Wednesday, March 8, 2017

DOE Fails Renewal School: It's Class Size, Stupid

The Class Size Matters advocacy group has also compiled data showing that about 40 percent of elementary and middle schools in the Renewal program — and nearly all of the high schools — have some classes with 30 or more students in them.
The group’s executive director, Leonie Haimson, called the situation “unconscionable” and noted how the DOE had repeatedly pledged to “focus class size reduction planning efforts on the School Renewal Program." “Because of the DOE’s refusal to reduce class size, the Renewal program is doomed to fail.”... NY Post
MORE's Lisa North:  As a teacher, I was rather shocked that the Renewal program did not seem to include any supports for teaching and learning. While I do think family and health supports are critical, you do need to support teaching and learning. Class size is of course key, but what and how you teach is also important. Just teaching to prepare students to pass the Regents ( so the system can show growth) will not engage or prepare students for higher education.
“Parents and teachers are leaving in droves. These schools are not being managed properly,” Mulgrew told NY1 News... NY Post
A retired principal who lied to corruption investigators, the co-author of a book written by Schools Chancellor Carmen FariƱa and a nonprofit headed by an insurance fraudster are among those riding Mayor Bill de Blasio’s School Renewal Program gravy train ... NY Post
Lisa and a whole bunch of MOREs attended the JHS 145 closing hearing on Monday at the school. Mulgrew did not, though UFT VP Rich  Mantell did and made a good statement. The UFT should have flooded the meeting but they are just as nervous about keeping 145 open because of the reaction of the charter lobby and Eva over losing control of the school building if 145 lived.

I have lots of video from the hearing but won't be able to get to work on it until this weekend.

We heard more shocking commentary on the massive failure to competently support the renewal schools -- I mean competently, not just throwing money at them.

Now we know not to trust the NY Post, but their recent series of exposures on the renewal program, which clearly has a political purpose to close schools to open them up for charters, still has some important information.

Chalkbeat reports:
SHOW ME THE MONEY The city has paid about $40 million a year on contracts for consultants for its Renewal program. Some payments have been to consultants with checkered pasts. New York Post
We know that Farina doesn't believe in class size reduction and always starts from the point that the problem is the teachers, who need outside "experts" to come in and show them how to do it.

If Farina added 10 real teachers to each school to reduce class size and just left them alone --- actually she also needed to put in a competent principal instead of some of her monsters. But she sure  does believe in sending in outside people to tell people in the school what to do. And oh what kind of people are they?
[Farina] claimed the 700-plus Support Center staffers would “ensure schools get the tailored supports they need,” including “teaching and learning, finance and human resources, operations, student services, special education and English language learners.”
But the source said, “These places are staffed by people who are not anywhere near experts in the field.
“In half the cases they were probably very good two-, three-, four-year teachers. But they’re not the people to be walking into a building telling [assistant principals] or principals what to do.”
Another one from the Post: Foreign language school doomed by bureaucrats

Leonie Haimson on her listserve:
With millions spent in more bureaucrats and consultants, nearly all HS in the program still have classes of 30 or more- despite specific promises to NYSED that they would focus their class size reduction efforts under the C4E law on these schools. 
Here's another article from a former student that the only change she saw when her school entered the Renewal program was more after school clubs and a health clinic- not likely to turn around a school with so many struggling students.

SLOW RESULTS The city's "Renewal" school program has shown poor results for the amount of money it costs, according to a New York Post analysis. New York Post 

QUESTIONS REMAIN Anonymous staffers and students at the Coalition School for Social Change said the principal has pressured students to leave and asked teachers to pass certain students. New York Post

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