Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg's Poodle, Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Uses His Political Connections To Get Out Of A Ticket & Put The Police Officers Jobs In Jeopody.

Late on Thursday night two police officers stopped a city-issued car which has tinted windows and for failure to use the left turn signal. The passenger in the car was Chancellor, Dennis Walcott, the Mayor's poodle who was outraged that these two police officers stopped the car near midnight and had demanded the driver's license, registration, and insurance card.

The Chancellor challenged the two police officers about stopping the car and identified himself as the Chancellor for the New York City Schools and Deputy Mayor for the last eight years. He demanded the badge numbers of the two police officers who were just doing their job in protecting the neighborhood and then the Mayor's poodle contacted the Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly, to complain about the police officers actions. How dare they stop his car and demand information? The New York Post article about the incident is Here.

In response to the Chancellor's complaint, Ray Kelly authorized an internal affairs investigation against the two police officers who told the investigators that Wallcott was being difficult during the traffic stop. They claim he said the following "you have no right to pull us over". I guess if you are the Mayor's poodle you should not be subject to the traffic laws of the City like everybody else. Therefore, the next time Dennis Walcott says he is just like everybody else, just remember how he used his power and influence to put the bite on two police officers who were just doing their job to protect the community they patrolled in.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg Has Started Phase Two In Attacking Seniority-Based Layoffs By Getting The NYS Senate To Take Up The Case Once Again.

It certainly looks like that phase two of Mayor Bloomberg's attack on seniority-based layoffs or "last in, first out" (LIFO) has started. First the Bloomberg/Klein/Murdock mouthpiece, the New York Post, ran a four part serious on the teacher discipline process. In response to the Post stories the Senate Education Chairman, John Flanagan will start a legislative probe on the disciplinary process for New York City teachers, he said the following:

"I don't think anyone should shy away from having open, fair discussions," he added. "I think holding hearings would be a good idea."LinkThe Post also reported this as well that the state Senate education chair said he'll hold a legislative probe on the disciplinary process for city schoolteachers in the wake of a Post series highlighting problems that have plagued the system for years.

Notice that John Flanagan said the proposed probe will be only about New York City teachers and not Statewide despite having the same disciplinary process? Furthermore, Mr. Flanagan's definition of "fair" must be taken with a grain of salt. Remember he passed the one-sided Bloomberg Bill to end LIFO for New York City teachers only and never even talked to the teacher unions or the Governor's Office to get their input. In fact, he tried an end around on teacher "due process" and union "collective bargaining rights" to help the Mayor in Phase one to end LIFO. Does anybody really expect John Flanagan to have a "fair hearing"? If you do, I have a bridge to sell you. The entire New York Post article can be found Here.

Look for John Flanagan's so called "fair hearings" to result in an to issuance of a report that demands an end to LIFO and the suspension without pay for New York City teachers who face discipline. Nothing else would appease the Mayor in phase two of his attack on seniority based layoffs. What the Mayor wants, the Mayor gets, when it comes to the Republican State Senate.

Once phase two goes nowhere. I can't wait to see what the Mayor's phase three plans are. Fire all New York City teachers and get his Republican lackeys to pass that exemption to the New York state law prohibiting the Mayor's plans. Fat chance. If only the Governor and State Assembly would just get out of the way and let the Mayor do what he wants.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The New York Post's Teacher Bashing Articles Stoops To An All Time Low As They Demonize Teachers As A WayTo End "Last In, First Out" - (LIFO)

The New York Post has printed a series of articles on teachers that faced State 3020-a disciplinary hearings and cherry picked the most egregious examples of the time, effort, and money it took to resolve these cases. Obviously, the DOE provided the information to the New York Post who then published the DOE's greatly embellished charges against these teachers. Notice, the DOE did not give the New York Post information on the many deals they made with other teachers who faced these same charges. I wonder why?

It is very obvious this series of teacher-bashing articles is the handiwork of Post reporter Carl Campanile who's almost daily assault on seniority-based layoff rules known as "last in, first out" or LIFO and appears to take his marching orders from Mayor Bloomberg and his education deformer friends. I guess this starts the next phase by the Bloomberg Administration and Tweed to erode teacher "due process rights" and scapegoat teachers by tying them to a whipping post . Their hope is by identifying these egregious cases, the general public will turn against the teacher union and pressure the State to eliminate LIFO. Fat chance, even the general public realizes that it is simply a Bloomberg power grab.

Up to now the union has done a "good job" in making sure Bloomberg's LIFO Bill has not gained any traction in the Governor's Office or the State Assembly. However, it is apparent that the New York Post teacher-bashing series is just another phase in the Bloomberg Administration's effort to rid the school system of highly-paid teachers in their "education on the cheap" policy. Therefore, the union needs to fight back with all it's resources and show these so called education deformers and their media lackey's real goal. That is to destroy the teachers union and to privatize the school system.

The end product for Mayor Bloomberg is to have a young, replaceable teaching staff who will not last long enough to ever get pension and retiree health benefits. Furthermore, it will aid education reformers who's main goal is to privatize the school system and put profits ahead of academic achievement. "Children first", yeah right, it is really the hedge fund managers first and "children last".

Saturday, April 23, 2011

To School Administrators. If You Want "Great Teachers" To Teach In Your School, Show Them That You Have A Great Administration & School Environment.

Once again it would appear that principals will not be able to hire "newbie teachers" for the next school year due to a hiring freeze that affects all subjects except Special Education and possibly secondary school Science. In addition, if the Mayor actually follows through with his threat to layoff 4,666 teachers, the principals will have to fill the many vacancies with ATRs or steal them from other schools. This will be the time to get a "great teacher". Obviously, every parent wants a "great teacher" for their child regardless of race, income, religion, or culture. Of course if you ask Mayor Bloomberg and his poodle, Chancellor Walcott, their idea of a "great teacher" is young, inexperienced, cheap, and if possible, not tenured. Why pay pensions or retiree health benefits if they don't have to? However, parents and their children know that a "great teacher" is an experienced one who has excellent knowledge of the curriculum, has superior classroom control and not afraid to try something different if it helps the student academic achievement. What seems to be left out of the equation is the quality of the school Administration.

It is common knowledge that a good school starts with a supportive Administration. "Great teachers" will gravitate to these schools where teachers feel that the Administration" has their back". Many of these good schools have long-term Administrators who went through the ranks as a teacher, Assistant Principal, and than Principal. They will almost always side with the teacher in student/parent teacher disputes and support the teacher in providing resources and assistance. By contrast many of the struggling and small schools have an Administration that consists of a "Leadership Academy Principal" with little classroom teaching experience and Assistant Principals who blindly follow the Principal's directives, no matter how destructive it is to the school. Furthermore, these principals don't back up their teachers and rule as if they own the school and not collaboratively as good principals do.These principals have a staff of mainly "newbie teachers" and complain that they cannot (or is it do not?) get experienced teachers to their struggling schools and blame it on the teachers themselves but never admit to their own deficiencies.

What "great teacher" would ever want to work for these "Leadership Academy Principals"? Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here. "great teachers" do not like to work with a "Leadership Academy Principal". A "great teacher" works in schools with a supportive Administration. A "great teacher" wants to teachLink as he or she believes is the best learning style for the students. You want "great teachers" than show them you have a great Administration and school environment to attract them.

Remember, if it really is "children first" then it is up to the school Administration to recruit the best teachers regardless of age, and salary. Does your school have such a great Administration, if not then ask yourself why?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Stories Of "Ebony & Ivory" And "Mutt & Jeff" Continue - "Bad Teachers" That The DOE Made A Deal With.

In the LIFO argument some people have claimed that I have said that all ATRs are "great teachers". This is far from the truth. While many ATRs are "great teachers", there are some who are "bad teachers". This post is about four such teachers who, thanks to the DOE Office of Legal Services, were put back into the classroom to bring misery to whomever crosses their paths.

Last year I wrote an article about "Ebony & Ivory". How these two teachers reaped havoc in the "rubber room", calling the police and not following the rules. Both were charged under State Education Law 3020-a in part to their behavior at the reassignment center once removed from the classroom. To call these two "characters" is being kind, they were downright dangerous to everybody who came in contact with them. Incredibly, the DOE, rather than going after the "worst of the worst" teachers, settled with both for a fine and a course. For Ebony it was the second time in the last five years that the DOE charged her under 3020-a only to make a deal with her. Along with "Mutt & Jeff" who I also wrote about previously, they all took deals offered by the DOE and were sent to schools as ATRs. Now it is Spring break of the next year and what have our four "bad teachers" found themselves in.

"Ebony" has gone to two different schools this year as she has had trouble with the Administration at both schools. I have heard that she may be charged yet again under section 3020-a for her behavior at the present school. If Ebony is charged it will be her third 3020-a in the last six years.

"Ivory" went to a school only to be taken out of the school and charged yet again under section 3020-a. She was actually put back to the Children First Network Office despite teachers no longer being removed from a school while awaiting disciplinary hearings because of her behavior at the school. Unbelievably, the DOE made yet another settlement with her, shocking even her own lawyer. She is now in another school and having more problems.

"Mutt" decided that his reassignment was a vacation and would disappear from the reassignment center for hours at a time. he was caught and received a "U" rating for his disappearances and behavior at the reassignment center. However, the DOE failed to add this to his original charges. This school year he was supposed to work for a DOE office and decided he was "Maynard G. Krebbs" and allergic to work. He would sleep all day in a conference room and hide when he thought the Office had work for him to do. Rather than the DOE file new 3020-a charges against him, he was allowed to settle his original charges with a fine and a course by the DOE. He was told to report to a school and showed up unshaven, with his most dingy and dirty clothes he had. It worked, the school threw him out and he decided to wait for a new school by staying home and getting paid for what seemed months, or so as told to me. "Mutt" is now in another school and I pity the children exposed to him.

Finally, we have "Jeff" who seems never to stay in any one school for the entire year. This year he was kicked out of one school and landed in another were the Chapter Leader spends too much of his time representing "Jeff" in "U" observations and is destined for another "U" rating. Remember, the DOE had more than enough evidence to terminate" Jeff" but choose to make a settlement instead.

Yes, there are "bad teachers" but more often then not the DOE chooses to make deals with the "worst of the worst" and send them back to school to cause more damage and we all suffer from it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why Doesn't The Mass Media Investigate The DOE's Bloated Administration As A Source For Saving Money?

There is ample evidence that a good place to look for budget cuts is the bloated Central Bureaucracy at the DOE at a time when the Mayor and his poodle, the Chancellor has threatened to lay off 4,666 teachers. Even in this time of a dire need to cut the budget, Tweed has proposed to increase the Central Bureaucracy by 10% and increase consultant and computer costs by substantial amounts. While that is incredible, the most unbelievable aspect of the DOE Administrative Bloat is a lack of an investigation by the mass media on why so much money is being spent that have no direct impact on the classroom?

It is not that the politicians don't know it. One of the most asked questioned by the New York City Council hearing about the budget was why Tweed and the City was not reducing Administrative headcount and costs while threatening to layoff 4,666 teachers? It looks to me that our media outlets have chosen not to spotlight the DOE Administrative bloat for political reasons. Even the Mayor's poodle, the Chancellor has ignored the increase in Administrative costs in his testimony in front of the City Council. Instead he tells people the teacher layoffs are inevitable and we must end "last in' first out" or LIFO. However, he is very quiet when it comes to the Administrative bloat at the DOE.

Let's look at some of the numbers at Tweed.

  • An increase of 218 employees in the Central Bureaucracy and a failure to cut the headcount previously as they promised to do.
  • An increase of $40 million in outside consultant services.
  • An increase of $36 million in computer consultants.
  • $5 million for "Teach For America" when there is a job freeze for teachers.
  • $20 million for the "Teaching Fellows" program despite a job freeze.
  • A 22.1% increase in non-educators for the next school year.
  • Demanding carefully saved funds from the schools be returned to Tweed.
In my opinion the union is doing it's part in trying to bring out the Administrative bloat at the DOE (I still think the UFT needs to run a new commercial). However, the mass media needs to take off their collective blindfolds and dig into the DOE budget with a fine tooth comb and see the excess fat oozing from Tweed. Why they don't do it may be more about politics than the story since it seems to be teacher bashing time and not what the truth is.

Update: To prove my point the New York Post Editorial Board spoke with Dennis Walcott and never brought up the Administrative bloat at the DOE as an issue. You can read a summary here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The DOE Uses Abbott & Costello Math When It Comes To Headcount At The Central Bureaucracy As They Hide The 300 Million Surplus For Next Year.

Over the years the DOE has practiced "fuzzy math" when it came to where the money goes when allocating funds. Now we find that Tweed is still practicing "fuzzy math" when it comes to next year's budget. In testimony in the New York City council the DOE had previously claimed that they cut the Central Bureaucracy down to 1600 in past budget cuts only to admit in the very same testimony they didn't do it and the Central Bureaucracy's headcount was either 2, 000 (DOE) or 2,024 (UFT) this year. Incredibly, when proposing to eliminate 6,166 teachers, the DOE projects an increase of 97 positions next year (the UFT claims the increase is 218 positions) in the Central Bureaucracy. Inside those numbers there is a projected 22.1% increase in non-educators while reducing educators by an astounding 64.1%. By contrast the DOE has eliminated over 5,000 teaching positions due to attrition and saw class sizes rise dramatically as the Central Bureaucracy failed to cut their own headcount after promising to do so

I believe UFT President, Michael Mulgrew, said it best in his testimony in front of the City Council. He was quoted as saying the following:

I am sick of the fact that we cannot get any credible information from the DOE; I do not trust them at all….There is a tremendous political game being played; it’s so disgusting. Their facts are devoid of any facts….They are basically lying in open testimony.”

There were other funding issues that the DOE numbers don't seem to reflect reality. Moreover, the New Chancellor incorrectly stated that the Charter Schools were subject to the "fair student funding" requirements as Public Schools. If the Charter Schools were, they would receive drastically reduced funding since they take a minimal amount of "high needs students". He also stated that the elimination of the over 6,000 teaching positions will result in a class size increase of only 1 to 1.5 students when it looks like the increase will be between 3-6 students, with the greatest class size increases in the K to 2 classes. Finally, when the DOE budget showed a 300 million dollar surplus for FY 2012 and was cited why there should be no layoffs, the surplus item just disappeared from the DOE budget with no explanation what happened to the money. See the entire discussion on the New York City Public School Parents Blog. It is an eye opening experience.

I can only describe the DOE budget presentation as Abbott and Costello math where more becomes less as they try to hide their surplus and claim imaginary cuts in the already bloated Central Bureaucracy.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dennis Walcott, The Mayor's Poodle, Talks About Teacher Layoffs, Charter Schools, And Reform But Is Silent On The Topic Of Administrative Bloat.

Now that the Mayor's poodle, Dennis Walcott, is Chancellor you might expect things to change. However, according to the new Chancellor, the Bloomberg agenda is his agenda. Dennis Walcott speaks about teacher layoffs, Charter school co-locating in neighborhood schools, and school reform. However, when it comes to eliminate the Administrative bloat at the DOE, he has nothing to say.

A case in point, the Mayor's poodle showed up at the New York City Council to explain the 2012 budget and merely echoed the Mayor's position. The New York City Public School Parent blog printed the entire exchange and it is an eye opening experience about the DOE fuzzy math and how Dennis Walcott tried to evade questions that made him uncomfortable Here.

The Mayor's poodle may be nicer than the nasty Joel Klein, and smarter than the clueless Cathie Black but when it comes to following the Mayor's policy, he is just a lap dog. It is still the Mayor first and children last...always!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Response To Principal, Matt Willoughby's So Called Compromise On "First In, Last Out" (LIFO) To Terminate The ATRs.

Gotham Schools printed a discussion with Principal, Matt Willoughby, who runs the Manhattan Urban Assembly School Of Design And Construction and who called for a compromise proposal to supplant the seniority-based layoff provisions called"last in, first out" (LIFO). His so-called compromise would be to terminate the ATRs.

In the piece, at first, the Principal said all the right things, like "as a politician, I would do everything in my power to avoid teacher layoffs" and "I would not trust all my peers in making the right decisions on who to layoff". However, he then proposed a compromise to LIFO by laying off the ATRs. This of course is not a compromise since the DOE created the ATR crises in the first place and cannot change it without a "collective bargaining agreement" with the union. Therefore, it is time to remind the Principal why we have ATRs in the first place.

The ATRs were created by Joel Klein and agreed to by Randi Wiengarten as a way for principals to hire whatever teachers they wanted, which was almost always inexpensive and usually nontenured "newbie teachers" as the DOE imposed "fair student funding formula" which forced principals to hire the cheapest teachers to balance their ever shrinking budget. The way the DOE used the "fair student funding formula" was implemented it amounted to a 20% effective cut in the school's payroll. Therefore, principals were very reluctant to hire highly-paid, experienced teachers to fill vacancies. Furthermore, the "Leadership Academy principals" were encouraged to hire the "newbie teachers" especially from the alternate certification programs such as the "Teaching Fellows" and the "Teach for America" programs. No longer was the Principal required to fill vacancies with excessed teachers and Tweed actively encouraged the principals to hire who they pleased to meet their budget limitations imposed by Tweed. The result was an ATR crises that see anywhere between 1,200 to 2,400 teachers without a position. In the ATR agreement the DOE committed to pay the ATR salaries until placed and agreed to no ATR time limit.

More importantly, many of the ATRs are "great teachers" who have the misfortune of working in schools that Tweed targeted for closure or were unfairly charged by a vindictive Administrator under 3020-a and were not terminated. To demonize the ATR is simply wrong and the Principal should know that. By agreeing to layoff ATRs the Principal is not asking for compromise but is parroting the Tweed line that ATRs can't teach and are "bad teachers" and should be laid off (fired).

My proposal is to eliminate "fair student funding formula" therefore, giving back to the schools the 20% cut they experienced since it's implementation. The additional money can be used to dry up the ATR pool and reduce class size to a more manageable level. Furthermore, the reduction in the Administrative bloat in the Central Bureaucracy to 1997 levels as the Governor has suggested will eliminate many of the unnecessary programs and consultant services that just steal money from the schools.

In summary "eliminating the "fair student funding formula" and the Administrative bloat will not only make teacher layoffs unnecessary but eliminate the ATR pool and free up funding for many school programs.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Teacher Respect Starts At The Top. However, From President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg All We See Is Teacher Bashing.

One of the reasons that teachers are being disrespected by the news media is that they take the cues from the politicians that get the most publicity and has the most power. Yes, there are the new wave Republican Governors in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and New Jersey who believe teacher bashing is some sport. However, the two leading anti-teacher politicians have to be President Obama who thought it was appropriate to fire the entire high school teaching staff because of the failure for the heavily immigrant student body to meet Rhode Island academic standards. Of course Obama ignored the fact that most of those teachers gave their sweat and blood to help these students but were stopped by lack of resources, and the social-economic community that the students came from. With the President bashing teachers, it became open season for those education deformers to attack teachers and their "due process rights". To most people if the President blames the teachers for the student shortcomings it must be true.

That brings me to the Emperor, Mayor4Life Michael Bloomberg who has taken "teacher bashing" to a new low. Over 80% of his proposed layoffs are teachers while he ignores a 10% increase in the DOE Central Bureaucracy. The Mayor not only wants to layoff teachers wholesale but proposed the elimination of teacher seniority based layoffs known as "last in, first out" or LIFO. The Bloomberg Bill to end LIFO was a transparent attempt to get rid of highly paid senior teachers and replace them with inexpensive and unvested "newbie teachers" in his "education on the cheap" policy. Day in and day out the Mayor grips about LIFO and has Fox News as well as the New York Daily News and the New York Post almost daily lobby for the end of LIFO. Even Newsday was on board but only if it was implemented Statewide. The Mayor even paid for million dollar commercials to press his case against LIFO and has so far failed miserably when the Governor and Assembly refused to allow Bloomberg's Bill to see the light of the day. In fact, Bloomberg's attack on teachers has backfired with historically low approval ratings of 40%. Now he has fired his incompetent Chancellor and put his poodle in charge who stated that he will be champion the same old failed Bloomberg reform policies that have alienated parents, students, and teachers alike.

However, the damage is done. Parents talk disrespectfully of the schools based upon politician actions and the mass media. Their children then tap into their parent's feelings and many students no longer give the teacher the respect he or she deserves. Ask students how they feel about their individual teacher and they will tell you that their teacher is "great" but if you ask them about teachers in general, a different answer appears. These students will tell you that many teachers don't care or are disinterested in the students. Where did that feeling come from? I just said that most students respect their teachers, it is the others that the students complain about. The answer is quite simple it is what they hear and read which is an unrelenting stream of teacher bashing and as Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbles once said "if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth".

We need to make a concerted effort to show that teacher respect is positively correlated with student academic achievement. The only chance to narrow the student academic achievement gap is to give back the respect teachers once enjoyed, until the politicians decided that the teachers were the blame for the nation's financial and educational woes. They make excellent scapegoats in a nation in crises.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The New York Post Did A 'Bad Job" In Their Article On How "Bad Teachers" Go Back To School. - The Blame Should Be Placed On Tweed.

I read the obviously biased and one-sided article on what happens to those so-called "bad teachers" by the New York Post's Susan Eldelman and can only shake my head with puzzlement as she writes about the "settlements" the DOE offers to teachers ratherLinkthan proceed with the 3020-a termination hearings. If you read the article you get the impression that the DOE has no choice but to offer "settlements" because it is so difficult to fire teachers. The article claims only 33 teachers, out of the original 744 were terminated which is only a 4.4% termination rate. However, 94 other teachers signed a stipulation and agreed to resign by the end of the year. That means the DOE was able to remove 17% of the accused teachers either immediately or by year's end. Moreover, this number does not include up to 80 teachers where no decision has been made by the Arbitrators. What Susan Edelman should have investigated is why the DOE charges these teachers in the first place under section 3020-a if they don't intend to follow through with the hearings? If these teachers are truly "bad teachers"? As the DOE claims, then why didn't DOE pursue the cases through the entire 3020-a process? That is the real question that the Post should have asked.

The blame about "settlements" should not be placed on the teachers but squarely on the doorstep of the DOE and the principals/investigators who level charges against these allegedly"bad teachers". If these charges are really true, then what in the world is the DOE's Office of Legal Services making "settlements" with these "bad teachers" for? However, instead of Susan Edelman asking what the settlement offers were, she should be interviewing the Office of Legal Services on why they are offering "settlements" in the first place if they can prove their case against these "bad teachers"? Furthermore, she should be asking how the DOE can allow these teachers back into the classroom if they think they are guilty of misconduct or incompetence without going through a full 3020-a hearing?

In the article, Susan Edelman wrote about one teacher who took a settlement rather than go through a 3020-a hearing because he or she did the following:

One client agreed to pay the DOE a few thousand bucks and take a class in stress management after admitting "inappropriate comments" to students, such as calling one student's presentation "boring" and telling a another kid faking flatulence "to keep your gas to yourself."

Every good teacher verbally banters with their students and can brought up on charges by a vindictive Administration for "inappropriate comments" whenever they please. However, Susan Edelman fails to realize that what this teacher did is quite common, especially in high school with real misconduct issues. Her failure to even pretend to question the DOE on why they charge teachers with actions they know are frivolous or embellished is very puzzling. You might ask if the teacher really didn't do anything wrong? Then why did they take a deal? The answer is that many teachers are afraid and are willing to pay the DOE extortion just to get it over with and return to the classroom.

Of course, had Susan Edelman really did an in depth analysis of the so called"bad teacher" problem she would have found out that since Joel Klein's Administration, it is a Tweed policy to allow principals to charge teachers under section 3020-a by simply writing a Technical Assistance Committee (TAC) memo outlining the charges against the teacher without having to supply any real evidence necessary to prove their case. That is for the DOE lawyers to prove. In reality, many cases against teachers are based upon hearsay, rumor, gossip, and innocuous actions greatly embellished, twisted, perverted, and taken out of context. However, since Tweed allows principals great discretion in charging teachers it is almost impossible to separate the real misconduct with what the DOE charges teachers with.

Are there "bad teachers"? You bet there are. I have written about some of them Here, Here, and Here. However, the DOE Office of Legal Services willingly still made "settlements" with these "bad teachers" and send them back into the classroom time and again. Who's fault is that? The DOE of course.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg Names His Poodle, Dennis Walcott, As Chancellor. The Reality Is He Is "Part Of The Problem Not The Solution".

Mayor Bloomberg officially has nominated his long-term Deputy Mayor of Education, Dennis Walcott as the new Schools Chancellor. However, in his first press conference he stated that he will advance the Mayor's polices concerning the New York City Schools. The only thing that might change will be public relations. However, don't look for any policy changes from the Mayor's poodle.

Dennis Walcott has been the Mayor's point man for the last eight years when it came to education and is "part of the problem and not the solution" when it comes to the New York City Public Schools. As Deputy Mayor of education, Dennis Walcott aided and abetted the destructive policies of the DOE that included Administrative bloat, out of control computer and consultant services, and the failure to reduce the academic achievement gap for minorities and low-income children.

Let's look at what Dennis Walcott has said to the New York City Council yesterday that proves my point.

He defended the city’s policy to offer space in public school buildings to new charter schools, but acknowledged the process could be improved. He pledged to keep “the pedal to the metal” and praised the school system’s “remarkable progress” since Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took its reins in 2002.

“I believe in what we’re doing, and I haven’t had any evidence that what we’re doing is wrong,” said Mr. Walcott, who as deputy mayor has advised Mr. Bloomberg on education matters.

He also repeated a mantra of the Bloomberg administration, that the state law protecting the most senior teachers in the event of layoffs was “one of the most crippling policies on the books.

In no case did the Mayor's poodle take issue with the Mayor's education policy. The complete New York Times article can be found here. In fact the head of the Education Committee, Robert Jackson stated the following when Walcott brought up the LIFO issue:

“You and I know the issue of LIFO is a dead issue,” said Jackson, referring to the State Assembly’s opposition. “You can beat a dead horse to the ground.”

The Mayor's poodle also had no answers when it came to the increased Administrative bloat at Tweed except to say the only significant money savings will come from laying off teachers as skeptical council members chucked at that remark. UFT President Michael Mulgrew followed Dennis Walcott's testimony and was quite forceful and is a must read here. According to the New York Times article Michael Mulgrew did and said the following:

As he testified, the teachers’ union president, Michael Mulgrew, scrawled “sick of it” on the back of a printout of his testimony. “This isn’t about the chancellor,” Mr. Mulgrew said afterward. “It’s about the policies, and they don’t seem to have changed.”

Unfortunately, I foresee no change in the destructive Bloomberg Education policy with the Mayor's poodle, Dennis Walcott at the helm and look for the same teacher-bashing issues and the questionable statistics that existed when both Joel Klien and Cathie Black were Chancellor.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg Fires His Puppet, The Unqualified Ex-Chancellor Cathie Black & Appoints his Poodle As The New Chancellor.

In what was an expected decision the Mayor4Life, Michael Bloomberg has fired the incompetent and unqualified Chancellor Cathie Black who lasted only three months on the job. The ex-Chancellor was so incompetent that the general public realized it by giving her a miniscule 17% approval rating. Even the despised Joel Klein had higher ratings!

Cathie Black was simply a puppet for the Mayor and everybody knew it. During her short stay four high level rats, oops I mean Deputy Chancellors have jumped the sinking Tweed ship along with almost half of the high level Administrators as the incompetent Captain Black was steering a rudderless course (good riddance). So who does the Mayor4Life appoint? A real educator? Of course not, he appointed his poodle, Deputy Mayor, Dennis Walcott to become Chancellor and yes he will also need a State waiver since he does not have an educator's license. Unbelievable, but true.

I find it very interesting that the Tweed Bureaucrats were applauding Dennis Walcott as some sort of savior, That just shows how disposed and disrespected Cathie Black was as Chancellor. She told reporters she went out and bought running shoes as if she can't get far enough away from her disastrous tenure as a Chancellor.

As for Dennis Walcott, known as the Mayor's Poodle. He told the DOE bureaucrats that he intents the follow the Bloomberg Administration's anti-teacher polices and double up on reform, whatever that means. While I see some incremental changes how Tweed works. To me it is the same old group of non-educators who's expensive programs never seem to translate into real learning in the classroom. I do see that with Dennis Walcott in charge, the Bloomberg Administration will try to rally minority politicians to end LIFO which will fail. Otherwise, it will be the same old DOE with Bloomberg's poodle, Dennis Walcott as Chancellor.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Administrators In New York State Want To End LIFO But Say Nothing About Reducing The Administrative & Beauracratic Bloat In Their Own Ranks.

It would appear that high-level Administrators & School Boards would like to see the elimination of seniority-based layoffs known as "last in, first out" (LIFO). Over the last week since the New York State budget did not include the weakening or elimination of LIFO, Administrators throughout the State are getting on the end LIFO bandwagon. First, it was Mayor Bloomberg who proposed a bill to end LIFO, next, it was the New York State School Boards Association, made up of non-educators and bureaucrats and now it is the School District Superintendents who want LIFO reform. What is obvious is that these groups are not involved on the day-to-day operation of schools and in many cases are not even educators. However, these very same groups that clammier for the so-called LIFO reform are quiet about reducing their own Administrative bloat, instead they whine about teacher layoffs or reducing student services while ignoring the increased bureaucracy and Administrative salaries that have exploded in the last decade.

The Cuomo Administration found that there was an astounding 34% increase in Administration since 1997 . While there was a reduction of 4.6% in students. There was also a 9.6% increase in teachers. However, that is mostly explained by a reduction in class sizes, and special education requirements. That is why the Governor has told the School Districts to reduce the Administrative bloat before you layoff teachers. Interestingly, there has been dead silence about the Governor's report and for good reason. You can't scare parents by laying off some faceless bureaucrats but you can scare them by laying off teachers and student services such as sports.

Before, these bureaucrats can layoff teachers, the School Districts should be drawing up plans to get rid of unnecessary Administration and go back to the levels in 1997.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg's Attack On "Last In, First Out" Is Simply About Power, Money, & Control....And Of Course, Teacher Disrespect.

Mayor4Life, Michael Bloomberg has started phase two in his attack on New York City's Teachers by using his own money to print out pamphlets and a companion TV commercial touting his accomplishments while attacking teacher seniority-based protections known as "last in' first ouor (LIFO). However, it does appear that Mayor Bloomberg's continued attempts to attack teacher "due process rights" has backfired on the Mayor. A Marist/NY1 poll showed that his popularity rating is at a 8 year low of 40% and most disturbingly for the Mayor the general public disapproves of how he handled the New York City Schools which shows that only 27% believe he is doing a good job as the education Mayor. Furthermore, a majority of New Yorkers with children in the school system (57%) believe his attack on "last in, first out" LIFO was motivated by his desire to control the New York City schools and not about the budget. The majority of New Yorkers see Mayor Bloomberg's attack on LIFO as a simple power grab.

Moreover, the Mayor declining popularity ratings and his attack on the Governor and the Assembly has made any changes on LIFO "dead on arrival". In fact in a New York Daily News opinion article today illustrates the Mayor's declining power and influence. Even the New York Post's Michael Goodwin questions if the money is being well spent as he calls his column Bloomy's Tail-"Spin". In Albany, the Daily News reported that Andrew Cuomo quietly met with top union leaders in a peace offering was heard to say the following.

And some say he made it clear that Mayor Bloomberg would not be getting his wish to repeal the "last in, first out" law for teacher layoffs.

"Collective bargaining is collective bargaining and we have to support those things," one attendee quoted Cuomo as saying.

Let Bloomberg foolishly spend his own money but the sooner he accepts defeat on LIFO the sooner he can get down to trying to save the teachers and help the children in the the New York City Schools. Even the majority of the general public now believes that it is not about the budget but about control and teacher disrespect on the Mayor's part. I am still waiting for the union to respond in kind with a commercial that equates Bloomberg's action with the "bad old days" of Tammany Hall and of course the video where Bloomberg says that teacher experience is irrelevant.

In reality it is Bloomberg first and "children last" when it comes to the New York City Public Schools.

Friday, April 01, 2011

The "Toxic Teacher" Who Is Also The "School Snitch".

In my old school, which is slated for closing. We had one of those "toxic teachers" who couldn't teach and students begged their guidance counselors to get them out of his class. I had written about him previously, Here and Here. and I do not need to rehash it in this post. To make matters worse he was the "school snitch" and didn't think twice about badmouthing other teachers to the Administration. However, the "school snitch", let's call him Mr. S. went even further in one case, Mr. S through the Principal, Snidely Whiplash, secretly contacted the "Special Commissioner of Investigations" (SCI) to accuse a recently removed teacher of making "secret deals" with the students to get them to leave Mr. S's class and enter the teacher's class. Let me paraphrase how SCI reported it.

The SCI investigator was contacted by the Principal, Snidely Whiplash, that Mr. S had some very important information that could help prove the rapidly weakening case against the recently removed teacher. However, Mr. S. did not want anybody to know that he was meeting with SCI and requested that he meet with them outside the school. The SCI Investigator could not believe his luck. All he had so far was third person hearsay, rumors, and high school gossip against the recently removed teacher and was hoping that Mr. S would provide the "smoking gun" needed to make a real case against the teacher. The SCI investigator asked Mr. S what he knew about the recently removed teacher. Mr S stated that he was sure the recently removed teacher demanded secret favors from students who wanted out of Mr. S class, mostly females. The SCI investigator asked him what kind of "favors" did the recently removed teacher demand? Mr. S response was "I don't know" but why would they leave my class unless their was some secret deals made with these students? The SCI investigator already had realized that the major misconduct the Principal, Snidely Whiplash, accused the recently removed teacher of committing was not true and he was considered a "great teacher" by the students he interviewed. After going to the school an unprecedented 8 times and not finding anything other than the usually hearsay, rumors, and typical High School gossip about the teacher, the investigator knew that what the Principal accused the recently removed teacher with was "bullshit". Now here was the "school snitch", Mr. S accusing the teacher with making deals without any evidence. By the time the interview was over it was quite obvious that the reason the students were leaving Mr. S class was that he was a "terrible teacher". The SCI investigator ignored Mr. S's accusations and finally closed the case despite complaints from the Principal that he did not look hard enough for the evidence of major misconduct which never materialized or ever occurred.

The recently removed teacher was found not to have committed any misconduct by an Arbitrator and was sent to another school to resume his career. What happened to the "toxic teacher", the "school snitch" Mr. S? Good news for the students he has only limited classroom interaction and is now a hallway Dean as he continues to "kiss up" to the Administration.`

What is most interesting Mr. S would not be in any danger of being fired under Bloomberg's Bill to end LIFO despite the fact he is a "terrible teacher" since he "kisses up" to the Administration.
Go figure.