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.