Log in  |  Search

Leadership Academy: Bang for the Buck

The future is “uncertain” for the Leadership Academy according to a NY SUN (subscription required) story by Julia Levy because funds are drying up and the lack of data surrounding the program’s effectiveness.

If you don’t know, the Leadership Academy is a privately-funded “charter” school designed to train future principals. It costs anywhere from $250,000 to $300,000 to get a successful candidate through the training curriculum. That’s very pricey for a 14-month course of study. But Chancellor Klein said it’s worth every penny since “strong, effective school leadership is a cornerstone of the Children First reforms.”

But now there are some questions about whether the academy is getting the bang for its buck. Those questions come from the sources which fund the program, lawmakers and unions. This is prompting some to consider bringing the Leadership Academy into a more moderate DOE funding stream.

That would certainly lift the veil of secrecy that the Academy has been working under. UFT President Randi Weingarten called the program a “very big state secret.”

“Anything that is as important as training people to be principals in a public education system should have public accountability,” she said. Funding by the DOE would certainly do that.

But what about producing effective school leaders? I bet many of you have horror stories about Leadership Academy graduates who came into a school and turned a quiet, smoothly operating haven for children into a micro-managed hell hole for teachers. Here is one from a Queens middle school that was turned topsy-turvy by an Academy graduate who only had 2 ½ years of regular sub service in NYC and after 14 months of training was thrust into a school’s top job.

Principal’s union vice president Ernest Logan voiced concern that instead of recruiting from the ranks, the Leadership Academy pulls people with little or no experience in the educational community and expects them to take the reins of our most precious resources–our public schools. It fits the business model Klein and Bloomberg espouse: take the teacher out of teaching and take education out of education leadership.

Print

38 Comments:

  • 1 F
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 5:58 pm

    I know of a few in my region who were terrible as well and only lasted about half the year. And it seems like the good principals in my region are being henpecked to death so that they either get fed up and quit or get fired because they can’t live up to ridiculous expectations.

    Call me old-fashioned but there’s a lot to be said for working your way up through the system.

  • 2 institutional memory
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 7:51 pm

    The Lousyship Academy

    I had the dubious pleasure of working for one of Jack Welch’s megalomaniacs for five months. I’ve since moved on, as have many of my colleagues. Teachers, assistant principals, guidance counselors, deans, secretaries, aides, family workers, active parents … all voted with their feet. It’s been an exodus.

    This principal is a piece of work: egotistical beyond description; almost totally ignorant about curriculum and instruction; frequently the last one in and the first one out; plays favorites with a racial slant; and, just a nasty human being.

    This character got the job by convincing a brain-dead LIS that s/he was “just what the school needed … a breath of fresh air.” Now it’s, see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Everything is fine; what’s your problem?

    No exaggeration: this was the worst experience of my career, and I’ve been in the system since 1971. How this person is considered qualified to lead a school continues to confound me, unless six months in a classroom and two years as a staff developer is sufficient.

    The Lousyship Academy is destined to be Joel “Society Pages” Klein’s legacy.

  • 3 R. Skibins
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 8:03 pm

    One major problem is that Klein & Co. are using the Leadership Academy in conjunction with the Fellows Program and Columbia Teacher’s College to destroy the unions. Those who attend the Leaderhip Academy and the Fellow’s Program are from non-union fields, and tend not to support union activities. The greedy principals giving up tenure to sell out the next generation has hurt the public schools tremendously. Principals are at the mercy of incompetent superintendents and LIS’s, and can no longer govern as they should. Principals can no linger make their own decisions because of the fear of dismissal and subsequent replacement by one of the L.A. zombies. The principals must harass teachers and micromanage us in order to fulfill the requirements by their supervisors, and the UFT is too cowardly to stop it. The proposed UFT contract further erodes our rights, further weakens our union, and will lead to further harassment and persecution by administrators at all levels.

  • 4 redhog
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 9:08 pm

    bstamatis is right on the money as usual.
    This Leadership Infirmary gives farces a bad name.

  • 5 redhog
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 9:23 pm

    Chancellor Klein has taken two bold but disastrous initiatives to restore school principals to their rightful role as instructional leaders. First, he has eliminated instructional experience as a job requirement and replaced it with a pre-civil service eligibility based on cronyism and secrecy. Second, to accomplish this he has set up a corporate funded yet taxpayer supported Leadership Academy where untested twenty-somethings are guaranteed principalships without the burden of real screening. The merit system has been entirely scrapped and the school system made porous to apprentices, hand-picked behind closed doors, and often without supervisory and with just the barest teaching experience. They are paid an annual training rate of over one hundred thousand dollars. A thirty-year veteran instructor, with three college degrees and two hundred advanced credits would need to moonlight all holidays, weekends and vacations to approach but still fall short of this salary.

    Many of the Leadership Academy staff, whose pay Klein recently divulged under duress, pull wages higher than those of federal judges. Most are recently retired school administrators who collect the full huge pension that would be due them if they were not continuing city employees. Because of an artful technicality which the Department of Education has traditionalized and perfected, these double-dippers are indeed separated from service because they have been reclassified as “consultants”. In such cases their compensation package is beyond presidential. How they got those positions is shrouded in mystery because the Academy has exempted itself from the requirement of accountability that it demands from the school system itself.

    Even before its first class graduated, the Leadership Academy hit the headlines with more than a hint of scandal. Touted as a wholly corporate funded project, the Academy has in fact been injected with millions of interest-free public tax dollars. Competitive bidding was bypassed as contracts were awarded through Klein’s self-conferred executive privilege as head of both public ( Department of Education) and private ( Leadership Academy ) entities. Whether loan or as a gift courtesy of creative bookkeeping, redirecting money in this way certainly tickles the perception of conflict of interest.

    The Leadership Academy would be a hoax even if there were no trace of legal impropriety. A principal has a complex job with many duties that outsiders rarely consider. It is not an entry-level honorary post. When New York City schools were in their prime and even the wealthy who could choose otherwise sent their children there, each school was led by a seasoned educator. An academic speciality was just one of the mandated makings. The principal always had at least ten years of combined teaching and supervisory experience . The head of the school, as did the teachers, needed to show skill in practical scenarios. Further, it was enforced that all successful applicants demonstrate mastery in written English and be intelligible in the spoken language. This too has changed. Kathryn Wylde, president of the business-backed Partnership for New York City and an apologist for the Academy, claims that “before now, new principals were sent in with nothing.” Calling actual professional experience “nothing” shows a balance of disrespect and ignorance.

    The Leadership Academy advertises that their training will include “role playing” conducted by a “panel of experts”and will “couple entrepreneurial management techniques with a strong grounding in instructional leadership.” I don’t know of any job where live field experience is more critical than in educational leadership. There is no substitute. This is particularly true since, according to the Leadership Academy, “the job of principal has changed from administrative and operations leader to instructional leader.” . Reality flies in the face of their talk of “empowerment, accountability, vision, and values.”

    Chancellor Klein believes that it is his managerial prerogative to lock out educators from education. He has given the profession a truth-makeover. Unless his new principals are given realistic exposure and earn the credibility of the professional in the trenches, they too will discover that they have not so much taken the job as the job has taken them. This will be a blow not only to reform but to all of society.

  • 6 NYC Educator
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 10:10 pm

    And these are the people to whom Unity sees fit to cede our hard-earned rights.

    Who the hell is fighting for us?

  • 7 nycparent
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 11:10 pm

    From my experience, I love the Leadership Academy. We had a “seasoned teaching professional” as a principal who was incompetent. But everyone thought he was nice. And I am sure he was a nice teacher. Finally, we have a new principal from LA, as wet behind the ears as they get, and he is a breath of fresh air. Our teachers (because they aren’t union apologists)are happy and motivated, the facility is much improved, the budget is managed, the kids are learning, and the parents are satisfied. It’s amazing what competent leadership can accomplish.
    Being a good teacher has no relation to being a good principal. They are two entirely different skill sets. Because you can teach kids doesn’t mean you can translate that to curriculum and teachers. And leadership skills can not come from putting in the time. Anyone who has been in private enterprise knows how to identify potential leaders and knows that you push these people forward, no matter what the age or experience.

  • 8 R. Skibins
    · Oct 26, 2005 at 11:22 pm

    Dear nycparent:

    Who do you want to treat your child during a medical emergency: a hospital with a chief resident that is well experienced in treating patients, or some hospital whose chief resident is a political appointee from a leadership academy, because, as you would say, being a good doctor doesn’t translate into being a good chief resident!

  • 9 redhog
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 2:15 am

    The above post by R. Skibins lays out the truth perfectly. I fear that if “nycparent” were to opt for an appendectomy performed by a taxi-driver in scrubs, rather than a thoracic surgeon who “put in the time”, this blog would cease to be graced by his/her future “contributions.”

  • 10 letter in the file
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 6:59 am

    Leadership Academy-Related Websites

    Here are some Websites which contain information about the Leadership Academy:

    “Jack Welch is My Daddy” is on the ICE Website:

    http://ice-uft.org/daddy.htm

    Here is the Leadership Academy’s Website:

    http://www.nycleadershipacademy.org

    The Channel 13 documentary series “New York Voices” followed three aspiring principals who were enrolled in the Leadership Academy:

    http://www.thirteen.org/nyvoices/yearofchange

    A few items about the Leadership Academy are on the Website of the NYC Partnership:

    http://www.nycp.org

    Joel Klein mentions the Leadership Academy during the PBS series “Making Schools Work”:

    http://www.pbs.org/makingschoolswork/dwr/ny/klein.html

    “Making Schools Work” includes interviews with Joel Klein, Carmen Fariña, Elaine Fink, and Anthony Alvarado in “Re-Engineering the Role of Principals”:

    http://www.pbs.org/makingschoolswork/dwr/ny/principals.html

  • 11 nycparent
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 9:29 am

    umm…that analogy may be the silliest thing I have seen yet from the teachers here (and that says a lot). A taxi driver appendectomy is a really intelligent contribution to the discussion, redhog, and I thank you for your kind thoughts about my demise.

  • 12 nycparent
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 9:31 am

    letter in the file, great idea to post lots of pro and con info for the whole picture. Clearly, me and others only have anecdotal

  • 13 redhog
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 12:37 pm

    Excuse me, NYCParent, I have only the good of the patient at heart. I graduated from the Jack Welch School of Administrative Medicine, and I just want your incision to be made by some twenty-something from the Surgeons Academy. I hope that upon completion of your convalescence you return forthwith to thie blog.

  • 14 F
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 5:25 pm

    NYCparent- I think your principal is the rare exception.

  • 15 R. Skibins
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 8:21 pm

    Redhog:

    Remember, the patient must be placed on a rug. The surgeons must work within their group on the rug within a ten minute mini-operation. If it goes over by one minute, the surgeons get a letter in their files, which they can no longer grieve. Each incision must be closed with exactly five stitches. In the recovery room, the patients must be placed in groups of four. All surgeons’ manuals and journals must be color-coded. Any surgeon who does not follow the script is subject to discipline by the hospital’s chairman of the board, Dr. Joel Klein, who was allowed to practice medicine through special legislation pushed by Mayor Bloomberg.

  • 16 nycparent
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 9:00 pm

    Phew. I am back from my surgery and it was weird. In each surgical room, each surgeon had their own ideas about how to do an appendectomy. Some looked ok but others were scary. And guess what, no surgeon could get fired if he messed up?! I kid you not. When the patients died, the surgeon just said they came in sick. Anyway, by luck of the draw, i got a surgeon who was actually new to this crazy system and he decided he would work as hard as it took to do it right, regardless of how many minutes over the allotted time it took. Thanks for all the cards and letters Redhog, and R. Skibins.

  • 17 mvplab
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 9:21 pm

    The preposterousness of the Leadership Academy is that it trains principals from the ranks of those who have little or no experience in schools. It takes a while to understand the culture of the school system and to know how to navigate the ins and outs and the do’s and don’ts. Yoiu don’t build a network of influence by attending the academy. You build a network by establishing relationships within the system.

    Everyone knows a principal who has a reputation of getting things done with one simple phone call. Leadership Academy doesn’t prepare anyone for that.

  • 18 paulrubin
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 10:05 pm

    If you view schools as nothing more than businesses where instead of profits, success is measured in nothing more than standardized test scores, reported instances of violence, fancy bulletin boards, etc., then the Bloomberg system is a marvel of success. Unfortunately for parents, we’re witnessing the system from within whereas a parent essentially views their child’s school from a combination of their child’s point of view and their interactions with one or two teachers. I’m a parent too. And my kids have had good teachers, bad teachers, and middling teachers. Over a period a time I can get a general sense of things but that period of time would be measured in 3 to 5 years for multiple children, not a year or two from a single child. We’re not close to seeing whether the Bloomberg system is a meaningful success in any measurable way. I don’t mean to imply it’s a failure. I’m saying it’s way too early to know much of anything other than there are differences.

    (1) test scores in some grades are up and in others they are down but overall they’re not up as much as the rest of NYS and based on national norms, they’re relatively stagnant. As a math teacher, it’s rather amusing to see these guys manipulate the stats to prove their points but I’m not a moron in these matters even if the media chooses to be.
    (2) Nothing’s been done to keep our good new teachers from leaving the system. This new contract is at best a mixed bag if it passes and raises are below the average for teachers in this region of the country even if one were to foolishly not realize that much of the raise is fueled by increased time.
    (3) the high school graduation rate remains stagnant
    (4) the players have changed with the NYCBOE becoming the NYCDOE and the Regions essentially becoming big districts but all that’s really happened is that help from above to the schools is harder to come by because the ratios are out of whack now.
    (5) With more emphasis on math and english, other subjects have suffered and as that information gets out, the administration lurches from one crisis to another. But fundamentally unless the day is extended to accommodate the extra time to these two subjects nothing on this earth is going to resolve this problem. Extending the day for small group instruction may or may not help a percentage of the kids in these areas but that just doesn’t resolve the problem.
    (6) A unified curriculum may be administratively beneficial but it does nothing for the kids who aren’t best served by it. One size fits all isn’t a good policy. That’s why there’s coke diet coke, cafeine free coke and diet coke, coke with lime, cherry coke, vanilla coke, low carb coke, etc. Hell, even Walmart adapts its inventory to the socio-economic environments of its stores.
    (7) If all your employees and most of your middle management distrusts your intentions, how do you succeed in a term limited environment. When this contract expires, it’s halfway through Bloomberg’s second term. No way there’s more givebacks to a lame duck Mayor two years from being gone so whatever happens now will have to happen within the rules which as I see it are only (a) a more free market approach to transfers and (b) an increase in letters in the file that won’t do anything unless there’s a dismissal hearing and after three years, when those letters are challenged in such a hearing, the witnesses will be gone so how does the system manage to prove the letters accurate.
    (8) Rumors are that Klein’s going to bigger and better things within a year which means the entire system turns upside down yet again anyway.

    I could keep going but I’m tired.

  • 19 nycparent
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 11:11 pm

    Agree with it all. Aside from playing the ridiculous analogy game, let’s all realize this is complex stuff. I just grow impatient with the broad generalizations that everything Klein and Bloomberg try is bad and every issue that is advanced by the UFT is inherently good. I’d love to hear some real ideas of what teachers think can dramatically improve these schools, besides increased teacher pay.

  • 20 Chaz
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 11:30 pm

    nycparent,

    It’s great that you are back. Your comments unite the pro and anti contract teachers. That should give you a big hint that what you say is an affront to all teachers.

    By the way have you asked your leadership academy principal if you can volunteer your time in tuturing and working with the kids??

  • 21 Chaz
    · Oct 27, 2005 at 11:49 pm

    nycparent,

    Now for the real issues:

    1. Smaller class sizes. All studies show that small class sizes increase teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Bloomberg has refused to reduce class sizes during his administration.

    2. Teacher respect. Let teachers teach in the way that best achieves success for the students. Micromanagement stifles teacher innovation and reduces student achievement. Do you really thing your Leadership Academy Principal knows better than an experienced classroom teacher?

    3. Remove disruptive students who hurt classroom learning. Under current regulations it is very difficult to remove disruptive children. Therefore, all children suffer.

    4. Finally, upgrade the school facilities. All rooms need to be climate controlled and connected for wireless technology with a projection screen for instant use.

    There are many more. Oh yes, even you might understand if you raise teacher salaries you will not only stop losing the best teachers to the burbs but encourage good teachers to work in the Big Apple.

  • 22 redhog
    · Oct 28, 2005 at 5:10 am

    NYCParent: Yes: Everything that Klein and Bloomberg have done in education is bad. That is absolutely true. There are shades of gray in almost all truths known to humankind. this is not one of them. They should be treated as war criminals.

  • 23 paulrubin
    · Oct 28, 2005 at 5:48 am

    I don’t think everything done since Bloomberg took office is bad. He’s got way more focus on the school system than ever before. Getting kids extra small group help after school and on Saturdays, while implemented poorly, is a start. Even if the application of the policy leaves much to be desired, putting kids on notice that they might be held back isn’t in and of itself a bad idea. I’m sure I’m missing a few things but the end result remains that as a parent with inside knowledge of how the system works, I’d be less inclined to allow my children to go to school in NYC, not more. And worse yet, I believe many of my colleagues would agree with that statement for a variety of different reasons.

  • 24 Lucy2024
    · Oct 28, 2005 at 7:05 am

    I believe that Paulrubin and Chaz are right on target.

    Another suggestion to help our students do better: the students need to be held accountable for learning. This idea is the complete opposite of the Klein philosophy. I hope this call for the end of social promotion does not fool people. We still have social promotion and it is encouraged by the Educrats.

    Being a successful student requires hours of dedication to school work outside of the school walls.

    The majority of students who do not do anything in their classes, do not complete homework, projects, other assignments, create disruptions, etc. are not in need of costly remediation/summer school classes. These students should be excluded from all programs until they fulfill their responsibilities during school hours. These students are making poor choices, they do not have learning disabilities.

    Public funds should be spent on programs and students who value their education and will return the public investment as adults.

    As long as exuses are made for students who do not want to do what it takes to be successful students, I do not think anything will sincerely change. The smoke and mirrors will continue.

  • 25 redhog
    · Oct 28, 2005 at 7:12 am

    100% of veteran teachers loathe every detail of what Klein has wrought. That is damning and irrefutable evidence that Klein is an abomination and a failure. Let NYC Parent fantasize all he/ahe wants. Klein is an eyesore.

  • 26 nycparent
    · Oct 28, 2005 at 3:16 pm

    Chaz, I know you have a certain impression of me that i’d hate to ruin but i already volunteer hours at my school each week, helping students and teachers, on top of my full time + job, but thanks for the idea. Now for the issues:
    1)Smaller class size is only a factor when you keep one variable a constant – teacher quality. Have you noticed that the best performing public schools in the city often are the most crowded?
    2) Teacher Respect: Agree 100%. Teachers should not be micromanaged but there should be a core curriculum and core skills that should be expected. From a parent’s perspective this is sorely lacking. My child has learned a lot with good teachers and has learned next to nothing with bad teachers. That’s a fact. According to our teachers, our Leadership Academy Principal has helped them immensely in classroom management and curriculum, even this early in the year. We have many amazing experienced teachers who still like learning new things and honing their craft with a new set of eyes.
    3) Disruptive children: Agreed again Chaz! See this is fun! Truly disruptive children need intensive interventions, outside the scope of a classroom teacher. Hey, i don’t like it when my child’s learning is compromised either. Our principal has set up an intervention room, where the classroom teacher can send disruptive kids in a very small class environment (less than 7)with a speciallly trained teacher to do school work, get services, learn about respect etc. He did this within our budget, using the same resources. Pretty smart, huh?
    4) School facilities: agree agree agree agree. But before wireles technology gets installed, I’d like teachers who actually check email and can turn on a computer. It’s about 50% in our school.
    5) Quality of Teachers: You think suburban teachers are better than nyc? no way.

  • 27 Chaz
    · Oct 28, 2005 at 7:36 pm

    nycparent,

    Good job! I really wish there were more parents like you in the schools. As for your responses:

    1. Bloomberg & Klein don’t care about teacher quality, only control. Therefore, if they were really serious in helping the students, their first prority would be to reduce class size.

    2. I agree with you on a general core curriculum & skills. However, you cannot convince me that your Leadership Acadamy Principal knows better than a well-respected mentor teacher when it comes to improving teacher performance.

    3. I agree here also, in fact I will bring your school’s handling of the disruptive student up to my principal in the next leadership committee meeting.

    4. How abour professional development for computer illiterate teachers? That would seem like a win-win solution. However, Joel Klein rather have them listen to mindless PD on abstract curriculum learning techniques from Columbia Teachers’ College.

    We really do agree on many issues and I am glad you do volunteer your time at the school. However, we still need to narrow our differences further and combine to defeat many of the outrageous actions of Klein’s educrats.

  • 28 NYC Educator
    · Oct 28, 2005 at 8:32 pm

    Not everything Bloomberg did in schools is bad. I appreciate that white bread was replaced with whole wheat. It makes school lunches almost good enough to eat.

  • 29 TeachMePlease
    · Oct 28, 2005 at 11:07 pm

    Listen white bread?!? My students when their on the end of the lunch line have gotten two pieces of bread and ketchup packs. I love my kids and went to the administration about it, nothing happened, told the kids to have their parents call the school, I called 311 and the DOE offices.

    I tell this not just as a response off topic…I say it because I love my students and love my job and will go to the mat for my kids. These people they “graduate” aren’t in it for the kids.

    Often no one cares for these kids at home, teachers do though. I hate admins and principals as a whole, because their goals are different from teachers. Our goals, as I see them, are to improve the students, the admins want better test scores. But if you take a principal who has never been a teacher or worked around children for a period of time, then you have a principal who doesn’t belong in a school. Schools aren’t a business, they’re an extended family if anything. They’re a place for discipline, education and meals. :) And CARING!

  • 30 Chaz
    · Oct 29, 2005 at 4:18 pm

    TeachMePlease,

    I could not have said it better. Good & caring teachers make a difference in a student’s life, now only if the DOE would let us do our job and not micromanage us.

  • 31 nycparent
    · Oct 29, 2005 at 9:45 pm

    Chaz, Here’s my disconnect: when the schools were not micromanaged they were even a worse disaster. What type of autonomy do teachers need? I’d like to understand better. Also, with that autonomy, don’t you think there needs to be more accountability on the teachers? I don’t think teachers would be willing to “own it”. Thoughts?

  • 32 Chaz
    · Oct 29, 2005 at 11:39 pm

    nycparent,

    I understand about your perception that the schools were worse. However, you must understand that the city & state tests were dumbed down to reflect progress.

    I’m certain that your child’s best teachers were innovative and enthusiastic. Ask these teachers if they think that micromanaging their classroom lessons will result in better or worse grades?

    In my case I had to threaten to file a grievance not to use a resequenced curriculum that I had no books for and would have most definitly resulted in fewer students passing the Regents.

    The best teachers are those teachers who make the students want to come to class and get the maximum passing percentage on the Regents (yes, I’m a high school teacher).

    Let’s see if we can narrow the gap further.

  • 33 Lucy2024
    · Oct 30, 2005 at 1:40 pm

    The title Principal originated from the person who was the principal teacher at a school. Therefore, how can someone be a principal who has never been a teacher?

    It would be interesing to know how many of the principals and aspiring principals have no teaching experience.

    I do not doubt that there are well qualified, hard working people with no classroom experience who can carry out the admistrative/organizational duties of a school principal. But when it comes to the classroom and curriculum, they have zero qualifications and have nothing to offer. How can they make educationally sound recommendations when they have never experienced the daily grind of being a teacher?

    I believe that I have the right to ask my principal and assistant principal to conduct a model lesson or two in order to demonstrate what he/she wants of me (lesson plan included). Is someone who has never taught qualified to do this?

    Aspiring principals, with teaching experience, will have an easier time gaining the resect of the teachers. Those who do not have any teaching experience? Good Luck!

  • 34 Persam1197
    · Oct 30, 2005 at 8:58 pm

    The old Board of Education was beginning to make in-roads towards improving test scores before Bloomberg and Klein took over. The real problem with our schools as I see it is the one size fits all approach. If I were the Chancellor, I would do the following to improve schools:

    1. Mandate a minimum of seven years in the field as a teacher before any administrative post. Lucy has it right: “principal” means principal teacher.
    2. Allow neophyte teachers to intern with seasoned teachers before giving them a full independent program.
    3. Reduce class sizes to manageable levels. I moved to the suburbs myself and there would be a riot if the schools out here had 34 students in a high school class. 22 is about standard.
    4. Let teachers teach. Klein and co. are looking for magical systems to compensate for inexperienced educrats and educators.
    There is no magic bullet. Transforming teachers into route instructors is a recipe for disaster. We’re no longer the sage on stage but the guide on the side. The regional literacy coach wants me to “chunk” my AP English Literature and Composition lessons into 10 minute mini lessons and incorporate the workshop model. I told my kids and it took ten minutes to just stop the laughter. If you don’t think I’m qualified to use the appropriate pedagogical tools (after 13+ years) to impart my 9 and a half years of college study in my discipline, can me.
    5. I’ve taught in closets and hallways. This semester I’m in the auditorium. Improve the physical plant citywide.
    6. No more small schools until the DOE gets its act together. Small schools have huge problems and quantity does not equate to quality. Fix the overcrowding mess made by the reorganization of the larger schools.
    7. Pay people what they’re worth. Klein and Bloomberg got what they claim they wanted: higher scores. That didn’t happen by magic; folks had to work harder to make it happen. The reward? Loss of grievances to LIF, weakened seniority rights, weakened SBO’s, and a pay scale with give backs that does not cover the rate of inflation. Until we pay teachers better (and I don’t mean merit pay), we will continue to be the training system for the ‘burbs as our comrades transfer out of here at record numbers.
    8. Increase the number of social workers and psychologists in the schools. Some of our kids are carrying burdens that make learning impossible.
    9. Create a collaborative atmosphere between teachers and administrators. If we don’t buy the product they’re selling, it’s not going to happen.

  • 35 firefly
    · Oct 30, 2005 at 10:58 pm

    Persam1197,

    I can’t believe what you said about your AP Lit class….I hope you told your AP where to go on that one. I teach AP Lit as well and it’s the only class they leave me alone about, thank goodness! Between you and me…I “lecture” sometimes…sometimes even for 20 minutes and then we have “class discussions”. I know….big no no’s but the kids love it, feel that they’ve learned alot and even thank me for it when they get to college and see how it’s done in the real world.

    If my AP knew, I’m sure I’d have a “U” by now.

    Keep up the great work Persam!

  • 36 Persam1197
    · Nov 1, 2005 at 5:01 am

    Thanks, Firefly!

  • 37 frogmugsy
    · Nov 2, 2005 at 7:10 pm

    Pardon me, but I’m not clear on a couple of things.

    Is Klein still firing or reassigning 10 percent of the principals in the city? If yes, what percentage of those vacancies are filled by his graduates of the leadership academy? Does the “Jack Welch school of management philosophy” have a direct effect on the LIF issue? Is this of any relevance?

  • 38 oldpro
    · Nov 3, 2005 at 4:20 am

    Great Teachers can be great Principals.
    Great Principals should be great teachers.

    Why is the DOE hiring $135,000 new and untrained principals? This gives “ON THE JOB TRAINING” a new meaning.