Many educators were excited when Bill de Blasio came from nowhere to become Mayor of New York City. After 12 suffering years under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, we looked for better things down the road. How wrong were were.
First, he appointed as Chancellor Carmen Farina who was a Deputy Chancellor under Chancellor Joel Klein and supported many of his and Mayor Bloomberg's anti-teacher programs. Instead of "cleaning house" she kept 80% of the Bloomberg policymakers at the DOE and she was more the problem then the solution when it came to fixing the New York City schools, Chancellor Carmen Farina's legacy is she maintained many of the destructive Bloomberg polices like school based Fair Student Funding, the Charlotte Danielson rubric used as a weapon by administrators, and the targeting of veteran teachers using the 3020-a process to name a few.
Second, despite claiming he would reduce class sizes, it has actually increased during his first term and to make matters worse, he failed to reduced the extreme segregation of the schools due to the high school choice program that allowed the higher achieving students, mostly Asian and White, to be selected by the far too many specialized and screened schools. The result is the lower achieving minority stuiden6ts are relegated to academically struggling schools, especially the Renewal Schools.
Third, his lax student discipline policy is a disaster as staff and students feel increasingly unsafe as the disruptive and violent students are simply given a talking to (restorative justice or a warning card) instead of being suspended or arrested. Moreover, his lifting of the student cellphone ban is disrupting learning as students are distracted and instead of concentration on the teacher they are texting or looking at videos on their phone, Finally, the Mayor has failed to stop the flow of weapons brought into the schools by students as confiscations have skyrocketed during his first term as Mayor as these students no longer fear suspension or arrest..
Finally, he has failed to eliminate the bloat at the DOE Central Bureaucracy that eats up an every increasing budget while schools suffer from recession era budgets and are only funded at 90% of what they should be receiving. Let's not forget that the ATR pool still exists and with 1,200, mostly veteran teachers, without a classroom and costing the DOE over $150,000 annually. No other school system would tolerate the waste of money and the responsibility lies at the door of the Mayor.
The bottom line is that Mayor Bill de Blasio should spend his second term doing the following:
- Eliminate the fair student funding formula for schools.
- Reducing class sizes to the State average.
- Place ATRs in vacancies before any hiring can be allowed.
- Fully fund the schools.
- Prohibit student cellphones in the classroom.
- Drastically reduced specialized and screened high schools.
- Eliminate school choice and encourage neighborhood schools.