They dole out discipline to teachers and students, but city school principals rarely get a taste of their own medicine.
In the past three years, just two of 14 principals formally accused of misconduct have been fired — and not a single boss in the city’s 1,600 schools was charged with incompetence, officials told The Post.
The disciplinary deficiency raises questions when 217 elementary and middle schools received grades of F, D or consecutive C’s on the city’s latest report cards, and 31 high schools rated D or F.
“The numbers don’t add up to the Bloomberg administration’s goal to hold everybody accountable,” a veteran teacher said.
The DOE offers excuses for why principals at "failing" schools should stay in place:
“Some administrators worked at schools that weren’t doing so well, but that doesn’t mean they’re not highly effective administrators,” said Deputy Chancellor David Weiner. “It just means they’re in a school that’s struggling.”
Ah, but the DOE wants teachers in "failing" schools removed and tried to do just that with the turnaround mess last year.
And just how bad are some of the principals in this system?
Some principals stay in place despite serious problems.
Darlene Miller, chief of the NYC Museum School in Chelsea, was busted in December 2011 on DWI charges in Rockland County, when her speeding Hyundai smashed into the rear of a parked police car. She failed to report the arrest as required.
But the DOE will not discipline Miller until her criminal case is resolved, if at all. She has won delays in the DWI case, which remains open.
Anissa Chalmers of PS 32 in Morrisania, the target of staff and parent complaints, has been under DOE investigation for an undisclosed matter for more than a year. Last June, an 8-year-old pupil slashed a 9-year-old classmate’s neck with a razor at the school. Chalmers is also an actress and starred in a bloody B-flick, “Gang Girl,” as a killer thug, but did not tell the DOE about the content.
In a case of wrongdoing rewarded, Janet Saraceno, then-principal of Lehman HS in The Bronx, improperly changed student grades and gave credits to students who failed classes, a probe concluded. She quit Lehman in August 2011, but the DOE kept her on to advise principals and teachers on curriculum and other matters as an “achievement coach.”
The DOE issues some jive for why they refuse to hold these kinds of administrators accountable:
The DOE denies it lets principals slide. “There are many ways we hold principals accountable,” said spokesman David Pena. “Not only are bonuses based on their school’s progress report cards, but tenure decisions are also based on performance. We work with struggling principals, and where the problems persist many of those principals opt to resign.”
Sure they do.
We learned earlier in the article that there's nobody to go after these principals because the DOE doesn't really care to put anybody in place to monitor them:
The principals union agrees that the Department of Education fails to adequately monitor principals, who are paid up to $150,000 a year, to either help or weed out poor performers.
“They haven’t been in the schools observing,” said Robert Reich, director of grievances for the Council of Supervisors and Administrators.
The superintendents, stripped of real authority, often “rubber-stamp” decisions from above, he said. “If no one’s ever told a principal that he or she isn’t doing something right, how can you justify removing them?”
All of this expended energy and rewritten law and policy to hold "bad teachers" accountable, but the "Gang Girl" principal with numerous staff and parent complaints against her at P.S. 32 is still in place.
Just another example of how there are two standards in the system - one for administrators and Tweedies, one for everybody else.