Thursday, January 4, 2018

Why It Matters to Come to the Important Jan. 5 Meeting to Plan for a Pushback Against DeBlasio's Closure or Merging of 14 Renewal Schools

Come to the planning meeting of January 5, tomorrow at the City as School, 16 Clarkson Street in Greenwich Village, 4:30 to 6:30 pm with activists from the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) caucus of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).

This meeting is for planning how to respond to Bill De Blasio's plan to close many Renewal Schools. It is essential to prepare for the February 28 Panel for Educational Policy meeting at M.S. 131, at 100 Hester Street. As veterans and close observers of the New York City Department of Education under Bloomberg and DeBlasio know, teachers have been blamed as the sole factor for student performance, and a result, the city has pursued several flawed policies. It has broken comprehensive schools into several smaller schools in the same building and it has pressured teachers into leaving the system early.
Difference only in name; same flawed anti-teacher, anti-student policies

Here is how the latter pattern works: the DOE forces teachers to reapply for their jobs. This is disingenuous, as the experienced teachers draw higher salaries. Under "Fair Student Funding" schools have limited budgets for staffing and principals have strong incentives to hire less experienced teachers at lower salaries. Teachers lucky enough to find positions find themselves working in schools in which far fewer teachers have the institutional memory of how schools worked well in the past; they also have a fewer teachers with a memory of how teachers were treated with professional respect in the past. Most teachers from these broken up schools will go into the Absent Teacher Reserve pool, and will rotate between schools, sometimes working as substitutes, sometimes working as teachers with regular programs. All told, this demoralizes teachers. Hundreds of teachers from these schools will become ATRs.

The union, the United Federation of Teachers? They will calmly parrot the DOE line that teachers need to polish their resume if they want a regularly assigned position.

Experts know better. As Alan Singer, an education professor from Hofstra University and director of there recently wrote, De Blasio's school closing policy is a failed policy that does not consider the impact of social inequalities..

Additionally, as Singer noted, the record has demonstrated that the school closing policy does not produce the desired results. Lastly, as the Chaz School Daze blog has cited, the schools under De Blasio and Bloomberg just show improvement under fraudulent pretenses. Teachers are pressed to pass everyone. And the result is that students are quite ill-prepared for college or careers.