Monday, December 30, 2013

Farina With Support of Real Reformers Has Chance to End 12 Years of Toxicity

The appointment of Carmen is the best news that has come out in education in 2013. I am eternal optimist and believe that maybe, just maybe things will turn around. After going to some training that Carmen gave way back when, I completely changed the way I taught. Those were the best years of my very long career.... Loretta Prisco, ICE

May amateur hour be finally and mercifully over.... Raging Horse
I'm not one to cheer any chancellor, though in a funny way the only one I liked was Cortines - he truck me as someone who really taught and had a sense of what went on in the classroom - though his later years in Los Angelos disappointed me.

There is no educator I respect more than Loretta so I have to take what she says very seriously. Right next to Loretta  is Julie Cavanagh who has known Carmen since she began teaching and has worked with Carmen on the PS 15 project over the past few years. Until a few weeks ago I had no idea of Julie's relationship with Carmen and that Carmen has been supporting the school after the ravages of the battle with over the invasion of PAVE charter school. Apparently here was first-hand evidence of the dangers of co-location and a good sign that Carmen has been there to help the school recover.

There is joy over in the Mark Naison/Liz Philips household. Liz runs one of the most progressive schools in the city and began her career as a student teacher in Carmen's 4th grade classroom.

As an elementary school teacher myself, mostly in grades 4 and 6, I have always felt we had a certain broad sense of school and community that the more subject intensive high school teachers, whose schools are not rooted in a community, don't get. (Cortines was also an elementary school teacher).

I know many teachers were extremely turned off by the early forced feeding through Diana Lam of the Teachers College methods. I and others in ICE were philosophically in favor of child-centered classrooms - Lisa North is a TC grad - but against the insane way it was pushed.

Farina has a lot on her plate and no one expects miracles. If teachers think this means loads of money coming their way they should think again. I'm sorry I can't make the first meeting of the reconstituted PEP -- which we expect will change it's name from that Bloomberg brand.

Right up front will be the issue of the forced co-locations passed at the October meetings, including a bunch of Eva Moskowitz schools.

Leonie is part of a law suit on that issue as reported on her blog. City Council members and Letitia James are part of the suit.

Press Release: New York City Parents and Elected Officials File Suit Seeking Injunction To Stop Bloomberg's 42 Recently Approved School Co-locations

Will the new BOE fight that law suit?

Why is there a sense of relief - cautious on my part - in the real reform camp?

Here's the take-away from Raging Horse
It is, I think, impossible for someone who has not taught in the NYC public school system in the past decade or so, to grasp how deeply and insidiously Bloomberg (with help from his fellow “reformers” up to and including Obama ) has degraded the lives of students and cheapened, almost beyond recognition, the noble and ancient vocation of teaching and the very idea of education itself. 

The mere fact that she is an educator — not a former federal prosecutor (Joel Klein ) or a magazine publisher (Cathy Black) or a political appointee ( Dennis Walcott) — is, as absurd as it sounds, a major move in the right direction.  
Afterburn:
Raging Horse, a chapter leader, saw first hand the ravages of an out of control empowered principal who literally took away the livelihoods of a gaggle of people and had raging horse on the ropes until he was saved by the new principal. Will that attitude of "support any principal no matter how awful" be ended under Farina? I am not sure that will happen. What she has to do is recognize that under WalBloomKlein a whole bunch of monster and incompetent administrators were created and they must be curbed or wars will continue to break out.

Weed these people out as soon as possible because there can be no progress in the school system as long as they are allowed to run schools. End the Discontinue that kills a teacher's career immediately. Revamp DOE Legal and OSI.

I will not be cheering for Carmen Farina until I see some changes in these policies. She ought to walk across the street one day in January and observe the Portelos hearing -- maybe have a laugh or two. We'll even take her to lunch at our favorite pizza place.


9 comments:

  1. An exciting time for New York City children, parents, and teachers! This analysis on Diane Ravitch’s blog http://dianeravitch.net/2013/12/20/tweed-insider-where-the-bloomberg-administration-went-wrong-on-education/
    conclusively demonstrates that 1) the current DOE organizational structures and funding policies have not been successful in creating an environment necessary for a successful and thriving education system 2)the measures of school and teacher performance currently in use, including the school progress reports and teacher value-add evaluations, are not valid, reliable or fair 3) the policy of closing schools and replacing the closed schools with new schools has not successfully addressed the needs of struggling students and schools 4) a portfolio strategy based on market-choice and charter schools has not improved student outcomes

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  2. Ok, I am sure ready for a change. de Blasio calls her a "brilliant innovator". I taught in district 8. I saw no changes whatsoever under her rule, same old BoomKlein. Someone out there please tell me how she was "brilliant". I must not have been paying attention.
    She came into my classroom. I told her we have no textbooks. She told me we don't use textbooks anymore in Social Studies. I thanked her for the info.

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    1. I was told in Jersey not to use the district mandated ESL texts and instead to search for K-8 materials on the Internet.

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  3. As a teacher that has always worked under the Bloomberg regime, I have seen careers ( and people) completely destroyed by his "educational" policies.
    Will the appointment of Ms. Farina end this climate of fear, and quell the mass exodus of people seeking to get out of the DOE, because they have become so completely demoralized? For those that know of this woman, I'd appreciate any answers from those that know of Ms. Farina.

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  4. I found the answer to my question:
    tp://nycrubberroomreporter.blogspot.com/

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  5. Hopefully she will reverse the policy of Bloomberg's DOE of having teachers work without real curricula, being forced to develop their own, working with no real resources and being told that we don't need textbooks. Bring back PROVEN reading and math programs. Anything Bloomberg put in place was designed to set teachers and students up for failure.

    TEACHERS WANT REAL CHANGE. NOT MORE OF THE SAME. AND GET RID OF COMMON CORE!!!!!

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  6. Here is some of the info asked in a link:
    http://nycrubberroomreporter.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-case-against-carmen-farina-former.html

    Why are you afraid to release it Norm?

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  7. My apologies to Norm. I should know better. I see nycrubberroomreporter on the side panel. I listened to NPR this morning interviewing Beth Fertig and taking calls. Seems like Farina is like the second coming. There was not a single negative comment. Is this an NPR agenda or is Farina perfection? I guess it is all relative. What could be worse that what we have had?

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    1. I never expect much from any of these people and I believe Farina believes if you can't teach her way you are not a good teacher. But we have to live in a real world. Other than Bill Cala from the Rochester area and maybe John Kuhn in Texas I can't think of many people I would want in that job. I'm not even sure why we need a chancelllor. But given that we know people who know Carmen and have some access I guess this is the best we can do. I would have to see her reverse most of those Oct co-locos before I start to believe.

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