UFT President Michael Mulgrew likes to tell union delegates that it’s either money or class size, not both… But neither?
As a rotating ATR, I have seen enough failure in schools that I have traveled to each week. It is a shame, a shame to see how administrators dump kids into classrooms on a wholesale basis because they don’t want to hire a special ed teacher, or teachers, or social workers, or psychologists, or ESL teachers, or ELL teachers.
This educational malfeasance causes schools to fail, and those that are failing, closing or phasing out, result in mass teacher turnover and students dropping out in large measure.
I was force hired to a horrible school last year. I had five classes. Of the five classes, four had 9 special needs students, and the rest of my class was mixed with ELLs, former ELLs, and ESLs. I would suspect that there were also students who needed to be evaluated.
My fifth class was 99% ELLs.
I was not given a curriculum. I was told to create one, and a curriculum map, and I was to have a four page lesson plan each day. Yes. It was insane. I had over there dozen IEPs to read, and could not get it done, because of the way my schedule was set up.
Students were lost. They could not read, write. Often, 95% had no school school supplies. There were no books to create lessons from, nor were there materials that I could use to supplement their learning.
The students had not had a teacher in many months and had one ATR after another. The principal was not using any of his money wisely. In addition, there were not safety procedures in place because, I assume, he wanted to save money. This led to mass assaults on teachers, students fighting everyday, and Chancellor’s regs were ignored.
It was bedlam at this school. I filed a complaint with his immediate supervisor, and then with the Special Investigations Unit of the DOE. There is a case open. Yet, nothing has been done to fire him, and replace him with a leader with great skills in turning the school around, at least until it is finally phased out in 2015.
I met a new teacher, at a school I traveled to one week, I told her my story. She was horrified. She told me that this principal was now opening up his own school. He asked her if she wanted to work for him in his new school. She ignored him and moved on. Now, after talking to me, she is happy that she did not fall for his BS, and chose another school.
This cannot be made up. Not at all! This should not be allowed to stand, but unfortunately, the new Mayor and Chancellor are not doing anything to investigate failing schools, closing schools, and phase out schools. The vast majority of principals in these schools are mismanaging, and don’t care because they know they are getting another job.
In the next few weeks, I will be writing a letter to the Mayor and the Chancellor asking them to investigate these principals who put their students and teachers last. They mismanage the money, and put it in the hands of friends and family, nepotism is rampant.
These principals have little classroom experience, and should not be given a budget that they continue to mismanage each and every year.
Please tell Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Farina, to look into those failing schools, the closing schools and the phase out schools. Tell them to look at the students, the teachers, see how the administrators are running these schools, see where the money is going. What credentials do these administrators have? Do the administrator have classroom experience? if so, how long? What have they done to educate and support teachers and students? What steps have they taken to get parents into the building to see what is going on? Where is their safety plan? Is it working? What is the teacher turn over rate? What is their drop out rate? Do they have a special Ed department? if so, how are they meeting the needs of the special ed students? What plan is in place to address the needs of ELLs, former ELLs and ESLs?
I wonder if the Mayor and the Chancellor have the courage to take these basic steps. If they fail to address these issues, they are as negligent as the administration of Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein.
My wish is that our current Mayor and Chancellor form a task force of traveling ATRs who have seen educational malfeasance in the flesh, who have experienced the unsafe working and learning conditions, who have seen the failures in these schools, who know what a quality public school looks like. It is our eyes that will help root out these poor performing administrators, and bring life back into these programs, and to help make sure that students graduate, and graduate so that they can make the transition to life outside of school: working, college, job training programs, or if they wish, the military.
We owe it to our students and our teachers to make learning a magnificent experience. Students and teachers should want to go into the school building together to learn and thrive together, and to embark upon a journey that leads to growing a public education system that treats all teachers and students with dignity and respect.
Where are your solutions MORE? or is MORE really less? Grow up and stop complaining!
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