Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bloomberg Wants To Close "A" and "B" Rated Schools

From the NY Post:

Seven of the 33 schools where the city is seeking to fire half the staff were rated an “A” or “B” on their latest city-issued report cards, a review by The Post found.

That means roughly 260 teachers are slated to be cleared out from schools that were celebrated just last fall for making significant gains.

The mayor plans to close and reopen the schools this summer.

Although the city’s grading system rewards progress more than performance — meaning highly rated schools aren’t necessarily above average — no “A” or “B” school has ever been shuttered.

“When you decided that you would close a school that got an ‘A’ on your own bloody school progress reports . . . you lost all legitimacy in the eyes of the people of New York,” a fiery Leo Casey, vice president of the United Federation of Teachers, testified at last week’s Panel for Educational Policy meeting in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn.


Last week, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the 33 schools would be shifted to a federal program that’s never been tried in the city — one that doesn’t require a teacher-evaluation agreement but mandates the staff replacements.

The move was viewed as falling somewhere between political payback against a defiant union and a necessary purge of subpar educators.

A Department of Education spokesman would not explain the agency’s rationale for flagging schools it had rated highly, but noted that they had been labeled “persistently low-achieving” by the state in 2009 or 2010.

He said a more detailed explanation would soon be available in applications to the state Education Department, which administers the federal program.

Yet documents the DOE submitted in June 2010 show officials did not necessarily see poor teaching as the culprit in some of those schools.

“Global Studies is fortunate to have a staff that is committed, strong, dedicated, and hardworking,” the DOE gushed over the Brooklyn School for Global Studies in Cobble Hill, which catapulted from an “F” grade in 2010 to a “B” in 2011.

When even the teacher-bashing New York Post publishes a report saying Bloomberg is closing schools not because they are full of "sub-par teachers" but simply to close them, that in fact the DOE's own progress report for one school bragged that the students are fortunate to have teachers so "committed, strong, dedicated, and hardworking," you know there is a problem in the school closure process.

In fact, one might say that the NYCDOE is suffering a "crisis in accountability" in how they are going about all these school shutterings.

Nonetheless, the Panel for Educational Policy is loaded with Bloomberg shills and you can bet that if Bloomberg wants 58 schools closed, 58 schools will be closed.

And the mostly compliant corporate media will cheer lead these closings, publishing the mayor's propaganda about "bad teachers" wrecking the system.

The governor, who never lets the facts get in the way of a good TV moment, will thunder how teachers think they are above accountability, but he's going to show them they are WRONG.

And the NYSED and the USDOE, filled to the gills with Gates Foundation appointees whose primary purpose in life is to get teachers fired, bust teachers unions, change teacher compensation to base + bonus, and send teachers pensions the way of the horse and buggy will rubber stamp whatever Bloomberg wants.

The fix is in, folks, and the teachers unions, supposedly so powerful, are meekly letting all of this happen, sending out leaders who are unwilling, unable or too inarticulate to fight the p.r. battle that is needed at the very time the union is facing a threat to its very survival.

This is the END GAME.

If Bloomberg gets away with closing "A" and "B" rated schools that his DOE raved over in last year's progress reports, then ANY school can be closed.

If they want your building, if they decide they don't like the principal, if one of the teachers speaks out on NY 1 and calls them on their horseshit, if Eva likes your assistant principal's corner office - watch out, your school might be next on the list to be closed.

This insanity needs to stop, but the politicians - from the president on down to the governor - are all on board with this.

The media, rather than tell truth to power and actually report the reality of this simply act as stenographers for the Bloomberg and Obama administrations.

And the meme is out there - all these problems in education, indeed in the country at large, stem from "bad teachers" and "powerful teachers unions."

Something needs to give.

I wish that my union, the United Federation of Teachers, would actually fight an articulate, coordinated battle against the insanity of test-based accountability, school closures, and the charterizing of the school system.

Instead, Mulgrew says he agrees with Cuomo on policy and makes believe like Bloomberg is the only problem, and once they get rid of him all will be well again.

Instead the NYSUT and the UFT agree to allow Cuomo to break the law and base 40% of teacher evaluations on test scores.

Instead the unions let corporate shills like Nicholas Kristo blather on about "bad teachers" and the need for a strong evaluation system when the actual system the NYSED and the NYCDOE are putting into place is riddled with error and instability.

I have 102 juniors taking the ELA Regents today.

Our tutoring sessions have been down 50% over the past few years.

Students are fed up with hearing how the exams are life or death and don't seem to have the same urgency over the scores that we who work in the school do.

I have little doubt that as the state and the city add more tests to the school year in order to evaluate teachers, that student ennui over testing is only going to get worse.

And of course the politicians, the media, and the business people will continue to blame teachers for this instead of seeing the real culprit here - the insanity of the test-based accountability system and the law of diminishing returns.


  1. You are absolutely right: the endgame is to close/reorganize/turnaround/charter every school, with an unending succession of disruptive programs that distract teachers from the ultimate purpose, which is the privatization of the schools and the monetization of the kids.

    Billionaire financier Pete Peterson, who spends most of his time and energy seeking to privatize Social Security, famously said, "That which can be counted, can be managed." That's all you need to know about "data-driven" everything in the schools. They control the information, and they use the information to control everyone else.

    Just wait until the coalition of profiteers and gadget-worshipers mandates the use of I-Pads in the schools: teachers will then be attached to the same 24/7 leash that corporate workers are.


    Apple "To Digitally Destroy" the existing textbook industry.

    On the use of I-Pads, digital textbooks from Apple will accomplish that pronto. Google Apple and digital textbooks and read the articles. Apple is doing a promo this week in NYC. If you read 5 or 10 articels on this, notice the language used to describe the big corps goals. In this one Steve Jobs before his death stated that the print textbook industry is primed for "digital destruction" by his digi-text platform.

    If you read these articles this week on this one topic alone-digital texts and the use of I-pads thereof, you will also see the web of connections between all the usual suspects (Pearson, McGraw Hill, Harcourt Brace,FACEBOOK)-they are ALL working together to "destroy" the existing ed. system, and that of course includes NYC teachers and union. We are the only ones standing in their way of total "destruction." Interesting how these captains of industry use terms of war in describing their business goals. No wonder that little snot-nose Facebook CEO gave so many millions to the ed reform leaders in Newark last's just an investment in their future plans to make billions...and accomplish their hostile takeover of this business territory (Public ed.) It doesn't matter how many poor kid's lives have been disrupted by their belicose actions-they could care less...they can jet off to St.Barts any time they like...and the poor will remian poor...The are "The Masters of War"....

  3. In Queens alone, these schools are slated for closure:
    • Flushing High School
    • William Cullen Bryant High School
    • Long Island City High School
    • Newtown High School
    • Grover Cleveland High School
    • August Martin High School
    • Richmond Hill High School
    • John Adams High School

    The remaining open neighborhood comprehensive highs schools will suffer from purposely withheld resources and funds, overcrowding, and more needy students. Students deflected from the closed schools will make their way to the still-open Cardozo, Francis Lewis, Bayside, Forest Hills, and Van Buren High Schools which remain in the Bloomberg/DOE crosshairs. Anonymous 8:01, I love your comment "....They are the "Masters of War" ", referring to the Bob Dylan song. How sadly true. The wrong people are getting evaluated in this awful "education" system.