Cathie Black's placement on the board of Harlem Village Academy as a way to get her ed creds- despite the fact that she didn't attend any meetings, has focused attention on this scandalous school and its relation to the BloomKlein corrupt running of the NYCDOE. This school has been lauded nationally. So naturally school founder Deborah Kenney takes home $450,000 for managing 450 students. HVA loses 32% of their students between 6th and 8th grades and there is vast teacher turnover. Bloomberg has called the school a national "poster child" for school reform. Conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch gave $5 million. The charter school scam in full flower.
Well, Cathie Black's been let out of her cage after a good two weeks of Sarah Palinizing and what insights has she gleaned in the hour or two she spent in public schools? Looks like she's fixing to fire teachers. There's no better way, apparently, to help city children than by firing their teachers. Arne Duncan and Bill Gates have determined larger class sizes are the way to go, and Cathie is gonna help them get their wish....she wants to get rid of last in first out. Since she's already determined to fire people, why not go after the older and higher-paid teachers? That would put a bigger dent in the bottom line. And then she wouldn't have to bother with any of that nasty due process in that inconvenient tenure law. Oh, she wants to get rid of that, too. Perish forbid any American worker should have job security. Cathie Black agrees with everything Joel Klein did. That's fine with me. Let her go after teachers for nonsense. There's a reason teachers need tenure, and that's to protect us from demagogues like Cathie Black, who get into education for two weeks and have the audacity to behave as though they're experts. I wouldn't want her teaching my kid. Fortunately, she isn't licensed to teach, and they aren't yet handing out waivers for that.
Today, in justifying the eleven school closings, with more to come, Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg made the following statement: “Year after year, even as we provided extra help and support, these schools simply have not gotten the job done for children." Did they ever try systematically reducing class size? No. Most of these students at these schools continue to suffer from overly large classes that far exceed the state average of twenty students per class, as well as the goals in the city’s mandated class size reduction plan. In fact, class sizes have risen sharply in most of the schools slated for closure. For example, check out the increases in class size [INCLUDE GRAPH] at Beach Channel High school, one of the schools on today’s list of closures, which have occurred despite a promise from the DOE to make specific reductions at this school in return for hundreds of millions of dollars in Contract For Excellence funds. As Sternberg said, “…we cannot afford to let schools continue to fail students when we know we can do better.” Most parents and teachers would agree. The Department of Education’s stubborn refusal to follow the law and to allow the students at these schools to have their best chance to succeed is unconscionable, and set up these schools for failure.