.

Anonymous said...

With March quickly approaching there are are a few things we all need to be aware of. These items in unison have the potential to destroy your class, school and career. They are the end of suspensions and cell phones. Add to that mix, many high schools no longer have metal detectors. It's a recipe for disaster. As a dean in a large high school without metal detectors in 2005, just when cell phones started to become affordable, I experienced some outrageous incidents. Breaking up fights, in which friends and family were later called, and all fought in front of the school. (One I particularly remember is the police arresting 20 plus fighting adults and a little frightened 3 year old boy forgotten and left crying as they were loading the groups into the vans. I took him inside with me and contacted the BCW.) Constantly being called to class to confiscate phones and confiscating some serious weapons, including guns. Almost all of it went unreported, just as it does now, in order to save the school from being shuttered. The difference is the kids knew we were saving them from very serious consequences and we had experienced guidance counselors and social workers to intervene. Those GCs and social workers are now ATRs. The consequences of suspension and arrest are gone. Many principals tell their staffs they are not allowed to call 911 under any circumstances. School safety is told not to make arrests. A student can tell you to s--k his (or increasingly her) d--k all day long and you won't be able to do a thing. Most schools I go into no longer have SAVE rooms. Teaching will become even more difficult - all you need is one. Constant observations under those circumstances will be a nightmare, "Johnny please put your gun and cellphone under your desk until the observation is over, thanks." Put 911 on speed dial, and remember your rights as a human being and American citizen supersede your indentured servitude under whatever school you find yourself in.

ATR 25/55 said...

I'd tweak the ATR placement you suggest. Go back to the way teachers were first appointed - the school would be sent three teachers to interview, and had to accept one of them. Send teachers who want to teach at a school and then have the principal choose - but it must be one of three interviewed (or all three) or else no funding for that position. This way the admin can still have some say in who is hired, but no newbies unless no ATR or other tenured teacher wants the position. For the DOE to continue to pay ATRs and not force schools to give them permanent jobs is a scandal, but the narrative of ATRs as "bad" teachers is too easy for the papers to give up. And where is the UFT on this? Making it easier to fire ATRs!

Unknown said...

Yes, get rid of "Bloomberg 300" first! Teachers all along have been working very hard to teach. Please respect "TEACHER" like every country does. Get our dignity back as a teacher! Let America back to as used to be "Democracy in Education." Freedom of Teaching!!

Anonymous said...

I would love to see all the small high schools re-integration in the campus and the former name of the campus restored. Get rid of all the APs that do not have a master in the subject area. Get rid of all the principals who taught for less than 10 years, but immediately terminate those principals who never, never taught a day in their life. Assign principals with at least 10 years of classroom teaching and 5 years of AP supervision. Then eliminate the bogus C-30 process, which has always been a travesty when choosing the right principal for a school.

Secondly, I strongly believe that certain kids need the 600 school model and I don't remember why the DoE got rid of Second Opportunity School for those extremely disruptive or on supt suspension students.

Anonymous said...

No TFA should be hired unless they sign a commitment paper saying that they will put in 15 years or more and join the group Teaching is a long-term Career. If they don't sign the commitment paper, then they will be hired as DC37 school aides and be trained to monitor the students' bathroom and the student cafeteria. As a DC37 school aide, they can stay for 3 years and become food services manager.

No matter what, no TFA should be hired. Period!

Anonymous said...

I forgot one more thing. Reduce the caseload of all guidance counselors to 175 students and hire more social workers to work with guidance counselors. Schools that have a large guidance counselor staff have students performing better and their academic and emotional needs addressed.

Anonymous said...

Interesting points. The 600 schools were considered unconstitutional. I wonder why the closing schools were not? Your description looked quite similar to a phase out school.

Anonymous said...

I'd campaign for you. I'm from Jamaica , Queens and I know all about the "600" schools. Also, let the charter schools have the students that have no interest in day school and bring back the vocational schools for those students that are not college bound.

Anonymous said...

For the person that said admin told teachers they were not allowed to call 911, what would happen if they did?

Anonymous said...

To 8:19,
I was called to the principal's office and reprimanded by my AP. The principal refused to speak to me because he was shaking with anger. I didn't give a shit. Other teachers didn't call after assults and threats because they were untenured and afraid. One lady was assaulted twice in the same day by the same kid and I finally convinced her to press charges. The administration blamed her for being assaulted.

Anonymous said...

You have my vote

Anonymous said...

So there is nothing they can actually do to you besides harassing you and messing with your evaluations? Did you do anything about getting reprimanded?

Anonymous said...