Two hundred or so years ago the height of modern medicine was the “bleeding” of the fevered and the ill. An incision was made and heated suction cups were attached to the body, the letting of blood allowed the “harmful vapors” escape the body.
Today it is the Chancellor who is the scarificator, making the incision into the flesh of the children in our school system.
Last week Joel Klein and Katherine Grimm were battered for three hours by the City Council as they tried to explain a budget cut of 5%, and perhaps 8%.
Department officials said this week that they were considering reducing several of their new school accountability programs. They are weighing whether to allow the highest performing schools to be excused from annual quality reviews by consultants or parent and teacher evaluation surveys. They are also considering changing the way schools choose and pay for support services like teacher training. The officials said they did not plan to scale back annual report cards on schools.
There are many hundreds, perhaps as many as a thousand teachers who are sitting in Reassignment Centers, aka “rubber rooms,” and serving as Absent Reserve Teachers, (ATRs) working as occasional substitutes because the Department refuses to place them in a permanent position.Tens of millions of dollars being wasted: Idealogy trumping reality.
How about the $80 million ARIS “data warehouse,” that is increasingly looking like a huge disaster. And, how much money is being spent on those Learning Support Organizations? Why not ask schools … do you want to retain ARIS, Support Organizations, or, have the dollars come out of your school budget?
What would an 8% cut look like?
Let’s look at a school, maybe your school …
Go to the Department web site and type in your school (district, example 08 for District 8, letter denoting boro, example X for Bronx followed by the school number) in the “Find a School” space.
Click on the number/name of the school on the left side of the page.
Click on “Statistics” on the left hand column.
Scroll down and click on “Budget Summary.”
You have the up-to-date school budget – the budget system is called Galaxy.
At the bottom of the pages is the total school budget – calculate a cut of 8%. On the right hand side of each page you will find the “average teacher salary” for your school.
MS 201, in District 8 is a newly identified SURR school, in fact, in the bottom one percent on the 07 State ELA exam. An 8% cut in MS 201 budget would be $358,584, a loss of 5.8 teaching positions.
Who do you excess? The only guidance counselor …? and leave 70 kids with mandated counseling needs unserved. The dean …? who would deal with the 150 “incidents” already reported this year? the Math Coach? the ELA Coach? or, maybe, just jack up class size 6-8 kids in every class?
The last place to cut must be the classroom …
The Chancellor should have been standing on the podium with Randi Weingarten and the parent leaders at the March 19th rally. He should be in the forefront, not making excuses and defending his castle.
A fatal flaw of mayoral control is a chancellor and a school board totally in the thrall of the mayor. The City may very well be facing dire fiscal circumstances, however, the decision where and how to trim city services must be a transparent process with the lead educator fighting for children, not making excuses, and leading the bloodletting.