Newly-appointed Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott is calling for cooperation in order to solve problems that are plaguing city schools.
During a lecture Saturday at Columbia University, Walcott stressed the importance of accountability in the school system. He mentioned the closure of failing schools and the removal of ineffective teachers as examples.
He also said while poverty is a serious issue for many students, it is not the excuse for poor performance among some.
Walcott said he's not afraid to make the tough decisions needed to create better schools.
"You look at the faces of the students, you see the parents in there, you see the principal or the AP's moving around, you see the artwork on the wall, you listen to the tone of the individuals who are talking, and you know that is a great school. I want to see those types of schools throughout the five boroughs in every ZIP code, in every neighborhood on behalf of our children," Walcott said.
Walcott also supports ending the controversial "Last In, First Out" policy for teachers facing layoffs.
Ah, yes - accountability.
When men like Walcott talk about "accountability", they mean accountability for others.
They don't mean that the public school system heads should be held accountable for the test score fiasco of last year when the Bloomberg education miracle was exposed as a fraud.
They don't mean that the public school heads should be held accountable for phonied up graduation rates or credit recovery programs that push students through to graduation by reading Spiderman comic books and writing book reports on the stories.
They don't mean that the public school heads should be held accountable for a school system that is infested with bedbugs or rife with PCB's and asbestos that poison the air and kill children and staff.
They don't mean that the public school heads should be held accountable for the no-bid contracts they hand out that waste billions on technology upgrades that are so inferior that it takes fifteen minutes to check your email at work and forget about running the "data systems" they want you to run - that shit crashes the system like a bad burrito from Taco Bell.
Oh, no - they mean accountability for teachers for test scores and accountability for administrators for test scores and grad rates.
Never mind that the tools we need to achieve better educational outcomes for children - safe school environments free from bedbugs and PCB's and other toxins, with smaller classes and recent educational materials outside of the McGraw-Hill testing stuff - are not available for us.
Never mind that we must battle a culture of fear every day that has us looking in the papers to see if we've been put on a list of "bad teachers" or to see if we've been laid off.
Never mind that the country is in the middle of a recession that is making life difficult for those of us who do not attend Bloomberg/Black soirees.
Never mind all those things, Walcott is going to hold us accountable.
Well, you know what, Dennis?
Johnny Cash has the same message for you that he's had for Joel Klein, Cathie Black and the Mayor of Money himself:
I got your accountability right here, Chancellor Walcott.