Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Why The City's School Renewal Program Is Bullshit!
With much fanfare the NYCDOE has rolled out a plan for the renewal schools to succeed. The plan relies on unrealistic assumptions and clouded by the leftover Bloomberg ideology that staff turnover is a positive option, when it will negatively affect the school's future. Let's look at the issues and why success is not in the future of those schools.
First, and foremost, since there is no high school zoning anymore, high achieving students are allowed to apply to any public high school in the City. What parent in their right mind would allow their high achieving child who lives in South Jamaica to attend, lets say August Martin High School, when the student can be accepted to a school like Forest Hills assuming the student does not get into a selective or screened school? For a renewal school to succeed, the present demographics of the student population needs to change and there is no way that will happen without high school zoning restrictions.
Second, many veteran teachers see the handwriting on the wall and are retiring or if they can, leave the renewal schools. This means that the renewal schools are recruiting "newbies" who have little curriculum knowledge and no classroom management skills. How does that instill confidence in the students who are guinea pigs as these teachers struggle their way through a curriculum and the steep learning curve that goes with a "newbie" teacher.
Third, few, if any veteran teachers would give up a good school, such as Francis Lewis, to work in a renewal school like Martin Van Buren for a mere $5,000! Even if it was $50,000, who would risk getting two consecutive "ineffectives" due to the low achieving student population, when the high-stakes testing is 50% of a teacher's evaluation? This doesn't even take into account the extra time and challenges that is required to teach in these renewal schools.
Finally, it seems that the Superintendent of the renewal schools, Amiee Horowitz, has allegedly told school administrators that she wants to get rid of as many teachers as possible to change the school culture from the failure they have experienced. To school administrators that means pushing untenured and veteran teachers that they dislike out of the system by discontinuing them or giving then "ineffective" ratings.
With "fair student funding" still in force and the DOE's mistaken belief that exchanging veteran teachers with more compliant teachers, many of them with little or no experience, will result in not better but worse results. Will the renewal schools succeed? Not in this lifetime unless the polices drastically changes. To me the City's school renewal plan its all bullshit!