Saturday, May 19, 2018

The NYC Small Schools Have Many Disadvanatages.


Being an ATR, I have first hand experience of the many disadvantages of the small school experience.  Unfortunately, for the students of these small schools they soon realize that the propaganda that the small high schools allow for a more family-like atmosphere and better academics (not true) pales in comparison of the many disadvantages associated wit the small high school experience.  Let's look at the many disadvantages of the small school experience.

Limited Curriculum:
Now that the small schools are under the same monetary limitations as all other schools which is about 90% of their fair funding, they cannot offer enough Advanced Placement or higher level courses to better prepare the student for college and students who do not like the teacher is stuck with him or her, .  Moreover, they lack flexibility and have limited choices beyond the State required courses.  Finally, in these small schools only one teacher may be certified to teach the subject.

Inexperienced Teachers:
Due to budgetary restrictions and DOE inspired hiring practices, many of the small schools have hired the "cheapest and not the best teachers" for the schools.  For many principals it's how much they can stretch their tight budget and veteran teachers are just too expensive.  Its common knowledge that there is a steep learning curve for "newbie" teachers and it takes 5 to 8 years for these teachers to master the Art of teaching.  That includes classroom management, curriculum knowledge, and social skills to work with a student population. In addition, the small schools are subject to high teacher turnover and an unstable school environment.

Lack of Extracurricular Activities:
Many of the small schools lack space for sports programs, may don't even have a gym!  Further, the limited funding means that schools must choose to offer either Art or Music but can't afford both,  Moreover,  physical education is limited to two or three days a week rather than everyday.Finally, programs like Dance, Literature, and clubs are almost non-existent in the small high schools.

Top Heavy In Administrators: 
Many of the small schools are top heavy in administrators with each small school having a Principal and between two and three assistant principals.  In the campus of a closed large comprehensive high school, the total amount of administrators to oversee 3,000 students was eight administrators, one Principal and seven assistant principals.  Now the four small schools that replaced it has fourteen administrators, four principals and ten assistant principals.  This does not include  administrative managers (coaches and financial managers etc.) assigned to the school who must pay for their services. The small schools are usually headed by  Leadership Academy Principal who have a reputation of not running a collaborative administration. 

Ask any high school student who go to these small high schools and they will tell you that they made a mistake because of the restrictions and limitations of the small school experience.


Anonymous said...

Ever since entering the DOE twelve years ago I have only worked in such 'small' schools. One was in the Bronx and the other is in queens. You are spot on in what you list. With a small staff, there is less of a pool of 'expertise' in a wife variety of things that could be taught as electives. Worse still, they only get one 'elective' each semester here in my high school, and these are taught by outside people.

We have no sports teams, though they were tried a few times and fizzled. I feel bad for students. We have a TON of admins and 'coaches' and 'outside observers' though. You could run a whole other school with the budget from all the administrative bloat.

The only good thing is that you do get to know the students more to help them, but turnover is high nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Since November, I have been assigned to a school of around 1,000 students. Although I hate junior high, this school is quadruple the amount of students of where I was excessed from. This school of 250-300 students had 1 principal and 3 APs when I started.

They knew everything about you. If you wanted to work independently during a prep, you weren’t ‘part of the community’, if you did not go for happy hour, then you were not a ‘team player’, and my favorite, if you left when you were allowed to leave, this was frowned upon.

Looking back, I now get it. Administrators in these schools have nothing else to do. Sure, there is drama with the kids. But they have to fill the time.

Not to mention, the politics in a small school are terrible.

As an atr, I have been offered interviews and a few positions in a small school.

One small school(100 students) offered me a job. My room would have been sandwiched between the offices of the principal and the AP. I said ‘I’ll let you know’ to which I never did.

This atr is not a moron!

Carranza: do away with smal schools. Bring back old school principals.

TJL said...

The elephant in the room is that for the most part, small schools in NYC were never tried. That would've required the SCA acquiring land and building many buildings. What occurred was a scam with the sole purpose of using a loophole in the contract (for when schools actually needed to be closed in vacant neighborhoods in the 70's) to get rid of veteran teachers, which was allowed when a school closed. Instead, the City "closed" schools and "reopened" in the exact same building with the exact same kids with different pretentious school names (Academy of ... High School of .... Urban Assembly... etc.) on different floors of the school. Those are not small schools.