Sunday, December 21, 2014

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The Call Blog: Amid Education Protests, School Chancellor Search Continues

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The teachers union was out in full force tonight. We even got a tweet from Randi Weingarten. Will that show of support make a difference in Albany? Will it influence Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's selection for schools chancellor? I guess we'll find out one way or the other soon enough.

Teachers in New York City wore blue today as part of a "Day of Action" taking place in two dozen states. At a rally outside City Hall, educators were joined by parents and students to call for more funding for public schools. In addition, organizers criticized State education leaders for "rushed implementation of new standards and evaluations" and for having "an obsession with testing."

Also today, the Council voted to send a resolution to Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature calling on Albany to re-examine school accountability systems that rely heavily on standardized testing. Meanwhile, the search for the next schools chancellor continues. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is reportedly considering two former local superintendents, along with leaders from Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

Who do you want to see become the next schools chancellor? What should the priorities be for the new leader of the public school system? Do you support the protests today to call for more funding for the classroom? Would you change the current emphasis on standardized testing?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

I heartily applaud the City Council's resolution and agree that evaluating based on new standards was rushed - it came well before a curriculum was even in place! As to more funding for classrooms -YES! Take it away from the bloated spending on consultants and standardized testing. (Regarding one element of school funding - Contracts for Excellence - it should be noted that spending earmarked to 'reduce class size' is often spent by schools to add an extra teacher to an over-full class...this is NOT a reduction in class size should be fixed.) Slam the breaks on charters and co-location until existing neighborhood schools have all the support, staff, materials and services they need.



I'm for Michelle Rhee for School Chancellor. And for ridding the school system of the pestilence of unions.

Port Richmond, SI

The new chancellor should end over-testing of students, and the closing of schools which comes with the overemphasize on test scores, instead of what students and teachers learn collectively in the classroom about community and the world.

Bay Ridge


My guess, based on Deblasio's appointments so far , the next schools chancellor will be someone who is unqualified and requires a waiver. December 9 and he doesn't know who is going to be chancellor. Give me a break...

When we were kids, we had standardized testing that we didn't realize was standardized; they just sprung it on us once a year and we all filled in the circles. That is the way to teach children...don't freak them out about testing.

I thank NY! for continuing to publish Cathie Blacks ridiculous emails!! They give me a good laugh.

midtown east


I want to see someone who doesn't put testing FIRST!!!!
I want to see someone who takes "how" children learn the right way!
I want to see someone who values TEACHER'S OPINIONS!


Hi John,

It still seems to me as though this DeBlasio is ill-prepared to get his act together. He needs to stop asking others and at the same time trying to please them about what route he’s going to take to run this city. Looks as though to me the question of the standardized testing has come up once again. Why was this not brought up to Albany when Bloomberg was mayor. They all had just about 12 years ? As far as the money goes there is more than enough but as we all know they continue to rob Peter to pay Paul. [ AND SO ONCE AGAIN I ASK=WHERE IS ALL THE LOTTO MONEY? ] I believe the one that was chancellor in Washing, D.C. at one time = Michele D. Rhee has quite a good reputation and seems to me that in all of her interviews she has a hands on approach to this difficult job. But she has been very successful at it.

Thank you John,

I think that the next NYC Chancellor should rethink the new common core requirements. As a mom to a 7, 5 and 3 year old, I think the new requirements for my Kindergartener are outrageous. I hope the new Chancellor changes the core curriculum back to normal standards for my children.

Thank you
Ann from Staten Island

We need a chancellor that cares about the kids not policies that are bureaucratic. standardized tests should be given in different languages because all kids can't speak english and it's hard for them to pass we need more bilingual classes and more teachers that are bilinual and want to see the kids achieve their goals. I think someone like Richie Ratvich should be our next school's chancellor because he knew what he was doing

upper west side



Regardless of who the Chancellor is; the Mayor needs to take an axe to Tweed to free schools from the do nothing "experts" and put the resources into reducing class size!

Inwood, NY

As a veteran of 30 years as an educator in our city schools, the last 8 as a Math coach in a K -8 school in Long Island City, I feel that we need an experienced educator who will build a team composed of experts in all of the other areas that are vital to the healthy functioning and thriving of public schools in our city. Much damage has been done with the roll out of common core and so much money wasted tied to the mania of standardized testing. It all sounds like Orwellian doublespeak!

Kenn from Bayside.

Carmen Farina has quite an impressive resume and career, :) many accomplishments within the school system, I would support her 100 %

Carmen, Bay Ridge

The common denominator to turning around schools has proven to be teamwork. Programs, curriculums, standards, money, text books, computers, etc. do NOT produce successful schools. Naming schools after different famous people does NOT create great schools. TEAMWORK is the intangible common denominator for improving student performance. Teamwork between parents, teachers, unions, and management will produce great, lasting gains.

I taught a course called Turning Around High Poverty Low Performing Schools and was a teacher, administrator, test coordinator, staff developer, adjunct professor and school improvement specialist. Case studies of schools that have turned themselves around have proven over and over that the common denominator was TEAMWORK. Special interest groups, unions, etc. need to put their egos aside and have one goal in mind: TEAMWORK FOR ALL CHILDREN. WHAT WE CAN'T DO ALONE WE CAN DO TOGETHER.


I have grandchildren in public school. Would very much like to see someone like Ms. Adelaide Sanford, she was former vice chair of reagents and a former public school teacher. She knows the needs of our children and has a sincere and genuine concern about their well being.


I nominate Ken Mitchell, Supt. of the South Orangetown Schools. He was just elected head of "The Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents—an increasingly forceful voice for public education in NYS.... The Council includes about 80 school chiefs from Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess counties."

Mitchell wrote a great report detailing the true costs of Race to the Top mandates. In 2009 he even wrestled a gun-wielding middle school parent to the floor until police arrived.

Morningside Hts.

Why is everyone so concerned about getting rid of bad teachers- while we never hear about getting rid of bad cops or fireman? Probably because they have tougher unions. The fact is that principals have always had the power to get rid of a teacher during the 3 year tenure process.

Chris from Brooklyn

The idea of having a single NYC school's chancellor is outdated. Instead, a five person, five borough team of educational navigators need to oversee the quality of schools in each borough, and report back to the Mayor. This city has gotten too large for this job to be assigned to one person. Where standardized testing is concerned, it is a speed bump of politics and division, not a progressive solution for children in school for 2014, and beyond.

Michael in Woodside

I'd like to see Diane Ravitch!! She knows the school system in and out! Diane has researched schools around the country, as well as knowing the benefits to testing and non testing. Plus she had an educational background, and debunks the myth of charter over public schools for a better education.

Im Tired of politicians running the school system, when most of them only look at numbers and have never been in the classroom!!!

Ashanti - Harlem

Education suffers in this country from a low bar... not standardized testing or lack of money. Testing is a clear, scientific way to judge what a person has learned on a subject. And wasn't that once the point? Amassing knowledge? As for money, America spends a huge amount of money on education, both in total and per capita. The answer does not lie in spending more.

Our kids need a safe environment with small classrooms and parents who support the hard line taken by real educators: "learn these things within a set amount of time". That's real life and that's exactly what our kids need. Kids who make it hard for other kids to learn need to be removed. Parents who impede the process by insisting that their children are special and need unique methods need to be ignored.

In closing, why do we keep turning up the volume on the rally call to find new and progressive ways to educate our children - simultaneously dismissing the ways of the past - while year after year we watch our children become less and less educated?

Jason in Manhattan

The problem is that the people on top are making decisions about education that they have no clue about. They are disconnected with the classroom and the reality of where these students are academically. Teaching isn't fun anymore its stressful and draining and demoralizing.


All this talk about changes in the public school, but New York City really needs to become concerned about the New York City Department of Correction. Since under the incompetent watch of Commissioner Dora Schriro, her administrative staff idly does nothing while their male & female staff are brutally assaulted by these criminals, and only appear to take action when a staff member defends themselves from physical harm, and that is when they hold him/her up to rediculous scrutiny, so they can determine whether he should be criminally indicted, or departmentally charged. If something is something is not done soon New York City will end up paying the dangerous price.

Charles M.

The thing is to get right education in this country you have to pay, pay a lot of money. In public schools unfortunately teachers to get paid enough. Teacher is one of the toughest jobs to handle not only here, but world wide. Education is the future of our children. This question should be taken a very close look at.


Dr. Sandra Kase for Chancellor


The lady named Mary Ann who called in mentioned that Finland has a good education system. Finland emerses immigrants to their country in the Finish language before admitting them into the 8-12 school system.

Our immigrants are thrown into classes with English speaking teachers that they can't understand in the first place. So, how can we expect them to pass tests that are also in English. The ESL classes are not enough.

We should adopt the program that Finland uses.

Cathy (Bay Ridge, Brooklyn)

Diane Ravitch for next Chancellor would be great choice because she is at the top of her game and knows what it takes to produce a good student. However, today too much responsibility is placed on teachers who see a student 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Nothing replaces family values and parenting input in taking responsibility their children's attitude toward learning. Teachers only see your child about 3 or 4 hours a week, parents need to step up to the plate. And we need to place responsibility daycare with the families, not me the taxpayer I found a daycare center at Brandies 10 years ago, and wondered is that where my tax dollars is also going? Smaller classrooms with maximum of 30 should be the standard, studies have shown, students do better in smaller classrooms.

Thank you,
West Side

Everyone thinks that school chancellor should override Mayor Bloomberg decisions, but the chancellor is just Bloomberg puppet, the representative behind Bloomberg are just their for a wast of time because they do nothings to fight for the Community.

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