NYT story on the mediator’s decision below. I have so many questions about this whole matter still, which I would like people on the list to answer if they can.
The turnaround plans of course made no sense in the first place to me but then most of what DOE does make little sense.
First, Al Baker, the new guy on the NYT education beat, writes:
The decision was a victory for the United Federation of Teachers and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators. They argued that the plans to recast the 24 schools, known as turnaround schools, ran afoul of contracts and contrasted with more deliberative ways that city schools are usually phased out.1. BUT is a phase –out really “more deliberative” or better in any sense?
Or is it worse, meaning ALL the teachers at the phase-out school can ultimately be excessed, and ALL the students in schools like Robeson and Jamaica suffer the damaging effects as the school is phased-out, including fewer services and classes year to year as the death-watch continues?
Also, as the “new” schools put in place of the phase out school exclude the sort of high-needs students in the original school, making the supposed “improvement” hard to judge – these same sort of at-risk kids are sent to other schools nearby, which then causes them to struggle and ultimately be shut down. Isn’t it better to keep the same kids in the building at least? If this strategy was merely an attack on the union in the first place, why didn’t DOE use the phase-out model for these schools? Is this still a possibility for the admin now?
2. Which leads me to this question: why did the DOE choose this version of “turnaround” rather than their usual “phase-out” – b/c of the fed funds in the SIG grants cannot be applied to phase-out schools? But Walcott said that even if they didn’t get SIG money they were intent on doing this anyway.
3. Or was the DOE prevented from choosing this model in the first place, because these 33 schools – now 24 schools -- many of them in Queens and at 100% utilization or more, are so vastly overcrowded and there are so few other large high schools left, the phase out model simply wouldn’t work? b/c as enrollment is reduced in these buildings at much lower levels, as the old school phases out and the new ones phase in (with enrollment capped at lower levels) there would be nowhere for the students who would have attended the original schools to go?
Also, Baker writes this:
The plans have included replacing all the principals, screening the existing staff and rehiring no more than 50 percent of it.Yet nearly from the beginning, Walcott and those in charge of this process at DOE have said there would be NO 50% quota for firing or rehiring. King’s decision last week in which he said he would allow the granting of the SIG money only if at least 50% of the staff was replaced seems to contradict the DOE assertions.
So why did DOE insist otherwise? Was it b/c of the union contract that said at least 50% of the staff must be kept on? And if the idea was really to attack the union, what’s stopping the DOE from doing phase-out now? The idea as expressed above that this would cause even more chaos?
READ THE NYT ARTICLE BELOW