Sunday, October 7, 2007

Mass Exodus of Teachers from Bronx Science

Bob Drake was forwarded this letter from a current teacher at Bronx High who MUST remain anonymous. Drake is a former chemistry teacher dismissed for political reasons at Bronx Science. He had come from a college and did not yet have tenure. Drake, who has a Ph.D, has landed higher paying jobs in private schools and currently is the highest paid teacher at a public school in Connecticut.

At the time, freshman, students picked up on the "Dr. Quack" theme placed on Principal Reidy when she took the title of "Dr." after receiving an honorary Ph.D, which real Ph.D's like Bob did not
take kindly to. Now, the former freshman are seniors and are re-raising the Dr. Quack theme, as described in these articles (which I know are not readable but email me if you want me to send you the pdfs of these articles if you can't access them online.)

Approximately 30 teachers have left the once prestigious Bronx High School of Science this year.

Even accounting for retirees, and one or two pregnancies, these numbers are at an unprecedented high. Reasons cited for departures are: interference by Principal Reidy and her sycophantic Assistant Principals in the classroom, lack of professionalism in their treatment of staff, several givings of U ratings to staff who did not kowtow to She Who Must Be Obeyed (i.e., Reidy) in her incompetent, dictatorial and usually incorrect classroom pedagogy. Reidy's abusive treatment of staff was also a factor. Of particular note is the English Department, which lost a previously unheard of EIGHT teachers who complained of dead end protocols and meaningless or incorrect classroom style dictates.

Rather than being replaced with seasoned teachers, the replacements are recent grads -- teaching some of the brightest kids in the City. The current English AP is seen as unqualified and incompetent -- a Reidy "yes" person. Agreement with the complaints voiced last year by English teacher XXX seems evident in the latest walkout. Several of the teachers have since found employment in high-level and high-paying jobs elsewhere.

Teachers who left of their own will, and others ousted by unfair assessments, are voicing a call for a General Amnesty by the Department of Education for all staff members given a U by the Reidy Administration.

Facebook hums with activity of Bronx High Students on this issue at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=19412507072
(You must be a member to view the page. I joined so I could view it and am probably the oldest member.)


12 comments:

  1. Valerie Reidy has been the subject of controversy on several issues - first, the firing of Dr. Drake, and then the question of where the money went for the Koean language teacher -

    see: Teachers Flee From Specialized High School Bronx Science in New York City to Escape From Principal Valerie Reidy's Intolerable Rule
    http://parentadvocates.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&articleID=7369

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  2. This is happening all over the city, Klein has empowered Principals to harrass, micromanage, intimidate and just make life miserable for all staff. Those who are exempt are brown-nosing loyalists who would persecute their own mothers if it would please the Principal. There is no real teaching going on at NYC High Schools. Just a group of inexperienced and frightened beginners and many targeted tenured staff who have been marked for U rating or bogus allegations, or anything you can think of in order to remove them and their opinions (and salaries). It is a crime what is happening. The public doesn't see the real picture and only sees the union complaining of losing power. That's not what this is about. This is about a right to practice one's profession in a non-hostile work environment without fear of professional annihilation. When will it end?

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  3. To comment number two--
    You ask when it will end; IT WILL NEVER END. Why? Because it doesn't at all affect Randi and her sycophantic minions. If Randi is okay, then none of this matters.

    Sorry to be so pessimistic, but it is the truth. Randi Weingarten doesn't give a rat's behind about teaching, teachers, students, working conditions and most of all PUBLIC EDUCATION.

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  4. It's not up to Randi; it's up to the teachers to fight back. The ritualistic collecting of lesson plans goes against Board circular which clarified a contractual provision. It's up to the teachers to push the union to act. Stop expecting a savior.

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  5. I have known about this for years since i live in the Bronx. In a way it is "comforting" to know that this is happening at an august institution like Bronx Science and not just a dump like mine in Chelsea. Maybe all this collective suffering will push to the rank and file to action.

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  6. I have a good friend who teaches at that school. She has been telling me these horror stories for years. There is also a court case going on (at least I think it is still going on) involving a guidance counselor who was told there was no job, when in fact, as soon as she left, the position was filled).

    These stories are so absurd that they are hard to believe, yet I know they are true. I am going to forward my friend this link.

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  7. I suggest that we all start forwarding this link. I agree with justice--it's almost comforting that this is happening in the hallowed halls of the specialized science high schools and not just in my lowly little middle school. Those of us who know teachers from other states should start sending them links like this one. Let them know what their lives could be like if Bloomberg runs for the presidency and actually wins.

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  8. I just want to know why we are paying over $1000 per year in union dues when our union does nothing to help its members.....

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  9. Norm, this is a very important article that needs to be spread as widely as possible.

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  10. Look for articles in the NY Sun and maybe the NY Post.

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  11. I had her for for bio; that's 180 days that I will never get back =(

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  12. I remember illicit copies of that letter circulating the school after my teacher left. Unfortunately he was one of the more capable English teachers too. Two years later and the situation has only successfully worsened with many inexperienced teachers being hired and good ones driven away. Us students barely ever see Reidy-- I can count such meetings all on one hand, and that's a really sad truth.

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