Monday, December 11, 2006

Lafayette, South Shore, Tilden to Close - UFT Goes Along for the Ride

From Lafayette HS:

"It's official now. Lafayette will have no freshman class next year, and three to four new schools will start moving into the building. UFT VP for HS Frank V. and Dist. Rep Charlie F. were there to answer questions. 50% of new school positions are guaranteed to Lafayette teachers, we were told. We were also told South Shore and Tilden will meet he same fate. Even though the announcement by the DOE was not unexpected, we are stunned by the news."

The DOE attack on large schools continues. Instead of putting in the resources necessary to fix these schools, the DOE will allow 4 schools to compete for resources, the most precious to them being kids who can perform. And 3 more schools full of teachers being thrown under the ATR bus.

The role of the UFT reps seems to be to smooth the way and answer questions instead of fighting like hell to keep this from happening.


  1. "It is no secret that there have been problems at Lafayette, so its closing is not surprising," said United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

    "As to Lafayette, we are working with the DOE to create a redesigned school - and potentially two new schools - that parents will want to send their children to and where educators will want to teach," she said.

    Why does Randi go along with this instead of calling for Lafayette to be redesigned instead of closed? The closing of the schools is one ploy to get most of the teachers out, making them look for new jobs or become ATR's. If the school is redesigned without being closed then the teachers stay. Is Randi in effect going along with Klein's point that the teachers are the problem?

  2. From Leonie Haimson, Class Size Matters:

    Byron Scott of Channel 9 News just interviewed me about today’s announcement that five NYC high schools will be closing; the story will be on at 10 PM tonight. No doubt my comments will be cut to shreds as usual; so I thought I’d let you know what I said:

    The pattern that we have repeatedly seen of closing failing large high schools down and opening up new small schools in their place sounds good; but in the end, it often hurts rather than helps our neediest students, leading to even higher discharge and dropout rates.

    For example, Tilden HS has 300 special ed students and at least 300 ELL students, many of them sent there originally because other large high schools nearby were closed in recent years, like Bushwick, Prospect Park, Wingate and others.

    Why? As we know from recent reports from the CCHS, Immigration Coalition and NY Lawyers for Public Interest, most of the ELL and special ed students will be excluded from whatever new small schools are formed in their place.

    When a school is being phased out, no one cares about the students who still go there – they no longer count in terms of any accountability system. This may be one of the reasons we’ve seen a steady increase in discharged students over the last four years. In many cases, these students are denied the classes they need to graduate, even if these same courses are being given at the small schools opening up in the same building.

    If they don’t manage to graduate in the few years that their original school continues to exist – and many won’t – most of the lowest-performing students will be discharged to “alternative” or GED programs, or transferred to other large high schools. These schools in turn will likely become even more overcrowded than before – and in many cases, destabilized.

    In either case, many of the students at the schools that are were announced today as closing will likely end up as dropout statistics, or even worse, if “discharged” they will be expunged from existence, and not even counted as dropouts.

    Today I spoke to a teacher at Tilden HS, one of the schools being closed down; he told me that school has never been given the resources or programs it needed to improve. He has many ELL classes that have 30 students or more – classes that should be no larger than 20.

    Four of these five schools also had principals who graduated from the Leadership Academy. What this shows is that leadership alone does not help, unless classroom conditions are also addressed.

    Until this administration has a plan to improve opportunities for all our students, including providing them smaller classes no matter where they go to school, we will continue on in this cycle of failure, far into the future.

  3. Heard about Lafayette HS closing this morning on TV while I was getting ready to go to work at my new assignment.
    I joined Lafayette last year, and immediately had a run in with that famous Leadership Academy Principal, she who will not be named here.
    Throughout the year, I received nothing but "U" observations, as did a number of my colleagues at Lafayette.
    It was obvious to me that the school was under utilized, and in view of all that she who will not be named did to me and my colleagues, the woman was sent there to deliberately downsize the school so that Bloom/Klein,, could take the real estate and do something else with it. Throughout this ordeal, my colleagues and I heard from the
    UFT that "my hands were tied" from the Unity person there (he, too, shall remain nameless).
    I'm now reminded of that famous poem where the person laments that when they came for him, "there was no one left to protect me". Well, the inevitable has happened. According to what I've read in the papers, Madame Weingarten is already making plans with the DOE to turn poor Lafayette into "schools where students want to go, and teachers will want to teach". WOW! The body is not even cold yet, and the vultures are circling enmasse. And, what will happen to all of the people there who were forced to become ATR's, were discontinued last year, received "U" ratings, etc.? Oh, well...... In my case, I've yet to hear from the UFT about when my hearing will be held,
    apparently, my case was dropped from the UFT's radar.....
    To hear Madame Weingarten say that people should not be surprised at Lafayette's closing in light of their problems, smacks to me of a
    callousness that ranks right up there with the Bloom/Klein administration's sneakiness and M.O.
    Keep 'em working, until the end, use people, collect union dues, and then drop them like hot potatoes.
    How bizarre the educational system is in New York City.
    Hope that the Three Stooges trio of Bloomberg, Klein, and Weingarten can live with themselves after doing what they've done to destroy
    peoples' lives and careers, all while they are hiding behind the facade of "improving education". Seems to me that they are much more concerned with lining their pockets, and leaving behind a legacy that will improve their stature with the business community, rather than the constituents of the school system.
    Happy holidays......

  4. The demise of Lafayette High School can be attributed to a
    combination of factors- allegations of violence, the US Justice Dept. Consent Decree, an overly zealous UFT that was never satisfied with any principal from
    Ferrara, the drop in enrollment as a result, and the ultimate placement of the current principal
    to "finish the job". Its unfortunate that many highly competent and respected teachers will be viewed as incompetent because they spent most of their careers at Lafayette, or "horror high". Meanwhile students who were stripped of special programs such as Gateway, and the English Language students who were thrust into classes where they struggle are victims as well. Ms Rohloff's grading policies and grade changes
    ultimtely helped seal the coffin-

  5. I am a Lafayette HS graduate. It is tragic to see the Bd of Ed abandon the HS instead of investing time, energy and funding to address problems in the school.
    Residents of Bklyn and NYC deserve better; as an alumna, I call on all former Lafayette grad's to write to the Bdof Ed and attempt to resuscitate what appears to be a rapidly cooling body...


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