Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why Weren't Walcott And The DOE Working On Getting Damaged Schools Fixed?

As many of you teachers and school staff know, Chancellor Walcott and his NYCDOE minions spent an awful lot of time, effort and energy putting together a Superstorm Sandy PD Day By Candlelight extravaganza for last Friday.

This work order came despite the fact that much of mass transit around the area was still crippled from the storm - no subways from Brooklyn to Manhattan, limited LIRR and Metro North, few NJ Transit trains after generators failed on some lines, no PATH service and gas lines so long it looked like the 70's all over again.

The rationale the DOE gave for the workday to get teachers and school staff into schools was they needed to "prepare" their classrooms, although teachers are never asked to come back on the Friday of a Winter Break or February Break or Spring Break to "prepare" their classrooms, so this rationale made little sense.

While it may seem like we've been away longer than that, schools have actually only been closed for five school days - a length in keeping with break periods during the year.

Plus many schools were damaged by the storm and many others were still lacking power, so the DOE had to scramble to find alternate sites for the Superstorm Sandy PD Day By Candlelight extravaganza on Friday.

The process must have been problematic because notice for teachers affected by changes didn't come out until near midnight Friday morning.

Many teachers and administrators took the day off anyway either because they couldn't get into school or because they knew there would be no computer facilities at the schools they were being sent to that they could work on and they knew they would get more work done at home.

So Bloomberg and Walcott had the DOE spend all this time, energy and effort on a task that was unproductive at best, stupid at worst.

Meanwhile the Daily News reports that many schools were so badly damaged that they may not be able to open for the rest of the school year:

Classes are canceled Monday for more than 100,000 city schoolkids, as officials scramble to find enough vacant classrooms to soak up students from 65 public schools doused by the superstorm.

More than 30,000 of those kids won’t have school until at least Wednesday. Adding to the misery, as many as 45 of the damaged schools may be closed through the end of the school year, a union official said.

Mayor Bloomberg Saturday abandoned city’s plan to house storm victims alongside students at city schools, but said that eight schools would be closed entirely to students in order to house residents made homeless by Sandy.

In a Friday night emergency address, Bloomberg said it was “terribly important” to resume classes after a week with no school. He even promised a “seat for every child” displaced by the storm — but he didn’t set a deadline.

“It’s not an optimal situation,” said Bloomberg. “We don’t have that kind of vacant schools.”

Meanwhile, officials told students from 57 “severely damaged” schools to report for class at the usual time Wednesday morning, but at temporary locations in other school buildings. The arrangement will continue until the battered schools are safe for occupancy, said Department of Education spokeswoman Erin Hughes.

“We’ve had facilities people in the field day and night, finding solutions,” said Hughes.

Education officials are working with bus companies to provide transportation for students, and will have updates for affected families on Monday or Tuesday.

Many closed schools are in low-lying neighborhoods in lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Schools in Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island and the Rockaways were particularly hard hit.

Education officials wouldn’t say when the schools ripped by Sandy would reopen, but teachers union President Michael Mulgrew said “at least 45” would remain closed through the end of the school year — in June 2013.

Not saying they could have solved this problem on Friday, but do you think the DOE could have better spent it's resources and people than having them work frantically to put together a PD day for Friday?

A commenter on the Daily News story asks the following:

 Shouldn't Walcott and the rest of Bloomberg's people have been working on this problem all week instead of standing behind Bloomberg at interminable news conferences doing nothing?

Gee, that's a good point.

Couldn't Walcott have been doing something more productive than working on the idiotic PD Day By Candlelight and making twice daily appearances by Bloomberg's side for his pressers?

Just another example of the screwed-up priorities of this administration and the people in it.

So much damage, yet rather than mitigate that damage, Bloomberg and Walcott  either ignore it or make it worse.


  1. Mismanagement by an unqualified Chancellor.

  2. And mismanagement by an arrogant ego maniac in City Hall.

  3. Good point about Walcott and the press conferences. A footnote: I'm an ATR and they changed my assignment a little before 10 this morning (Sunday). Neither of the schools was in a danger zone, to the best of my knowledge--so I don't thing that could have been a factor. If this is part of widespread, last-minutes assignment changes, those teachers who have had to make special arrangements to get access to a computer, etc., won't get the word.

    1. And of course they'll happily ding any ATR who didn't get the word about the change of assignment who shows up to the wrong place for a sick day.

      If these fuckers were half as good at handling crises as they are fucking with people, we could all rest easy at night.

      But they're not - the only thing, seemingly, that they're good at is fucking with people.