Sunday, April 03, 2016

The Destructive Bloomberg Policies Have Not Changed Under Bill De Blasio And Carmen Farina.

There was great hope from real educators when the anti-Bloomberg, Bill de Blasio became Mayor of New York City.  Sure, his selection of Chancellor in Carmen Farina, was a concern given her association with the Joel Klein Administration and some of the sleazy issues associated with her, like the Cobble Hill Regents cheating scandal, and her embrace of questionable academic programs like "balanced literacy".  However,  didn't our UFT President, Mikey Mulgrew, tell us there was a new tone at the DOE and things will be better?  Well, its been over two years and have things become better for the classroom teacher?  The short and long answer is a resounding NO!

Let's look at how things were under the third term of Michael Bloomberg and see if they have realty changed under Bill de Blasio?

Class Size:
Under the third term of Michael Bloomberg class sizes increased significantly and was the highest in the State.  One of the campaign promises by Bill de Blasio was to reduce class size.  However, that has been a promise not kept as class sizes have actually continued to increase under his administration.

School Budgets:
Shockingly, during the first two years of the De Blasio/Farina tenure, school budgets were frozen, despite a 6 billion budget surplus as reported by the Independent Budget Office.  Worse, the average school was funded at only 86% of their fair student funding allocation.  This is about the same as the last term of the Bloomberg Administration.

Fair Strident Funding:
One of the most destructive programs that Mayor Bloomberg installed was the "Fair Student Funding" that in theory, allowed "high needs" students to receive more money while giving less to more privileged students.  However, by attaching it to schools rather than citywide it resulted in principals hiring "the cheapest and not the best" teachers"  for their schools. The result is high teacher turnover, and an unstable school environment for students and staff.

If anything, things have gotten worse for the ATRs.  The demoralizing ATR rotation, making the ATR "a stranger in a strange land" continued from the Bloomberg years and now all rotating ATRs have a field supervisor who, based on "flyby observations" of classes the ATR know little or nothing about, have resulted in many "U" observations and ratings.  In addition, the 2014 contract negotiated with the union leadership has made ATRs a "second class citizen" with expedited 3020-a hearings, mandatory interviews, and automatic "U" ratings when taking more than 10 days off in any one year unless the ATR has documentation, regardless how many days the ATR has in their CAR.

3020-a Hearings:
In the first two years of the De Blasio/Farina Administration, there were an average of 362 educators who were charged under section 3020-a.  By contrast, in the last term of Mayor Bloomberg, the average was 320.  That's right, under the current administration there are more educators subject to termination charges, an increase of 13%!  According to my reports the rubber rooms are not only back but more and more educators are being removed for alleged offenses.

Tenure Denial:
According to UFT Solidarity, there has been an increase from 11% to 50% of teachers who were denied tenure.  In my school of the 4 teachers who are eligible for tenure, not one will get it and have already been told so.  Moreover, member resignations have increased by 38% since 2009.

Despite assurances that paperwork will be lessened, the opposite has happened under Bill de Blasio  as the DOE encourages principals to get their teachers to use an electronic grading book and update it daily.  In some schools like Frank Sinatra High School failure to have an electronic grading book that is updated could result in possible disciplinary action and has cowered the staff in complying with that directive.

Lack of Autonomy:
During the Bloomberg years the classroom teacher lost the ability to teach, based upon their student needs.  Instead, they were told to follow the DOE model and were subject to "gotcha observations" that followed a checklist rubric.  Under the De Blasio Administration, nothing has changed as Charlotte Danielson is still used and the "gotcha observation" is  almost a certainty.

Clean House:
When Chancellor Carmen Farina took over, there was hope that she would make a through spring cleaning of the Bloomberg managers at Tweed, instead she has retained 80% of the Bloomberg managers in their policy making positions and despite her claim that 400 principals should not be running their schools has removed only a handful and only under media pressure. Overall, there has been little changed in the hostile classroom environment under the Bill de Blasio Administration.  In fact Chancellor Carmen Farina said this about veteran teachers when she addressed new teachers at the beginning of the school year.

* New teachers should avoid the teacher’s lunchroom during the first few weeks. It’s where “the whiners” go to gripe, she said. 

If you find it hard to believe that she would disparage veteran teachers, you can find it Here.

Our disconnected union leadership can claim there is a new tone at the DOE but to the teachers in the trenches its still the same old song.


Anonymous said...

At first, I just thought DeBlasio was just clueless and not informed about how bad things were at the DOE. However, now that the mayor and Mulgrew are best buddies, there is no way to avoid the fact that he is complicit in all the bullcrap that is going on. Worse, he is doing nothing about it.

Anonymous said...

If you go over 10, even with doctors notes they'll come after you. File a medical leave.

Anonymous said...

Things are much worse with DeBlasio and his Nana. He has good intentions, but is trying to right many wrongs by engaging in misguided social justice. Social justice assumes a basic civility with the participants that simply isn't present. This is one big reason not to vote for MORE/New Action. Metal detectors, suspensions, stop and frisk, cellphone bans weren't in place to stigmatize and hurt minority communities. Most of those directives were there to keep the silent majority of hard working and law abiding minorities safe. His policies are helping criminals, thugs, and diminish the quality and safety of almost every aspect of NYC, especially schools. This May vote Solidarity and send the idealists to the Peace Corps.

Unknown said...

Honestly Chaz , how bad will the NYC teacher shortage be in 5 years ?

TeachmyclassMrMayor(andyoutooMrMulgrew) said...

Had a similar conversation w/UFT borough person & they swore it was going to be different. Had several long chats, where we agreed to disagree. I told him, I hope I'm wrong, but I don't expect to be. By June of last year, same person had to admit they were wrong.

I told them, they only had to give one or two signals that didn't have to be collectively bargained, and folks would have been all in. Things like going back to unit teacher budgeting, and this would have not only not cost money, but saved it as they would then very easily have placed ATRs. Now they pay ATR & newbie.

As we all know, and you document so well, Tweed not only didn't do any of these things, they've gotten worse.

UFT/AFT leadership (and an apathetic membership that sees so few members vote in elections) have endorsed it all.

If leadership forced Tweed to defend these policies publicly, thing could start to change. I won't hold my breath.

Philip Nobile said...

If I may follow up on your reference to Cobble Hill...

When Farina retired as Deputy Chancellor in 2006, the Times cited her fantastic memory, reporting that she "seemed to know everybody in the nation's largest school system and has an uncanny ability to recall students from decades ago.” When she was appointed Chancellor in 2014, the Times noted her "hands-on and blunt management style."

Contrast these reputed characteristics with her amnesiac and evasive interview below with OSI regarding her role in the notorious Cobble Hill Regents tampering scandal. Background: In 2004, Farina's Region 8 Superintendent's Office covered up my allegations of massive cheating at the school. Her LIS Kathy Pelles knew everything but claimed she never informed Farina or her Region 8 successor Marcia Lyles or SCI, as required by law.

OSI INTERVIEW: This investigator asked M. Farina when she first became aware of the cheating at Cobble Hill. She said, “I don’t think it was when I was Superintendent. I don’t remember.”

She was asked if she had any discussions with Superintendent Lyles about the Cobble Hill situation prior to mid-April 2004 [when the state stepped in]. She said, “I don’t remember.”

She was asked if she discussed [the Principal's] removal from Cobble Hill with Superintendent Lyles. She said, “We discussed it, not specifics, just general background, I can’t remember.”

She added, “I didn’t know the tests [under investigation] were Regents. I thought it was something between [the Principal] and an A.P. with inflated grades. She said that she had never heard of the complainant, Mr. Nobile.

This investigator asked Ms. Farina if she spoke to Ms. Pelles after she realized that Ms. Pelles had failed to inform her about the cheating at Cobble Hill while she was Regional Superintendent. Ms. Farina was also asked if she spoke to Ms. Pelles about her failure to follow standard operating procedure, which Ms. Farina said, required reporting tampering allegations to O.S.C.I. and the state. Ms. Farina said that she did not call Ms. Pelles for an explanation. She said, “I was at Tweed. I was not her superior.”

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:27- a half dozen teachers (including myself) were written up this year for attendance. One was on maternity leave, several were on FMLA leaves (for sick parents- ALL whom passed away), and another for an accident. We received the later that stated "Can result in further disciplinary action and termination". How do you deal with an insane principal that does THAT?

Anonymous said...

You ignore it, it means nothing if you're tenured and permanently appointed. The principal just wants you at work. However, if you were an ATR, it would result in weekly visits, observations and an Unsatisfactory. That Unsatisfactory would target you for all subsequent years you remain working, with the requisite constant visits and observations under very random and less than ideal environments. As an ATR, I'd prefer the insane principal, they can be very entertaining. Just remember you can make his life miserable with a little creativity. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Next month 103K base salary. The following May of 2017, 113K and then 120K in May of 2018. All this and leaving a building prior to 3p.m. Wow! One would think after reading the endless depressing posts on this blog that somehow it's bad. ATR's are actually upset that they'll be making 120K for subbing. This is a great story.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get two Masters degrees and put in 22 years of teaching to be a sub and treated like trash by the kids, staff and UFT. Go fuck yourself.

Anonymous said...

At my school the staff has largely given up. We just go through the motions. Yesterday a very fine untenured math teacher was told he was going to be fired. Why? The new admins are blaming him for the fact that many students in our school cannot do math. We have 2nd and 3rd grade skill levels in our high school. That's how they come to us from their countries. He is trying his best, but most of our kids cannot do simple addition and subtraction. So sad.

Bronx ATR said...

To 8:17,
From other countries? The home grown American kid, that walks in from the local middle school doesn't have those 2nd and 3rd grade skills. At least the foreign kids are civil and put in some effort. You know the most popular phrase I hear from American kids? Suck my d--k, ni--er.
The US is going down the toilet, but not because of foreigners. I'm sorry about your friend and what has happened to our profession.

Anonymous said...

our kids do math by counting on their, two, threeeee, four!
This is in the bronx my friends and this is what we have in nyc schools. If eva moskowitz had these kids she would return all of them to their native countries and use the good kids from america to boast how good her test scores are!!!! Yeah Eva you go girl.

Gladys Sotomayor said...

When? OK n your tenth day?

Anonymous said...

Was at Van Buren a few months back and that's all I heard. Suck my dick my ni- gger all day long. We can't even type ithe word but they say it all f-in day. Can't wait until retirement. Hope I make it that long. DIsgusting Behavior!

Anonymous said...

The UFT is in bed with the DOE.