It has been over three years since Carmen Farina took over as Chancellor of the New York City School System and many of her promises to overhaul the New York City Public Schools and eliminate the Bloomberg era policies have been found to be lacking. In fact, as a Deputy Chancellor under Joel Klein she is more the problem than the solution. Let's go over some of her statements and see if things really changed?
Class Size Reduction
One of Mayor de Blasio's campaign promises was to reduce class sizes. However, since Carmen Farina took over as Chancellor not only has class sizes not been reduced, but actually increased, especially in the K-2 grades.
Carmen Farina once told an audience that there were 400 principals that shouldn't be running their schools. However, she has failed to remove more than a handful of these failing principals. In fact, she and her cronies protect the worst of the worst.
The Chancellor was quoted by the Daily News that she will vastly reduce the ATR pool by either terminating them or place quality ATRs back into the classroom. However, she has failed to use her authority to convince principals to hire them. In fact, she has made little or no effort to penalize principals who hire and use uncertidfied teachers to instruct in core subject areas like English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Moreover, many schools give teachers a "sixth period" rather than hire a needed teacher. The result is that the ATR pool has remained stable during her tenure as Chancellor.
Fair Student Funding
One of the most destructive Bloomberg era policy is the school-based fair student funding that incentivizes principals to hire the cheapest and not the best teachers for their school. Yet, after three years the Chancellor has not eliminated the fair student funding formula from the schools. The result is a 1,400 ATR pool of excessed teachers without a classroom costing the DOE over $100 million dollars annually. A colossal waste of money and talent.
Administrative Bloat At DOE Central
While school budgets re frozen and school resources are scarce. DOE Central continues to expand. The New York Post reported that by next school year it will have almost tripled since Bill de Blasio took over. While it was bloated during the Bloomberg years its become even more so under the Chancellor.
Failed to Clean House at Tweed
Carmen Farina had promised that she would bring with her a new policy of collaboration between the DOE and schools. However, she retained 80% of the Bloomberg era policymakers. The result is that the schools have experienced essentially frozen budgets, no reduction in paperwork, despite promises to the contrary, and a "gotcha" mentality between administrators and staff. The new tone promised by UFT President Michael Mulgrew is simply the same old song when it comes to the New York City Public School classroom.
The Chancellor's vaulted Renewal School program is a failure with minimal benchmarks that over half cannot achieve and the Chancellor's claim that only "highly effective teachers" will be hired at the schools ended up to be a bunch of "newbies" instead. Worse she spends millions of dollars on layers of bloated bureaucracy and has hired some very questionable people to run the program. In today's Daily News there was a gang fight at Richmond Hills High School, one of the Renewal Schools.
Resolving The ATR Issue
Carmen Farina once told Chalkbeat that she will resolve the ATR situation once and for all but has simply nibbled at the edges with no significant impact. Her failure to resolve the ATR issue is a black mark on her and the Mayor's administration.
The bottom line, Chancellor Carmen Farina lives in a fantasyland and she has consistently failed to live up to her promises to remake the New York City School System while all the ills of the Bloomberg era still exist to date.