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Obviously, I don't work in a New York City public school, nor do I have a child who attends one, but I can tell you how the 2011-2012 academic year can be summed up from the point of view of a television news producer. Here goes: The Panel for Educational Policy approved the closure of some two dozen schools; the teachers union battled over the evaluation system; several educators were arrested and accused of sexually abusing students; and a cheating scandal at Stuyvesant High School ended the year on a sour note. Oh yes, and how could I forget? There was an outlandish question on a standardized test about a talking pineapple that caused so much controversy it was removed from the test. That's pretty much it. The headline: Mayor Bloomberg Gets A Big Fat F.
Many of New York City's one million public school students finished off another academic year today. Some will be looking for summer jobs, others will be heading to summer school. While the focus should be on graduation day, much of this year was spent discussing the future of teachers.
This year, Mayor Bloomberg's Panel for Educational Policy approved the Department of Education's recommendation to close 25 schools. The buildings will open in the fall with new names and many new teachers. Educators are being asked to reapply to keep their jobs, a move labor leaders say amounts to union busting. What do you say?
What grade would you give this school year? What were the highs and lows of the 2011-2012 academic year? What changes would you make to the Department of Education? What will your child be doing this summer?
Send your thoughts using the link above.
This mayor should get himself a rubber stamp. Everything is the same and nothing changes.
Now we are dealing with yet another panel and failing schools and low graduation and rehiring of teachers that were let go and then must re-apply for their job again, the closing of schools only to open them up again as a charter school. Now we are dealing with this Eva Moskowitz. No one really knows how many she owns but yet she claims that she needs more funds in order to show a profit. My suggestion would be she is in the wrong business. Everyone that is associated with this mayor ends ups with his help I might add to use our tax money as their cash cow. Well I think maybe she is in the wrong business. If everything in front of our eyes is failing why would she even attempt to go into the charter school business.
IN ORDER TO FIX IT THEY SHOULD FIRE EVERYBODY AND START ALL OVER AGAIN.
THE SAME PEOPLE ARE STILL AROUND FOR FAR TO LONG AND BY THE WAY WHEN DOES THIS SCHUMER GET GOING WITH PAVING THE STREETS. THAT'S ONLY ONE PROJECT. MY SUGGESTION THEY SHOULD GET THE LEAD OUT AND GET GOING. ALL THE PEOPLE GATHERED LAST FOR ALL OF THESE PARTIES WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME THAT THERE WAS EVEN ONE THEIR THAT HAD US TAX PAYERS ON THEIR MIND. I DOUBT IT.
ON A SCALE OF ONE TO TEN ZERO = AND LOW PERFORMANCE.
All the yakking about schooling this past year goes to show just how incompetent government is at running schools and providing an education.
Just stop it. Get government out of schooling.
Port Richmond, SI
Mayor Bloomberg willfully does not hear parents. He ignores us; he has the Panel for Educational Policy ignore us; and he doesn't mind if SUNY and Regents ignore us, but...if somehow something we say penetrates his educratic bubble...he dismisses us as 'activists,' instead of knowledgeable, invested people who see how things work on the ground. I hate this administration's emphasis on testing, positioning of schools to compete with each other, constant union-bashing and charter facilitation. I will not vote for any mayoral candidate who will not surrender his/her majority on the PEP - without that, all votes are a farce.
I would end charter co-locations for the foreseeable future.
I would NOT implement K-2 standardized testing or testing in the arts.
I would lower the stakes of standardized tests and dramatically decrease the degree to which test scores factor into evaluations of teachers and schools.
I would see if there is a better model for principal-training than the Leadership Academy. I have yet to meet a good leader who has emerged from there.
I would lessen the paperwork and bureaucratic responsibilities of school leaders so they can spend more time in classrooms, observing teachers, mentoring, getting a sense of classroom dynamics and curriculum implementation.
I would make deep cuts at Tweed and stop the relentless sucking away of money from schools.
I wouldn't start G&T programs until 2nd or 3rd grade. Testing 5 year olds for 'giftedness' is a flawed, process and pulls people away from their local schools before they even have a sense of what kind of school their child needs/they want.
I could go on...
I would love to see healthier cafeteria food, including more local produce and meats.
I would also like a mandatory health & nutrition curriculum in K-12. The mayor can try to regulate people's sugar and salt intake all he wants, but we'd be better served if kids learned about their bodies & what they need to be healthy right from the start. Serving healthy cafeteria food is leading by example, rather than fiat.
Upper West Side
I would give the school year a grade of F because once again Bloomberg tried to destroy the morale of the rank and file. Bloomberg vowed to close schools, putting experienced teachers into a substitute pool, called (ATR's) Ruining careers is what Bloomberg has tried to do to the teaching profession in NYC. Bloomberg has forgotten that he himself, was educated by a TEACHER - as well as everyone else on his team. No one would have half the knowledge they have if not for a teacher - NYC's Finest, NYC's Bravest and NYC's strongest - all educated by TEACHERS. y
Education is not an employment program. I sympathize with the unemployed, since I've been there - but when it comes to education, preparing our kids to compete in a global workforce takes precedence. I only hope that when the shake-ups at DOE are over, our kids will be left in a better position. Time will tell.
Frank, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
I am a teacher. First I would take away mayoral control. Second, go back to community school districts. Parents need resources in their own neighborhoods. Administration needs answers to questions that are difficult to answer from the regions.
Enough of the mayor trying to break up the union by closing schools and creating small charter schools!
Teachers are required to do so much and the word is that it is only going to get worse. We were told to keep binders to protect ourselves and our jobs. So that we have evidence to prove ourselves.
Jenn from Astoria
It's just ridiculous that teachers and staff that have been working for many years now have to re-apply for their jobs. I have a friend that's been a school secretary in the same school for 18 years and now she has to re-apply and may be out of a job. It's a very sad situation!!!
Debbie from Whitestone
It was a challening year for teachers...however principals, too. Principals have long been evaluated on test scores and unfair measures.
Fortunately, it's about the students and that is why we work hard and continue to do our best even without the recognition. It's becoming increasingly more challenging to do what's right for children.
ARE YOU SERIOUS? Emperor Bloomberg's gas guzzling SUV chariot has a household air conditioner installed and THIS is your top story. I'm livid! A few years back he wanted kids to sit in un air conditioned class rooms during a heat wave. New Yorkers need to get their grapefruits back!.
Norm Upper East side
Actually the grade for the DOE should be ineffective as the teachers will be graded.
I do not have a problem being evaluated. I do my job and I do it well. However, we are being micro managed - all of us: teachers, administrators, and superintendents.
Please think of our students. They are the ones who are being pushed harder than ever, without much support at home. Parents need help and guidance for their kids.
This year everyone in school was tense. Instead of focusing on the art of teaching, teachers were worried about criticism and administrators were worried about their schools being judged negatively. Consequently, the children felt the tension. This year's grade was a fat D.
Marie from Bensonhurst
Here and throughout the country. That's what the Education Reform Movement, funded
by billionaires, wants, and they'll keep getting it until parents push back. The teachers
can't do it alone!
As a special education teacher, I'll be working with my same class for the summer. I hope I'll be able to get work done with my students as this school year has brought so much paper work and data collection that there is no time to lesson plan, reflect and concentrate on my students. Teachers, thanks to Mr. Bloomberg, have become paper pushers rather than educators.
As a graduating 8th grade student, I can confidently say that the NYCDOE has done a horrible job in ensuring that us as students are comfortable at our schools, and making sure that we are going to do our best. My mother is a teacher, and she understands how stressful it is as a teacher to try to enjoy their job.
An example of this is the statewide exams. I think we all remember the dreaded pineapple story. How ridiculous is it that us students need to endure the stress that we do.
I was however, blessed to have great teachers this year. The problem with our grades is not the teachers, it's the way the NYCDOE is treating the teachers.
Jordan from Astoria
It is obvious that parents students and teachers are against mayoral control over education in New York City.
In the end, no schools are being closed. They are being re-structured and renamed so that mayor Bloomberg can receive state funding.
Students and teachers alike are being heartbroken because of the all the close knit relationships that have been established.
No one knows how to approach the following school year. The "new schools" begin operation in July.
This school year was a disaster which I will always remember as a witch hunt after teachers. Bloomberg's policies have clearly not work . So he needs to blame the teachers for all of his own incompetence. The public shaming of teachers by showing flawed data of test scores was a fiasco!!
This school year was a nightmare for my daughter. She was attending a charter school and totally lost interest because she was always denied help when she needed. My daughters grades dropped so low, she was held over and asked me not to put her back in that school. Here is the catch... 6 other students in the same class were held over, what's wrong with this picture.
Mayoral control needs to come to an end & closing schools is not a solution either !!
Awilda from Brooklyn
I concur w/ caller John of downtown bklyn. The school administration & teachers have a very tough job....funding is seriously lacking, there is little parent support due to varying family value of education. Additionally, the tax base in low performance school have little to no pta affect and parent involvement....so there is no money nor administration foundation to foster the enrichment programs needed to establish a progressive / balanced learning environment. Until there is 1) governed school administration flexibility, 2) increased (consistent) parent involvement for the purpose of accountability, 3) changes in the financial support there be marginally successes AT BEST!
The definition of insanity is doing the same the the same way expecting different results...if parents care they need to invest their time & hold all parties involved accountable!
SB of queens
Our school is 96% below the poverty level yet despite losing $180,000 from our budget Parents, Students, teachers banded together to help our school climb up four spots, parents come to PTA meetings and attend seminars that focus on student learning
The DOE should stop excluding parents from the decision making Many of our parents don't speak English but they volunteer for school functions, They try to help by talking to the local businesses about donating items like books for the school. The DOE has forgotten that community support makes a better learning environment. They need to get out of their offices and into the classroom
city, state and federal governments have all abdicated responsibility for public education. This country ranks near the botton of all industrialized nations because of the poor quality of education . It's disgusting.
Meryl from manhattan
I don't know how the school year went, we have to see how Bloomberg spins the numbers to fit his needs. I am 38 and went back to college last year at a 4-year CUNY school and while visiting one of the community colleges I was told they are trying to start easier classes for many incoming students because they cannot do the basic work required at the junior college level. They said it takes many students 4-5 years to earn an Associates degree for various reasons, and these are the people who are actually trying to earn some type of education. As one of your callers said this has been done across the country, mainly to minority children of lower and middle income backgrounds, and it can't be an accident.
The gimmick and con-game of closing schools and shifting teachers and administrators is just a shell game. This goes with the trend of blaming workers and unions for everything that is wrong with the country, while the people who make these decisions and make the big money just keep doing what they want. Your station aired a story a few days ago about how Eva Moskowitz wants a 50% increase in management fees from the State, which tracks with some of the complaints the teachers union and even smaller charter schools have been making about how the system is run. It's funny that the politicians scream about how tax payers money is spent with it concerns lower paid union workers, but they happily dole out the cash to their politically connected cronies. They can't force people to buy into the con-game that is the stock market and nobody can afford the overpriced housing market so they are stealing from the taxpayers who can't say no since that money is taken without our permission.
As for the summer I already hear the sound of gunfire here in the Bronx and look forward to all the aged out high school students roaming the streets without jobs or a clue about how to live like an adult. People have fallen for Bloomberg's con about what a great businessman he is with his constant manipulation of numbers, but the reality of how this city has decayed during his tenure is obvious. All of these teenagers and 20-something people walking around now involved in the crimes that Bloomberg claims warrant his storm trooper tactics went through his school system, which is proof positive what kind of job he has done overall as far as some citizens of this city are concerned.
People are always either blaming the teachers or the mayor or the parents.The real problem are the students. They just don't care. I just graduated high school this year and from what I could tell through all four years is that students would rather goof around than listen to teachers.
I think the problem we face today in teaching children has to do with many factors - not only class size, but school size - as well things like how we have structured the "system" itself.
Teaching and learning are an exploration - not a performance or something to be manufactured.
The consolidation of schools (over the course of the last 50-100 years) has created the school systems that are too large. Children cannot feel they belong to a community any longer - they move from their families into what are essentially small cities.
If children cannot feel a safe and secure connection in their schools they have to wonder why they are there and what they are there to do. They become an unruly mob - and have no sense of authority and agency - much less a sense of the self within that setting. They misbehave to draw attention to themselves - if not from a teacher, then from their peers - just to establish this sense of themselves.
Also, the standardization of lesson plans and curricula leave the students feeling they are being "manufactured". The teachers, by necessarity, are left with the task of teaching "topics" and testable knowledge - trying to pass the test themselves, rather than creating an atmosphere of exploring the world around them and learning things that are meaningful and interesting (and even fun) - teachers are become technicians and students the test subjects.
When I was a boy I was motivated to learn out of a sense of fear of my teachers' disapproval and parents' punishments. This was not good, but for what it lacked in humanity - it made up for in scale of class and community size - as well as in a stress on learning the skills of learning, which I could use to explore and learn.
If in early childhood, children can learn the skills needed - gain an appropriate sense of self and community - and the confidence in themselves to understand values of self, sharing, and responsibility -- the learning will happen throughout a child's life.
My daughter graduated from LIC and i truly believe that they system/staff is at fault--- they overpopulated the school allowing no room for individual focus on the children and also started taking the programs away because the teachers couldnt keep up due to the overcrowding and I truly think that there was no discipline and it became a big meeting party place for these kids who just went there to get out of their house and not to learn
Margaret from Astoria
The grade for this school year has to be an F. Mayor Bloomberg and his Department of Education have spent the year blaming teachers for everything. The school closings are just a desperate attempt to break the UFT. However, it does not matter how hard he has tried he is wasting his time and blaming the wrong people. Mayoral control of NYC's Educational System should end immediately. Any politician who supported Bloomberg's third term should also be voted off.