Wednesday, June 26, 2019

New York City Cannot Retain Teachers

City Controller Scott Stringer held a press conference that criticized the Department of Education for the low teacher retention rates in the New York City schools.  According to Mr. Stringer 40% of all new teachers  leave the New York City public schools within five years.

The Bronx had the lowest teacher retention rates with 21.5%  leaving within a year in the 2017-18 school year..   he worst retention rate was District 12 in the Bronx with 26% of the teachers leaving after one year.

According to Scott Stringer, the problem is the DOE failed to provide appropriate support to new teachers.  He believes that a teacher's first year should be a residency program while having a veteran teacher mentoring the teacher before being permanently hired the next year.

While I agree with Scott Stringer, it will still  not solve the teacher retention problem and unless you improve the quality of school administrators, solve the many student discipline issues, and improve the classroom environment by respecting teachers, the retention problem will remain..

Monday, June 24, 2019

Mayor Bill De Blasio Retains Too Many Bloomberg Policies For Our Schools

When Bill de Blasio ran for Mayor he claimed he was to fully fund the public schools and reduce class sizes.  He also pledged to "clean house" of the Bloomberg ideology at the DOE and reduce the administrative bloat at Tweed.  Instead, he appointed a Tweed insider, Carmen Farina, as Chancellor and she retained 80% of the Bloomberg policymakers and failed to reduce the administrative bloat, especially lawyers..

The Mayor and Chancellor failed to fully fund the public schools, giving them only 90% of their fair funding, despite a 6 billion dollar surplus..  Further, the Mayor and Chancellor has repeatedly refuse to reduce class sizes, despite a CFE court case that allocated State money to do that.  Finally, the Chancellor continued the tricks that reduced the need for more teachers by reducing class time and limiting classes to three days for physical education, art, and music.and reduces Science from six classes to five.

The ATR pool still exists with a thousand ATRs rotating from school to school.  The discrimination against senior teachers continues, and the school based fair student funding which penalizes principals who hire veteran teachers and financially incentives principals who hire inexpensive "newbie" teachers.

Now Bill de Blasio has hired an outsider as Chancellor and while the new Chancellor is starting to clean house at the DOE .  However, the Chancellor's racial policies are very disturbing and are inappropriate.  The well respected.   Ed the Apple blog gave the Chancellor a APPR ratting of developing and to me, that's being kind.  Unfortunately,, Chancellor Carranza has not tackled the problems identified above.  Instead he is selecting people with questionable or no credentials to run the DOE, while not changing the policies that are damaging the NYC public school classroom.

Friday, June 21, 2019

District 28 In Queens Tries Integrating Their Schools

I read the article in Chalkbeat that District 28 in Queens is going to try to integrate their schools. While the policy of integration is a worthwhile goal, I believe that the unanticipated consequences will lead to the middle and upper middle class parents taking their children out of the public school system or send their children to relatives who live in the adjoining District 25 or 26 schools.

While District 28 is a highly diverse school district which includes the relatively wealthy White and East Asian communities of Forest Hills and Kew Garden Hills in the far north of the District and the poor Black neighborhood of South Jamaica in the South.

The schools are highly segregated and the school district is going to try to start integrating the schools.  How they will achieve integrating the schools has not been spelled out but I cannot see it succeeding without integrating the communities involved.

First, most parents will not allow their children to take public transportation (two buses) and a commute of an hour or more from their homes in the northern part of the school district to schools in South Jamaica and adjoining communities, where the schools are academically low achieving and through dangerous neighborhoods.

Second, most parents want to send their children to neighborhood schools, rich or poor, Black and White.  These schools are the social gathering place f0oor families and their children make life long friends through the neighborhood schools.. Integrating the schools destroys the social fabric of the neighborhood schools.

Finally, many families do not own a car and if a problem occurs at the school they cannot easily get to the school to pick up the child.

While District 28's goal is noteworthy I cannot see it succeeding without losing the middle and upper middle class..

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Should Richard Carranza Resign As Chancellor?


When Mayor Bill de Blasio hired Richard Carranza as Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools and I was somewhat pleased.  Hiring a well qualified outsider, with no ties to the Bloomberg era, I expected the new Chancellor to "clean house" and to some degree he has.

The problem is that Chancellor Carranza is playing racial politics, replacing White female administrators with lesser qualified minorities.  At first, I supported the Chancellor as he was pushing out Bloomberg holdovers, mostly long term White females an to a lesser degree Black females.  However, it is quite obvious that he is appointing his cronies, some without proper credentials to lead highly sensitive positions at Tweed.

His policies are so appalling that seven members of the City Council'  penned a letter to the Mayor objecting to what Chancellor Carranza is doing. Also another Cararnza aide hs been reported for alleged misconduct.

Just look at the latest selection, Abram Jimenez, who was hired for a newly created $205,416 position to improve schools.  It turned out that Mr. Jimenez had an extensive disciplinary history and was forced to resign due to mismanagement. Now it seems that Mr. Jimenez has taken some "personal leave" once the New York Post wrote an article about his disciplinary record.

While I don't think Chancellor Carranza is a racist, he appears to be playing racial politics and that is unacceptable and should resign.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Charter Schools Drain Resources From Traditional Public Schools

Charter advocates are trying to pressure the New York State legislature to expand the charter school cap in New York City and has the support of the Governor.  However, charter friendly Chalkbeat has an article on whether charter schools drain resources from traditional public schools and the answer is yes!.

The article looked at various studies and concluded that charter school expansion added to the financial stress of traditional public schools.  Moreover, an analysis of the Los Angeles and San Diego school districts found similar results.

Charter schools drain students and resources from traditional public schools and try to claim that they alleviate overcrowding  in school districts that see a population influx of students.   That might be true to some degree in Florida and Arizona but overall it causes financial stress for the school district.  These school districts must either raise taxes, increase class sizes, or reduce staff, usually a combination of all three.

The bottom line is that charter schools are a negative factor when it comes to funding traditional public schools in a school district as every student who leaves the traditional public school takes the funding with the student to the charter school.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

How Will The City Integrate The Schools Without Losing The Middle Class?

According to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza, the City is on track to integrate the public schools.  The student demographics and geography tell me that is an impossible task.

The City public schools are 70% Black and Hispanic and only 15% White.  How can you integrate the schools with so few White students?  Even if you included East Asian students, it only adds up to 25% of the public school cohort.  Moreover, I highly doubt the majority of middle class families will allow their elementary and middle school students to travel long distances into poor neighborhoods and poorly performing schools to achieve some semblance of integration.  Finally, the City has no control of the family environment, where many students are homeless, without a father, and financially insecure which affects student learning. This doesn't take into account the geographic isolation of many of the racial cohorts.

A retired middle school reading teacher wrote an article in the New York Post showing the racial disparity of different cohorts and according to the 2017 State test in Math,the racial breakdown for students who achieved the highest scores (level 4) was as follows.  Asians (52%), Whites (28%), Hispanics (17%), and Blacks (6%).  Why is there such a disparity between racial cohorts?

To me, the reason is that many of the inner city schools have a weak academic curriculum and lack student discipline to achieve a peaceful classroom that is necessary to improve education.  Further, peer pressure in the middle class and  East Asian community to excel in school is just the opposite of the peer pressure in the poor, minority schools that think education is for nerds.  No wonder there is a wide achievement gap between the racial cohorts.

Good luck integrating the schools without addressing the social-economic problems in the communities that the schools are located in.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

The Lesson Plan

It has come to my attention that many principals are telling teachers what must be in their lesson plan.  Let me clarify what the school administrators can demand from the teacher.

 The administrators can RECOMMEND not tell the teacher what should be in his or her lesson plan.  Moreover, the lesson plan must be made available to the administrators when being observed.  That means a hard copy on the teacher's desk or a digital copy in the teacher's open laptop.  Finally, the administrators can make sure the lesson plan represents the lesson observed, as long as it complies to the unit and topic being taught.  Under no circumstances can an administrator dictate to the teacher what format the teacher's lesson plan should be.

Remember, the administrator can only evaluate the teacher, based on the actual lesson and not the lesson plan.  The lesson plan is the teacher's guide to the lesson and not part of the administrator's observation.

A simple one page lesson plan that uses bullet points of the lesson being taught, with a introduction, body, and conclusion, with an exit slip should be sufficient to cover any one lesson.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Brooklyn Charter High School Forgot To Pick Up The Global Regents

On Monday sophomores and a few juniors and seniors showed up at their Brooklyn charter high school, only to find out that the school's administration failed to pick up the Regents and now these students must wait to August to take the Global Regents and some of the seniors will not graduate in June.

It appears that the school's administration are set to resign at the end of the school year due to their lack of an administration license, as the City is cracking down on both uncertified teachers as well as administrators.  Therefore, its possible the school administrators were either too lazy or simply incompetent for their failure to pick up the Global Regents in time to give it to the students.

This is the same charter high school where a 18 year old male student give brownies to a bunch of freshman girls that was laced with synthetic Marijuana   Most of the girls got sick and were throwing up and many of them ended up in the hospital.

Like most charter high schools most of the teaching staff will not be returning next school year as wel as the administrators.  This is due to a few factors like not being asked back, are not certified, or decided to go on to other schools or professions.The news media may love charter schools bu the truth is that the charter high schools are a very unstable educational facility with a transit teaching staff, unqualified administrators, and a student population that usually had trouble in their previous public schools before ending up at the charter high schools..

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Principal Irene Sanchez Of PS 15 - White Teachers Need Not Apply


It appears that a Principal in Community District 1 sent out a help want-ad on that asked that only minority teachers need to apply for vacancies in the District.

The Principal, Irene Sanchez of PS 15,  sent this racially targeted want ad and this was an apparent violation of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is “illegal for an employer to publish a job advertisement that shows a preference for or discourages someone from applying for a job” due to race, color, religion, sex or other characteristics".

The DOE had the Principal remove the help waned-ad the next day when the New York Post was given  the offending want-ad.

Since the apparent racially targeted want-ad by the Principal was removed under DOE pressure, what penalty will the DOE impose on Principal Irene Sanchez?   If she was a teacher, I have no doubt she would be subject to  3020-a charges and probably be fired.  However, my guess is that the Principal will simply get a reprimand, if that.

I will be very interested to see who Principal Irene Sanchez of PS 15 hires for the next school year. If no White teachers are hired then the UFT should use their resources and force the DOE to take corrective actions against the Principal.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Why Does The DOE Continue To Shortchange Schools?

   Since 2008, the DOE has shortchanged schools when it has come to funding.  According to the City budget for 2019, only the now discontinued Renewal Schools received 100% of their Fair Student Funding (FSF).  In fact, most schools received far less with a minimum of 87%,  To fully fund NYC public schools under FSF, it would cost an additional 750 million dollars.

The FSF is broken down as follows:

Fair Student Funding Fair Student Funding (FSF) is $6.1 billion this school year and is used by schools to cover basic instructional needs. FSF funding usually comprises between 60 to 70 percent of an individual school’s budget and Principals may spend it at their discretion, with the ability and flexibility to decide how much to spend on teachers and other instructional needs. 

 The FSF formula allocates funding to schools through five categories:  

1.Foundation, which is a fixed amount of $225,000 for each school and may be used at the principals discretion for administrative staff, teachers, or other services the principal would like to provide. 

 2.Grade weights, based on student grade levels; 

 3.Needs weights, based on students’ needs; 

 4.Enhanced weights for portfolio high schools, which include CTE and transfer schools; and 

 5.Collective Bargaining,related to increases for staff funded with FSF

 While Mayor Bill dr Blasio committed to fully fund the public schools and lower class sizes, he has failed to achieve either one despite a $4 billion dollar City surplus.

Obviously, the Mayor and his Chancellor rather use the money for other needs then to  help the students by reducing class sizes, hire more teachers, and fully fund the schools.