The Tea Party Mayor: A Failed Ideology Drives Policy as the Educators Struggle to Make a Better, More Effective School System.

The Mayor and his Tea Party ideologues at the department are steadfastly driving a policy that is destructive to the very students they claim to represent.

What began as differences between parents, teachers and their union and the so-called education reformers has morphed into a battle in which children are the trampled grass.

A judge denies a temporary restraining order, agrees that the law suit may have
merit, and allows charter school co-locations and school closings to go

The Tweedies have a party!

The percent of probationary teachers denied tenure decreases from 3.3% to 2.7% and the percent of teachers with probation extended increases from 9% to 38%.

Two sets of possible headlines.

“Fewer Probationary Teachers Fired.”

The Mayor announced today that fewer probationary teachers were
discharged in 2011 than in 20010. “The principals and teacher mentors have
done an outstanding job in building a superior teaching force. We are confident
that the teachers whose probation was extended will work hard and achieve
tenure next year.

Instead the Mayor decided to follow a conformational course,

“Sharp Increases in Teachers Denied Tenure.”

“Tenure ought to be reserved for only the best teachers, and unfortunately, as we all know, for far too long it has been awarded primarily on the basis on longevity, not performance,” Bloomberg said today.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said today that he expects the number of tenure denials to rise next year.

Not surprisingly, reports Gotham Schools,
UFT President Mulgrew replies angrily and aggressively,

Far from living up to its promise, the city’s tenure reform in fact amounts to a quota system for teacher evaluations, UFT President Michael Mulgrew said today.

Mulgrew was responding to comments made by Mayor Bloomberg and Schools
Chancellor Dennis Walcott
 during Bloomberg’s weekly radio address this morning. They said they expect the number of tenure denials to rise next year.

“If it’s more about setting up a set of numbers for political reasons … then what
they’re doing is wrong,” Mulgrew said. “If they’re already predetermining
they’re setting this up with quotas, that’s absurd.”

The number of teachers who receive poor ratings could change when an evaluation system mandated under state law goes into effect. That is supposed to happen in September, but first the union and the city must agree on the system’s terms.

Mulgrew said they are nowhere near an agreement, even after reaching a deal for 33 low-performing schools two weeks ago. In fact, he said, he still has not had any discussions with city officials about a systemwide evaluation

And he said Bloomberg’s and Walcott’s comments today make him less amenable to entering negotiations.

“I’m not going to work with them if they’re doing it as a gotcha system,” he said.

Bloomberg continues his unrelenting attack on tenure, ignoring that states without tenure laws not only do not outperform states with tenure, the most unionized state, Massachusetts, is the highest achieving state.

On “the education side of Tweed,” the educators keep a low profile, after all they have to run the school system. The two major initiatives are creeping in under the radar, so far under the radar that the message has not reached teachers and hasn’t impacted most principals.

An April 28th letter from deputy chancellor Suransky laid out the plans for the 11-12 school year. The major “new things” are moving toward implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Charlotte Danielson Frameworks for Teaching teacher evaluation tool.

The 1650 school principals in the current management structure are quasi independent, as long as their Progress Report grades are an “A” or a “B”
teachers can “stand on their head and spit wooden nickels”. Since the
state assessments do not reflect the CCSS principals are wary – will
encouraging implementation of the new standards impact positively or negatively on student test scores?

The Danielson frameworks are only one of a number of teacher evaluation systems approved by the state. In fact, one of the approved models was crafted by NYSUT, the state teachers union. The final plan has to be negotiated with the union and the Danielson frameworks may not end up as the tool selected by the department and the union.

Walcott, Klein with a smiling face, drives the discredited Bloomberg side of Tweed, his troops hailing “victories” with parties, nasty press releases and
snide attacks on Mulgrew and the union while on the education side the deputy
chancellor tries to move the million student system in another direction. a
direction that reflects the philosophy of the national union, the American
Federation of Teachers (AFT). The AFT supports CCSS and a multiple measure
teacher evaluation system. One might expect the mayor, the chancellor and the
union president to work together to move the leviathan forward. Instead the
mayor has chosen become a Tea Party mayor, obstructing and tying himself to
policies that make no sense and are inimical to moving the system forward.

Mayor Bloomberg meet Michelle Bachman and Eric Cantor.


7 responses to “The Tea Party Mayor: A Failed Ideology Drives Policy as the Educators Struggle to Make a Better, More Effective School System.

  1. Eric Nadelstern

    The educators have to function under the radar because they’re busy testing two discredited initiatives. The first will prove, once again, that the central office is the one partv of a school system incapable of innovation. The second persists with ignoring that once teachers close the door to thei classrooms, the last thing on their minds is Danielson.


  2. Olivia Koppell

    The only thinkg more disheartening is the news from DC!!!!! But you are right about the commom thread – the Mayor’s style fits right in with the Tea Party.


  3. The mayor has made his intentions abundantly clear ; he is out to kill the union by undermining whatever collateral authority it still has by filling our schools with teachers who have little or no connection or affiliation to our union. Given his proclivity for power and control, why would any one of us even suggest that, ” One might expect” him to work together with us in our efforts to transform our schools to meet the demands and challenges of the 21st century.
    The Mayor , Klein, Murdoch and others live in a world build upon Machiavellian theory and The philosophies of Ayn Rand. Its not that they don’t care about “us”or what we have to tell them about ourselves and the work we do and the lives we live. Its that, only they know what is best for us and anytime we propose the possibility that an alternative point of view exists, they have and will continue to react defensively by resorting to hostile and aggressive measure such as; imposing untried and repressive evaluation systems on us , denouncing while misrepresenting our legal right to tenure and so forth to force their will upon us.


  4. Jackie Foil Retired

    It certainly makes the struggles we had in the beginning pale by comparison.


    • Norm Petterson

      Ah Jackie…Id happily spend my weekends marching to Washington rather than dealing with a C.F.N., or live a day as an ATR. I miss the days when the people had the power to change things. Where did our voice go?


  5. Nancy S. Dunetz

    I’m convinced that the so-called school reform efforts are designed to destroy public education, and to prevent the needy from climbing the social and educational ladder.
    The scapegoats have always been those who enrich our “American” culture the most: Jews, Italians, Irish, Blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, union members. And yes, don’t forget the “trial lawyers in tasseled loafers” who were so reviled by George Bush the elder. It seems that every era creates new scapegoats.
    The next scapegoat should deservedly be Congress. They pretend to counsel the various factions in Iraq to work collaboratively, but can’t seem to manage it themselves. What kind of role models are they?
    And lastly in this rant, what is this farce about entitlements? I have paid into Social Security since I was 17 years old, and Medicare since its inception. I certainly AM entitled to that in which I have invested.


  6. No system is perfect. NOT ONE. However, nothing is as bad as the present one, where students – our children – are subjected to, day after day, year after year, the too frequent arrogant apathy of a work force that has virtual life-time job security, In most industries 20% of the work force becomes replaced as management seeks to improve efficiency.I would think the management of the work force of the education industry – the industry that prepares our children to survive in life – should have at least an equal chance at achieving efficiency.


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