Tuesday, April 11, 2017
In New York City There Are Just Too Many Bad Principals Running Their Schools.
The reasons that teaching in the New York City Public School System has become an unappealing job can be attributed to many factors. The Obama Administration's policies linking teacher performance with student growth (junk Science) in his Race To The Top policy. Education reform organizations that demanded that teachers be held totally accountable for student outcomes. Politicians, like Governor Andrew Cuomo who made sure that the teacher evaluations metric was based on 50% of a students growth score (junk Science). Add that to the New York City and UFT approved punitive Charlotte Dainelson rubric as a weapon to go after teachers and the "gotcha" system of micromanagement imposed by DOE policy and you have a school system that suffers from low morale, high teacher turnover, and ideology over student academic achievement.
Despite all the above issues, a good Principal can run interference for their staff and make the classroom environment less hostile and the school culture more collaborative. However, in the New York City Schools we have far too many Leadership Academy Principals, with limited classroom experience, who are trained to be the CEO and not instructional leader of their school. The result, is a school system that has an "us against them" mentality. Worse, many principals are pushing out veteran teachers and hiring "newbies", despite their steep learning curve that hurts student academic achievement which shows up in the dismal college and career readiness rates..
A case in point is the CPE1 saga where the Principal, Monika Garp, has a "0%" trust factor from staff and parents have demanded her removal, yet she stays in charge. Or how about Namita Dwarka of William Cullen Bryant High School, who has the lowest trust factor in Queens high schools and have seen a teacher turnover of 88% since she became Principal in 2012. Who can forget Marcella Sills of PS 106 who somehow lasted eight years as Principal as the school suffered from unusually high teacher turnover, lack of resources, and a Principal that showed up late most every day. The school was nicknamed the "school of no" because it had no gym or art classes, no updated books. no nurse and no librarian for the library. Yet when the school received a grade it was an "A" by the Bloomberg administration. Think politics played a role in the grade? Of course it did.
A good school system has a collaborative environment, small class sizes, and a school administration that staff respects and not fear. Unfortunately, the New York City School System has failed to realize this and as a result the schools suffer from high teacher turnover, large class sizes, and a school administration that is not trusted by the school staff. Is it any wonder that the majority of students are not ready for college and the adult world?