Thursday, October 31, 2019

One Out Of 10 NYC Students Are Homeless

The amount of homeless in NTC schools stayed stubbornly high at 114,000.  This is nearly the same as the previous year with 85% of the homeless students are either Black or Hispanic and that indicates that Mayor De Blasio's homeless policy has failed to put a dent in the homelessness.. Here is what the Mayor said about it.

It's common knowledge that homeless students have lower academic performance, higher absentees, and are more likely to be associated with behavioral problems.  Moreover, the lak of a permanent home usually results in the student to move from school to school and cannot establish a stable social structure which also negatively affects academic achievement.  Finally, many homeless students lack financial support and am involved faster which is associated with academic success.

Reducing the student homeless population is essential to improve student academic performance, especially in many of the Bronx and Brooklyn schools.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Chicago Teachers Strike Continues

The Chicago Teachers Strike continues for a third week and according to the Chicago City Government they are 100 million dollars apart, which is quite significant.  Moreover, the City has not agreed to a contract stipulation to lower class sizes and for every schol to have adequate support staff.

Already, Monday classes have been cancelled and things are not looking goiod since the Mayor's office has not joined the negotiations.  Historically, when negotiations are close to completion, then the Mayor's office gets involed.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Joe Biden And The UFT Leadership

Joe Biden showed up to the Teacher Recognition Day Conference, run by the UFT, and tried to claim he was a pro public school teacher and promised to increase teacher salaries and school funding.  However, most of the teachers at the conference gave him a lukewarm reception despite the warm reception given him by the UFT leadership and rightly so.

 We all remember that Joe Biden was the Vice President under pro charter school and blame the teacher when students fail academically,  Barack Obama.   The originator of the teacher evaluation system that required student test scores to be tied to teacher effectiveness.

Joe Biden and Barak Obama both claimed to have a bromance and for Joe Biden to claim he had little influence over Obama's education policy is hard to believe. Hopefully Joe Biden continues to do poorly in the debates and is out spent by the others.

There is no way I will vote for either Joe Biden or Cory Booker if they gets the Democratic nomination.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Will The DOE Finally Place ATRs?

The DOE has finally taking steps to place ATRs.  In schools that have a history of hard to fill certain subjects and retain teachers , the DOE has decided to allow principals to hire an ATR free of charge, as long as the school keeps the ATR.  This has resulted in some ATRs getting a position since the Principal will no longer be responsible for the ATR's salary.

According to Susan Edelman of the New York Post, there are 930 ATRs and this is a slight reduction from the previous year as 170 ATRs took the $50,000 buyout,  Regardless, the DOE is still paying over $100 million dollars yearly for ATRs..  It should be noted that the ATR number only include teachers and excludes Guidance Counselors, Social Workers, and paraprofessionals.

The only reason that there are ATRs at all is that the Bloomberg policymakers are still in charge and have resisted the Chancellor's goal to place ATRs in vacancies.  This year the schools hired 4,800 new teachers as nearly a thousand ATRs languish without a position. .However, as the Chancellor has slowly  removed or pushed out the Bloomberg policymakers, the DOE has loosened restrictions   to hiring ATRx such as allowing select principals to hire ATRs, free of charge.

In 6he next few years I see the ATR issue fade into history.  At least I hope so.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Chicago Teachers Strike

The Chicago teachers went out on strike today after the City refused to put in writing lower class sizes and assurances of hiring adequate support staff for the schools.

The teachers have asked for a 15% raise for three years and the City proposed a 16% raise for five years, or 3.2% per year.  Moreover, the union is demanding that every school have a full time nurse, a social worker, and a librarian.  Finally, the 25,000 teachers and 8,000 support staff are asking for affordable housing.

The Chicago school system is nearly broke and it will be interesting to see what the City finally agrees to once the teachers contract is settled.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Blame Principals For Not Having A School Nurse On Staff

Some New York City public schools lack a school nurse, despite many children having health issues like diabetes and asthma.  The blame can be placed on the doorstep of the Principal, who has total control of the school's budget. Rather than allocate funds for a school nurse, they rather rely on the undependable DOE to supply and pay for a school nurse to save money.

The principals will claim, and rightly so, that the blame lies with the DOE, since they are responsible for providing a school nurse, free of charge to the school.  However, when the DOE fails to do so, then the Principal should be using their funds to do so.   True, the DOE's imposed school based fair student funding and their refusal to fund the schools at 100% of their fair funding (most schools are receiving only 90%) affects the decision to hire a school nurse with school resources.   However, it must be pointed out that the DOE gives principals full discretion on allocating funds.  Therefore, lacking a school nurse lies with the Principal.

To me, lacking a school nurse is a health crisis and with the many students who have health issues, principals are practicing educational maleficence and parents should demand their removal since they are not putting their students first..

Friday, October 11, 2019

All Social Security Retirees Will Get a 1.6% Cost Of Living Increase In 2020

All Social Security retirees will receive a 1.6% cost of living (COLA) increase for 2020.  For the average retiree that is an increase of $24 monthly.  The COLA will be in the January Social Security checks.

Democrats and advocates for seniors feel the COLA does not take into account health care costs and should be higher but its highly unlikely that Congress will pass any adjustments beyond the COLA as they did last year.

Newsday has an article about the Social Security increase Here..

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

New York State Will Allow School Districts To Evaluate Teachers

The New York State Board of Regents will no longer require school districts to evaluate teachers, based upon State tests.  Obviously, the 20% statewide opt out rate had greatly influenced the decision.
Moreover, the State gave the school districts the authority to use collective evaluations rather than an individual evaluation for the teachers.

How does that affect New York City teachers is still in question since the DOE has shown no inclination to change the teacher evaluation system. Moreover, will our union demand that Charlotte Danielson be eliminated and a fairer metric be used to evaluate teachers.  Finally, will teachers be collectively evaluated since the State now allows it and most suburban school districts have already implemented it for this school year.

Will the NYC teacher evaluation system change enough to be appropriate for the majority of teachers?  Only time will tell.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

A Tale Of Two School Districts

The Ward Melville school district has set up a teachers room with soft lighting, piped in music, a large television, high speed computers and printers and nice furniture in their high school.  They call it a wellness room..   By contrast New York City teacher rooms are usually associated with discarded furniture, inadequate space for the staff, and obsolete computers. In fact, one Queens school saw their teachers room taken away and are now screened into a small room with little ventilation.

The Ward Melville school district realized that happy teachers result in better student academic achievement.  Too bad the New York City DOE rather use money on themselves than improve teacher working conditions and improved student academic achievement.

The Chancellor is slowly replacing the Bloomberg holdovers but there are far too many left in the DOE and as long as school-based fair student funding and school administrators that obtained their job on political connections and not by merit. Is it any wonder that the New York City public achools are resource poor and staff has low morale.

Maybe the DOE will one day fully fund the schools, eliminate fair student funding, and put the schools first rather than there bloated bureaucracy.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

When Will Class Sizes Decrease?

One of the legacies of Michael Bloomberg are large class sizes.  The ex Mayor saw no problem in large class sizes as he refused to spend money on more teachers and if it was up to him, class sizes would double and reduce the teaching staff by 50%.

When Bill de Blasio became Mayor one of his campaign promises was to reduce class sizes.  However, he has failed to live up to his promise and class size are as high as under Mayor Bloomberg.  New York City has the highest class sizes in the State.

Now that Mayor De Blasio is in his second term and has had two Chancellors, don't look for any class size reductions for the Mayor's final two years in office.