Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Decoded and Explained - The NYC DOE Reopening Plan - 109 pages of smoke and mirrors - Anonymous NYC Teacher

Trapping kids inside with 10 or 12 others with no airflow sounds like a recipe COVID soup!  ...I won't accept this as a "plan" for sending my daughter back, nor do I accept it as a teacher.....anon.
I received this over the transom from a NYC teacher friend who is staying
anonymous after having been persecuted by certain criminal supervisors, the very type of people we are supposed to trust to manage safe schools. The pushback from teachers and other school employees is related to two decades of dishonesty and mistrust and this plan only serves to embellish on that history with outright distortions. Note the mention of ventilation - an LOL moment for many teachers.

A Closer Look - The NYC DOE Reopening Plan Decoded Explained

I was excited when New York state governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced that all districts in the state were required to have a school reopening plan. I was looking forward to seeing what the plan was! I mean, we, the parents, needed to make a decision about the school year on August 7th, with no other information except the hybrid model for physical versus online learning. We're a month out from the start of school.

A mere days after Cuomo's announcement, the New York City Department of Education published a well-formatted plan with a table of contents! Since I had to work for two years without a classroom ceiling (the roofers hung thick contractor bags over the open roof, and water/snow would pool in the bags and drain out of a tear onto the floor, speaking of safety), I thought this was an astounding turnaround in efficiency for such a bloated agency!

Well, no. It turns out that New York City's so-called schools reopening "plan"  was 109 pages of smoke and mirrors. The DOE apparently believes that codifying the outsourcing of responsibility to the parents, and reducing their own duties to "precautions" such as educating families about the importance of mandatory home temperature checks (thermometers can be provided - how helpful!), passes as a measure of confidence. And safety measures, if underscoring hand washing and social distancing can be even be considered "safety" at this juncture or just survival, only represent a fraction of the plan. For example, this is everything under the heading, "Ventilation":
"NYCDOE’s Division of School Facilities (DSF) performed an HVAC survey to determine deferred maintenance needs. DSF is performing required HVAC maintenance (including windows) and filter changes. DSF and the SCA are working together on systems that require capital-level repairs. NYCDOE is continuing to perform maintenance and modify operations to maximize the supply of outdoor air for ventilation to the greatest extent possible."
Let me translate that. The first two sentences are fairly straightforward. A bunch of bureaucrats, DSF, who work in an air conditioned office building, sent out a survey to maintenance staff asking them where they are on their to-do list in terms of HVAC. These same bureaucrats are telling maintenance departments to perform repairs on windows and filters, and ostensibly other to-do's under the heading HVAC.

Here's where we need to start breaking things down a bit more finely. The pencil pushers keeping tabs on school maintenance are pairing up with the bureaucrats from the School Construction Authority. The SCA is in charge of taking a physical building, such the Franklin K. Lane brick and mortar, phasing out the school, displacing students but more importantly teachers, and creating more "schools" to address overcrowding by dividing the large former population of the school with smaller groups of students, attending different "schools". In other words, they don't physically construct schools. They reduce the number of students that you can house in a building because you need administration and staff for all the new schools. So, the third sentence from the "plan" is saying that DSF and SCA are joining forces for an interdepartmental project!

And now the fuzziness really creeps in. These two groups of office workers will make a list of things that need to be done that will require money. Really. That's what the fourth sentence says; it's specifying the project that the two groups of bureaucrats are going to be working on. And, to conclude, the closing sentence is saying that the whole DOE system is still fixing things and changing things in order to get some air inside, if they can.

I love this plan! Trapping kids inside with 10 or 12 others with no airflow sounds like a recipe COVID soup! There are still classrooms without AC! This example paragraph is found on page 36, under the trending coronavirus topic, "Lead". The language used requires either 20 years experience inside the DOE, or 20 hours of careful scrutiny. This is their plan!

Listen, coming up with something this visible and important is not easy. I don't understand the veneer of command and control, when they obviously have neither. Sometimes, it's okay to say, we don't have this under control, and we need your constructive input and patience. Here's what we've been doing, but New York is a big city, with a myriad of needs and experiences, and it takes a while to address everything. When you issue a decree from on high, with no chance for dialogue, it causes dissent and nowadays, we don't need any more anger and confusion. We, the people, need to set the priorities and come up with solutions. I won't accept this as a "plan" for sending my daughter back, nor do I accept it as a teacher.

I also want to go on the record to say that Mayor Di Blasio and Chancellor Carranza are misreading that highly publicized figure, 75% of parents opt for in-person. Yes, that's true. I'm one of them. And I am almost 100% certain that we will, in the end, opt out.


  1. EXACTLY! 75% OF THE parents CHOSE for their children to return to school buildings (a big mistake IMHO). They want babysitters. I was a "a latch-key child from age 8 and one who stayed home sick all day when sick and I stayed home- with a sibling 4 years younger - - all day every single day of school vacation from age 10 on. My police officer and Worked for CUNY parents didn't have baby sitters for us. I was expected to do my school work, check my younger brother's work. make our lunches and snacks and start dinner. I can see for all the parents of the elementary school aged children - - despite the fact that this routine started when I was in elementary school - - wanting to send their children in but I am baffled by the parents of middle school and high school aged children...many of whom have to take multiple modes of public transportation and exposed to countless people before hitting the petri dishes that are going to be classrooms.

    I haven't been a baby sitter for more than three decades. Baby sitters aren't expected to have MULTIPLE college degrees.

    Ten bucks says the same lax ridiculous NON-standards (and ZZ Top method of passing students) will be in effect for the 20/21 school year.

    Jeez! This is going to be the longest 5 years of my life. I can't wait to retire.

  2. I do not trust any data the DOE releases. If the numbers presented by the DOE are true, I would say that 25% of parents opted out of in-school learning. The other 75% did not opt in for in-school learning; they have not decided yet. I know a handful of parents who are part of the 75% and chose the "wait and see" option.

  3. 75% of the parents who CHOSE to respond chose to send their children back into the school building IS NOT the same thing as 75% of all NYC school children chose that option.


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