New York City’s efforts to fire what it calls the “heroin teacher” received a setback this week that has Mayor Michael Bloomberg fuming.
This week’s “Most Insensitive Reaction to a Serious Accident” award goes to the New York City Department of Education.
Last week, five Queens students were mowed down by a car while walking to school, leaving three with broken bones.
The driver, Francis-Aung Lu, was apparently parking when he accidentally hit the accelerator instead of Read More
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott recently announced that the Department of Education is going to get tougher with teachers and other school employees who are accused of sexual misconduct.
That’s welcome news. But what’s shocking is that Mr. Walcott had to issue this crackdown at all. It turns out that school employees have been able to avoid discipline even when they’ve been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. That’s horrifying. And it speaks to the larger issue of school reform—it simply is not easy to rid the union-protected school work force of people who shouldn’t be in a classroom or anywhere near children.
There’s a lot of internal turmoil in New York City schools, ranging from budget cuts to Race to the Top to that perennial nightmare—will my kid get into the right private school? The issues are deep rooted, but are put into perspective when a greater root of the problems are unearthed: Where’s the space?
A week after Governor Cuomo and the teachers union agreed on a new, more robust system to evaluate public school teachers, the city released data reports measuring the performance of about 18,000 of the city’s 75,000 public school teachers. Advocates of educational accountability have good reason to cheer.
The battle to make the teacher ratings public was long and difficult, thanks to the predictable efforts of the United Federation of Teachers, which devoted a portion of its vast resources and energy to keeping the ratings away from the prying eyes of parents and taxpayers. The UFT was not particularly gracious in defeat—it never is. Union head Michael Mulgrew said the city’s Department of Education should “be ashamed of itself.” Shame, it should be noted, is not a characteristic we associate with the UFT.
The ratings are not perfect.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says that if the teachers union continues to obstruct the implementation of a new, robust evaluation system for teachers and principals by Thursday, he’ll act on his own and impose a system. That’s precisely what he ought to do.
The showdown still was underway at press time, but regardless of whether or not the governor and the union reach an agreement, a larger point remains: Once again, the teachers union, emboldened by its allies in the Democratic-controlled State Assembly, has resisted efforts to bring accountability into the classroom.
Unlike his fellow Democrats in the Assembly, Mr. Cuomo has shown that he understands the reactionary role the teachers union continues to play against the effort to bring much-needed reform to poor-performing school districts. Mr. Cuomo is acting on behalf of poorly served students and their parents. The union, of course, is simply trying to protect incompetent teachers.
Sometimes the best advocates for school reform are certain principals, teachers and administrators in traditional public schools. Through their incompetence and apathy, they make the case for charter schools and other innovations better than reformers can.
Art World News
“I guess they focus on a particular kind of art here,” drawled Emily Germain dryly, as she sauntered into Soho’s Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation on 26 Wooster Street on a wet Saturday. Ms. Germain, a petit and unfazeable 27-year-old, is finishing up her masters in social work at N.Y.U. and dropped into the gallery on Read More
While strange things have been known to happen in New York politics, one thing seems absolutely certain: The Dennis Walcott era at the Department of Education will be longer and better than the Cathie Black era.
Of course, that’s not saying much. Ms. Black managed to make a terrible mess of things in a short Read More
Cathleen Black’s appointment as Schools Chancellor was only announced yesterday, but already she’s making some big changes, at least if this memo recently obtained by The Observer is any indication.
From: Cathleen Black
Re: The New Schools for Spring 2011
To set the tone of the new administration and make things fresh, Read More