Sunday, April 26, 2015
You Get What You Pay For.
I have always claimed that the NYCDOE does not put "children first" but actually they don't care about the students or as I call it their "children last" policy. Despite the disappointing Chancellor's claim that she wants the best for the students of the City, her actions demonstrate that its still all about the DOE's budget priorities and not what's best for the students.
The prime evidence of the DOE's "children last" policy is their continuation of the "fair student funding" that penalizes schools for hiring highly experienced teachers. Last year due to retirements and the end of a hiring freeze that was always a joke to savvy principals who knew how to circumvent the restrictions or were secretly given exemptions, 6,000 vacancies had to be filled. However, few of those vacancies went to experienced and tenured teachers, most hires were "newbies" with no track record and principals closed their collective eyes to the potential damage some of these teachers could and did to their students. This situation was especially true in schools with "Leadership Academy Principals", many with little classroom experience and were afraid that a highly experienced teacher would question the dubious decisions by these administrators. The result was that combined with the "fair student funding", encouraged principals to hire the "cheapest and not the best" teachers for their students.
A prime example of the DOE's short-sighted approach was the travesty that transpired at Hillside Arts And Letters Academy, one of the small schools that replaced Jamaica High School. The Leadership Academy Principal who was the founding Principal of the school needed to hire an Earth Science teacher in their second year. After going through a phoney interview process, he hired a "newbie teacher" who apparently had poor pedagogy, according to an ATR who was placed at the school. This deficiency showed up in the school's snapshot where Science did poorly compared to the other tested subjects.
Worse, it turned out that this teacher was caught trying to arrange a meeting with a 14 year old girl who ended up to be a NYPD Detective and was arrested. He subsequently pleaded guilty and gave up his teaching license and registered as a sex offender. When the Earth Science teacher was removed in March of 2014 after being arrested, the Principal instead of bringing in one of the 5 excessed Earth Science teachers to finish the course, instead had a Living Environment teacher complete the year. As a result, the Earth Science Regents passing percentage dropped drastically over an already poor outcome from the year before. In other words, the students suffered for the unwise decision making by the Principal both in his hiring and replacing the teacher.
I'm sure there are hundreds of similar horror stories in the NYCDOE's 'education on the cheap" policy. Therefore when the Chancellor claims that she only wants the best for the students of NYC, just take a look at her actions and you see its all about the DOE's budget priorities and not what's best for the children.