If "it's really about the kids," Mr. DeBlasio will do nothing less than the following:
1. Appoint an educator who has valid school district administrator credentials, no more emergency waivers from the state. We have not had a qualified educational leader since Dr. Rudy Crew in the 1990s. We don't put "managers" with little or no law enforcement experience in charge of the NYPD. Why do we do this with education?
2. Appoint a chancellor who has a vision and a strategy of supporting ALL schools, not just the ones cited in this editorial.
3. Stop the practice of co-locations. It doesn't work. Every school should have its own space and not have to compete with scarce resources within a building. Those that are already co-located must all pay their fair share of maintaining the building. In most US cities, charters must be able to support themselves out of their own budgets. NYC public schools all have to pay for building upkeep out of their budgets. Why are charters given a free pass?
4. Teacher retention. Any profession that loses half of its workers within a few years of hiring is in trouble. It takes at least 5 years before a teacher becomes proficient in his/her practice. We lose 50% of each cohort we recruit by the time they learn the craft and then spend millions to recruit more folks who will leave the system in droves yet again. Moreover, schools having to pay actual salaries out of their shrinking budgets discourages the hiring of experienced personnel. Why hire a veteran when you can get two rookies for the same price? This madness has to stop if "it's about the kids."
5. Curriculum and training. This has been absolutely horrible over the last 12 years. There are very few content specialists in the DOE. Everything now is about accountability and testing. There is very little invested in teachers being trained in their respective content. We need scholars in math, science, history, English, foreign language, physical education, music, art, etc. Teachers must be experts in their respective fields. Pedagogy is very important, but you must know what to teach, not just how to teach. The new chancellor must appoint content experts in every field to supervise what is taught is research driven, cutting-edge, and least of all, correct.
6. Waste. No more no-bid contracts; the city comptroller can't even keep with the hundreds of dollars being wasted. Moreover, we have enough talent in-house to get the job done. ARIS, the $80 million data base is now being scrapped. SESIS has also been an expensive boondoggle The privately run "Networks" that replace the authority of the superintendents should also be scrapped. Why are we paying private organizations to manage schools while we also pay the superintendents of the 32 NYC school districts? NYC still has not filed the paperwork to recover billions from Medicaid reimbursements. The list goes on and on!
The next chancellor has a daunting task of repairing substantial damage done to public education with regards to instruction, morale, equity, and finances. Opening up more charter schools (and enriching operators like Eva Moskowitz) should be at the very bottom of his/her priorities!
Sunday, December 8, 2013
A Response To The Daily News Corporate Education Reform Editorial
A commenter responds to the DN neo-liberals shilling for corporate education reform and calling for a pro-charter chancellor: