Sunday, November 01, 2015

The Real Problems In The New York City Public Schools.

In the New York Daily News today, Sol Stern wrote an opinion piece on the problems with the New York City Public Schools.  While I agreed with his part on the use of the useless and ideologically driven Lucy Calkins progressive model of learning that then Deputy Chancellors Diana Lamm and Carmen Farina championed, yes the same Carmen Farina who is known as the disappointing Chancellor of today. However, he also blamed the teachers union contract and their lock-step pay  raises as a major impediment for the failure of the public schools. What he failed to address was the large class sizes, the DOE policy that encourages principals to hire" the cheapest and not the best teachers for their school", and the deteriorating quality of school administrators, many of them coming from the failed "Leadership Academy".  Finally, Sol Stern failed to point out the bloated DOE budget that dramatically increases every year while school budgets remain frozen at 2012 levels and are 14% below the pre-recession 2008 levels.

Class Size:  
Probably the most important factor in improving student academic achievement as the lower class sizes that allow for more individual instruction. a less noisy environment, and the ability of a teacher to properly evaluation each student in a timely matter.  Unfortunately New York City Public Schools have the highest class sizes in the State and despite assurance that class size would go down during the Bill de Blasio Administration, it hasn't.

Quality Teachers:
In 2005 the DOE imposed the "fair student funding" policy on the schools which forced principals to seriously consider, salary before hiring a teacher.  By 2008 as school budgets tightened and money was scarce, the principals were forced to hire "newbie" teachers to stretch their budget.   Some worked out, most did not or left the school soon after (84% of the teachers were no longer teaching in the same school they started in five years later).  The high teacher turnover and steep learning curve meant less effective teachers and spelled disaster for the unfortunate students exposed to this unstable school environment.

One of the little talked about problems with the New York City Public Schools is the poor quality of principals who are in charge of their schools.  The Leadership Academy taught educators that they should be the CEO of their school and accepted applicants with little or no classroom experience.  While Carmen Farina has made it more difficult to apply without the proper educational credentials, she has made exceptions.  Regardless, 20% of the principals in the New York City Public Schools are "Leadership Academy principals".  Worse, is the DOE continues to protect these bad, dangerous, and vindictive principals, despite the many problems associated with their school oversight.  Just look at the allegations against Principal Namita Dwarka of William Cullen Bryant High School in Queens and the many problems there, yet she is still in charge.  Even in today's the New York Post reported on another vindictive action her administration did to a thirty year veteran teacher.

Merit Pay:
Sol Stern falls into the trap that if only merit pay was implemented, then teachers would work harder and the students will achieve academic success.  Yet Mr. Stern fails to show any evidence that merit pay works in the last century and the reason for that is there is no study that showed merit pay improved teacher and student performance!  The reason is that there is a flawed assumption that dangling a few thousand dollars will make teachers work harder.  The fact is that most teachers want their children to succeed and work very hard to help them. Giving them a couple of thousand dollars will not make teachers work any harder.

Bloated DOE Bureaucracy:
While already tight school budgets have remain frozen since 2012 and "fair student funding" has limited principals to hiring inexperienced teachers to sacrifice quality for quantity, the Central Bureaucracy continues to consume more and more money. while forcing the schools to pick up more of the cost for the school support staff that was once part of the DOE Central Bureaucracy.  For this school year (2016) the DOE budget is 27.2 billion dollars while it was only 19.2 billion dollars in 2012.  That means there was a 42% increased in funds coming to the DOE while school budgets remained frozen during the same time period.  Just imagine if the schools received a 42% increase.  They could hire experienced teachers, reduce class sizes, and provide additional resources.

Poverty & Family:
Let's not forget that the 500 pound gorilla in the schools, the deep poverty and dysfunctional family that is a major reason why many students struggle academically and until those two issues are addressed and solved, the others only add to the lack of student academic achievement.

Mr. Stern maybe you need to rethink your article and see what the real problems are in the New York City Public Schools.


Anonymous said...

Did he mention-'poverty'or 'homelessness' or'parental neglect'?

Anonymous said...

This ones for you Chaz. You want to talk about fake, over bloated bureaucratic disgraces? Look no further. Let me introduce you to Carmen Farina's "special assistant", Ms Sadye Campoamor. Do a search Chaz. We know her from way way back when she kinda taught for one year (yes one year) in the Bronx. Luckily for her, her husband is a high ranking official in 32-BJ which supported DeBlasio before any other union did. Campoamor served as DeBlasio's PR person as he was public advocate. He rewarded her with a special assistant to the chancellor title. Campoamor has no experience in education and is another typical favor from Bill DeBladio. Another payroll gift for a pal hiding her in the NYC Dept of Ed where most people can blend in. Unfortunately for Sayde, we found ya. You're not that intelligent and you basically have no impact. Chaz, please pass this along. She's a waste. This is exactly the prime example of what's happening at Tweed. They're giving pay checks to people who don't deserve it. Disgusting!

BB said...

The issue, as unfortunate as it is to say, is that 80% plus of the students are trash. They come to school for no reason but to cause trouble. They are there to collect their free food and metrocards and to disrupt the daily education that should be taking place. If you were in a "bad" school the day the PSAT was going on, what was going on? Cell phones, talking, throwing things, laughing, etc. The whole thing was invalid and a joke, and this is just one example. Every school, pretty mucch, is a free for all. Nothing going on, every aspect of the discipine code broken, students with either no interest or no ablity to do work, no notebook,s no homework, no pens, constant disrespect. Oh, I must be a racist. Or this is the truth.

Anonymous said...

Great assessment of the schools. Just as the DOE hasn't had regime change in many areas, what is the story with Bloomberg's mammoth legion of attorneys, assassins of teachers' careers? Are their numbers just as big as they were under Bloomberg?

bob said...

Poverty normally equals lowlife...

Anonymous said...

This rag ass losing money daily news continues to write any story they can regarding our union and teachers. This piece of crap excuse for journalism is the most disgusting piece of garbage publication and a sad indication to how our society is so corrupt and controlled by people similar to the jerk that owns the daily news in that they have this money that allows them to voice their ridiculous perceptions on our lives and the society we live in. This piece of shit paper will write anything it can to push its insane agenda of warped illusion.

Anonymous said...

IN this ill fated article in the daily news the author writes
"I can still recall the shock I experienced one morning in September of 1991 after dropping my boys off at PS 87's schoolyard. I lingered for a few minutes, chatting with some other parents, when I noticed a bent man in dirty, tattered clothes wandering around the yard as if in a stupor. Wondering if a derelict had gotten into the schoolyard, I asked one of the parents if she recognized him. She responded with an ironic grin: "Don't you know? That's Malcolm, one of our new teachers."

Chaz, are you telling me that the author of the daily news rag article was disenfranchised with our union and teachers because he saw one person wandering around the yard of a school?? So, I guess:
1. The teacher was a luny boon even though the author never spoke a word to him
2. All you have to do to rate a teacher is to look at their "tattered clothes"
3. If you think a teacher looks like a derelict than I guess he or she must be one
4. The Daily news publishes this crap and goes on and on about our public schools failing yet the daily news is a money losing organization and has been for years!!
5. How can a losing organization such as the daily news rag throw stones when indeed they live in a glass house - full of glass and mirrors I might add
6. The daily news is poison to our society spewing false misleading information and setting agendas for the poor and uneducated and the only reason it still exists is because the paper rag is owned by some billionaire moron who thinks just because he has a few dollars he is a fuken genius.

This article is just another bull shit piece spewed by the daily news rag who will publish anyone anytime as long as you have something negative to say about our public schools. Shameful and sad that our society has stooped so low as to resemble some third world countries.

Anonymous said...

No teaching experience for Sadye Campoamor and yet she's working as an assistance to the chancellor. Her resume is replete with cronyism from deBlasio's Public Advocate days. I say through her in the classroom for 5-7 years and then move up the ranks.

Her Experience:
Special Assistant to the Chancellor
NYC Department of Education
January 2014 – Present (1 year 11 months)
SLV Jewelry
September 2009 – Present (6 years 3 months)
team player
2009 – 2015 (6 years)
team player
2009 – 2015 (6 years)
team player
2009 – 2015 (6 years)
Lead Organizer
New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio
October 2010 – December 2013 (3 years 3 months)|1 centre street
Community Organizer
New York City Public Advocate, Bill de Blasio
November 2010 – May 2012 (1 year 7 months)|NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio
Education Organizer
Manhattan Lead Organizer
One Nation Working Together
2010 – 2010 (less than a year)
Art Teacher
Harbor Morningside (This is a children's center; it's not even a public school)
2007 – 2009 (2 years)
NYC Lab School
1997 – 2002 (5 years)

Anonymous said...

Back in June
“School roster down to 302 students from a top of 440 students.
Nobody banging down doors to get into this school.”
School roster down to 287 students from a top of 440 students.
A student believing in education will not go to this school.
Attendance is below 80%
AP who was with the school since it opened has left and now has a position at the DOE office.
One teacher has already resigned and four more have one foot out the door and are looking to find a position “anywhere”.
Laboy the school girl principal still earns a salary of 140,000+ per year.

Anonymous said...

Stay clear of Felicia Rincon, Wings, Bronx Studio, Fred Douglas 3, Bronx Theatre, Beta - heck, stay out of the Bronx, it's one shithole after another. The charters are even failing here - you should see the cesspool they have on the first floor of JFK.

Anonymous said...

If you know of schools that teachers should not apply to, post those hell-hole schools on this site.

Anonymous said...

although I would ameliorate my language I can not disagree with the general tenor. BTW I am retiring this coming week. There are maybe a dozen decent HS in the Bronx where a student can get an education preparing them for college.