Sunday, September 29, 2019

Academic Fraud At Maspeth High School - Part 2

It seems that Mayor De Blasio was informed of the academic fraud at Maspeth high school and failed to take action.  Worse, the Mayor did not remove the school administrators before the school year started but told the district councilman not to go to the press if he wanted to be on the Mayor's good side.   Susan Edelman of the New York Post wrote an article that explains it all.

Can you imagine if a teacher was caught committing academic fraud?  He or she would be removed from the school and the DOE would file 3020-a termination charges.  Yet, despite the many whistle blowers and their allegations, the DOE kept all the school administrators and only reluctantly started an in house investigation, while dragging their collective feet. This is just another example of the DOE's double standard.

You can also read the article of why a teacher quit Maspeth high school due to alleged corruption.

To read more about Maspeth high school read my blog Here.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Mayor De Blasio Backs Away From Eliminating The SHSAT

According to the New York Post the Mayor threw in the towel about eliminating the SHSAT for the specialized high schools and will start from scratch to come up with other ideas to diversify the specialized high schools.  The Mayor scrapping his diversity plan for the specialized high school puts him at odds with the Chancellor who claimed the 1971 State law requiring the test as "racist".

The Mayor is not giving up and he will try to come up with a diversity plan for the specialized high schools that is acceptable both to the State and the various racial groups. This time he will include the East Asian community that he deliberately excluded previously.  As expected, the Chancellor, Richard Carranza, was mum about the Mayor's changing his mind about the specialized schools but he is very unhappy since diversity is a top priority of his administration.

More bad news for the Chancellor and Mayor is that District 15 has delayed their school integration plan due to parental pressure and it looks like it will not be implemented until the 2021-22 school year, if at all.  Further, parental resistance to the ill-advised and  proposed District 28 diversity plan has forced the Superintendent to back down and asked for parental input.   Finally, District 3 has also quietly reexamined their proposed diversity plan as there is a fear that they will lose their middle class students if they are bused into Harlem,

With Mayor Bill de Blasio becoming more and more unpopular as his 0% for President showed,  his already difficult job to diversify the public schools becomes almost impossible to fully realize his diversity plan..

Sunday, September 22, 2019

NYC High Schools Practice Academic Fraud To Jack Up The Graduation Rate

Most high school teachers in New York City know that academic fraud is practiced in most, if not all the schools.  Be it scholarship requirements, easy credits, blended learning, grade inflation, or administrative pressure to pass failing students.  The New York Post has an article dealing with the widespread academic fraud practiced in the New York City high schools.

Maspeth high school is just an extreme example of the common practice of academic fraud.  If your an untenured teacher and you dare fail too many students, look to be discontinued.  For tenured teachers, look for poor observations and a 3020-a termination hearing. It doesn't matter that these students did not deserve to pass, they want you to pass them anyway.

The DOE will claim that they do not tolerate academic fraud but they put intense pressure on school administrators to pass as many students they can or risk negative consequences for the Principal and the school.  Hence, academic fraud is encouraged while the DOE looks the other way. No wonder there is a disconnect between the graduation rate and being "college ready" at many of the NYC high schools..

Rather than going into detail of the academic fraud that goes on in the New York City high schools please read my academic fraud articles from my blog.  In addition, you can also read my numerous graduation rate articles as well and they will give you a complete understanding how academic fraud is practiced in the New York City high schools.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

What Do Oklahoma And New York City Teachers Have In Common?

CBS Morning News did a story on Oklahoma's trouble recruiting and retaining teachers and you can find it Here.   Oklahoma not only experiences a severe teacher shortage, they cannot retain teachers they recruit. Many  of the red states have similar problems recruiting and retaining teachers.

While New York City does not suffer from a teacher shortage like Oklahoma is, except for the Bronx.  Like Oklahoma, many teachers in New York City don't make it a career in the New York City schools.  Some go to the higher paying and better resourced suburbs.  Others leave teaching, and of the recently hired Tier VI teachers, few will make it to their vesting year for a pension and retiree health benefits.

Whether you teach in Oklahoma or New York city, teachers complain about the same things.
  • Lack of respect
  • large class sizes
  • Inadequate pay
  • Under resourced schools
  • Too much paperwork
  • Lack of independence
  • Too many useless meetings and time consuming and unnecessary Professional Development.
The bottom line:  Teaching is one of the lowest paid professions and politicians have a field day blaming teachers for society's ills.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Maspeth High School Cheats For The Illusion Of Success

Maspeth high school has been accused of cheating to jack up their academic success.   This Queens high school has been written about previously in my blog and others  for the high percentage and abuse of untenured teachers along with financial shenanigans.  Now columnist Susan Edelman of the New York Post has written an article that exposed the school's manipulation of the school's graduation rate and Regents passing percentage..

Despite the various issues at Maspeth High School over the years the DOE has never bothered to seriously investigate the founding Principal, Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir or his assistant principals despite the various questions about how the school is run by parents, students, and teachers.   I was at Maspeth High School for a month a couple of years ago and read my experiencel Here. 

Maspeth high school will cheat to continue the illusion of success and the DOE will do nothing about it.  Read the New York Post Editorial Board opinion.

Read one student's story how the school graduated him six months early despite hardly attending class.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Repost: Teachers, Not Administrators Dictate The Lesson Plan Format

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.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Federal Employees Will Get A 2.6% Raise

The Trump administration will approve a 2.6% raise for federal and civilian employees. This is less than the 3.1% that the House of representatives approved but it seems that the 2.6% raise will eventually be approved by the Congress.

The 2.6% raise is higher than the UFT negotiated 2% raise for its members but then again our union leadership rather play nice with the Mayor than fight the City for a better raise   Compared to other teacher contracts, our union leadership cannot negotiate an adequate raise.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Stop Dumbing Down The High School Diploma Requirements

For the last decade New York State Education Department (NYSED) has weakened the requirements for achieving a high school diploma.  Since 1995 NYS Regents was the "gold standard" that showed if high school seniors were academically proficient to succeed in college and the workplace.  However, under political pressure to graduate more students and reduce the racial achievement gap, the NYSED has dumbed down the Regents by grading the gateway Regents of Living Environment (known as Biology lite) and Algebra on a curve that makes the passing rate as low as 29 correct answers to pass, rather than the 65 that was the case in the 1990's.

Despite the dumbing down of the Regents and the curve to get more New York State students to pass, only 38% were considered "college ready".  By contrast, the State graduation rate has risen every year and was 80% as of 2018.  What happened to the 42% who graduated high school but were not college ready?  They were required to take no-credit and expensive remedial courses in colleges and few ended up with a 4-year college degree.

Now it seems the NYSED wants to dumb down the Regents testing requirements even more and approve alternate academic ways for high school students to legitimately graduate. New York State has had the Regents for high school students since 1865 and if there is no push back, the Regents will become optional and only for the academically proficient high school student.,

Some educators suspect that the elimination and weakening of the Regents testing requirements is due not only by political pressure to pass more students but the cost of developing and printing the Regents exams.  Moreover,the educational materials associated with those exams plays into the NYSED''s approving the downsizing the Regents exams. This "education on the cheap" policy only weakens New York State's reputation for academic excellence.

Will the Board of Regents continue to weaken the Regents testing equirements?  Only time will tell.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Theoretically A Discontinued Teacher Does Not Mean That Teacher Cannot Get A Position At The DOE, Practically They Can't

A teacher cannot achieve tenure until they put in a minimum of three of the four years of effective or higher ratings and quite a few teachers need five years as the Principal or Superintendent may want to delay tenure by giving the teacher an extra year for a myriad of reasons.  if a teacher gets a developing or ineffective rating for the fourth year, the Principal or Superintendent can discontinue the teacher.  Usually, if a teacher needs a second year of the extension of probation, his or her days are probably numbered.  I know of many New York City teachers who were discontinued when they received a second year of probation.

A teacher who was discontinued in one New York City district can theoretically get another position in a different New York City district or has a license in another subject but few have dual licenses .  However, there is a problem.  The DOE will tell the principal of that district not to hire the discontinued teacher and to ensure that happens the DOE puts the discontinued teacher on a "do not hire list" and places a problem code on their file.  What Principal would go against the DOE?  None that I know of.

Therefore, once a New York City teacher is discontinued, forget about getting a teaching job in the New York City public school system.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

No Change In The Gifted And Talented Programs This Year

After receiving intense push-back from parents and the Asian-American community, the DOE has decided not to change the gifted and talented program for this year.  The gifted and talented program was drastically reduced by the Bloomberg administration by requiring 4 year olds to take an entrance test to qualify for the program.  The result was the City's gifted and talented programs were reduced from 60 to 10 as the low income, minority communities had few entering students that can qualify for the program.

The existing gifted and talented programs have only a 21% Black and Hispanic component, despite the two minorities making up 85% of the City's student body.  Finally, the 10 gifted and talented programs are found in the more diverse neighborhoods, like Districts 2(Manhattan),15(Brooklyn), and 26 (Queens) where there is enough middle and upper income families that attend the public schools to fill the classes. 

If the City eventually adopts the crazy proposals by the diversity advisory group  that wants to eliminate the gifted and talented program and diversify the Borough's schools, upper and middle class flight would follow.  Just imagine you live in Little Neck Queens and the City forces your child to be sent to South Jamaica by a 2-hour forced busing to integrate the school.  You would either sell your house and move to Long Island or send your child to private school and who can blame them?

I highly doubt that Mayor Bill de Blasio will agree with the diversity advisory committee's recommendations but you never know since the Mayor is more progressive than practical.  However, I do see that the City will try to increase the gifted and talented programs throughout the City but the question is how?

Sunday, September 01, 2019

The Two Worst Academic School Districts On Long Island

Long Island is known for their high quality and expensive school districts in the nation.  Many middle and upper income families who live in New York City will wait for their children to become school age and move to the suburbs for their excellent schools.  The flight of middle and upper income families to the suburbs may accelerate with the Mayor's and Chancellor's ill-advised integration plan. Moreover, most Long Island school districts have a full plate of academic courses and extracurricular activities that most school districts don't or cannot offer.  Finally, the Long Island school districts have strong parent involvement, because of the high school taxes they must pay, and that's a very important aspect when it comes to excellent schools.

Another important consideration is peer pressure.  At the elementary school level its not that important since most elementary schools are parent and teacher dominated, especially at the lower grades.  However, by the time the students are in middle school and high school, peer pressure becomes the most important factor in student academic achievement. This is where the suburban Long Island school districts have an advantage since school taxes are expensive and range from $8,000 to $22,000 a year and the parents put pressure on their children to do well academically to justify paying such high property taxes.  Therefore, the peer pressure to succeed translates in academic achievement for the majority of the students.  By contrast, many urban schools, especially in low income minority communities, peer pressure is just the opposite as academic excellence is frowned upon, with many students doing as little work as possible to pass with a low academic average.

There are a few school district on Long Island that mirror many off the urban schools. In Nassau its the Hempstead school district and Suffolk its Wyandanch school district. Both school districts are considered poor and heavily minority with many immigrants who speak poor English and came from countries that had a poor education system.  The Hempstead school district is a majority Hispanic student population with most of the rest Black. While Wyandanch is about evenly divided between Black and Hispanic students. The table below show the passing rate of State tests for 3rd thru 8th grades for the two school district and the county as a whole.

Percent passing the State test

School District.......3rd.....4th....5th....6th.....7th.....8th

Hempstead  ELA    33%...31%...25%...23%.....13%...26%
Hempstead Math....36%...31%...28%...15%.....13%...0%

Nassau ELA...........66%...61%...51%...60%....52%...69%
Nassau Math.........67%...67%...61%...68%....58%...38%

Wyandanch ELA....34%...28%...12%...31%....15%...21%
Wyandanch Math...31%..29%...16%...18%....10%....4%

Suffolk ELA...........50%...44%...34%...45%...35%...44%
Suffolk Math.........50%...48%...42%...48%...43%...19% 

One noticeable trend is when peer pressure starts to become the most important factor as students advance in grades, passing rates decrease in the poor and minority communities and this is especially true in the two school districts.  On the other hand, in Long Island as a whole, except for 8th grade Math where many of the advanced classes take Regents Algebra instead of the 8th grade Math test., the passing rates remain static.

See all Long Island school district test results and opt out rates Here.