Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Moskowitz Academy Retains Only 20 of 67 Teachers, Graduates 22% of Its Students

Why is that? Did they all suck? I mean, that's what Eva mostly says about us. We all suck. That's why we need Moskowitz Academies. After all, they will start off with 73 students and graduate 16. That's a stunning success record, isn't it? Wouldn't your principal offer you a raise and a bonus if you managed to pass 22% of your students?

Of course, now we're talking about a 12-year record. So they managed to hold on to that many kids. What happened to the other 80%? Well, for all you know, they're in your class. Are they passing? Who knows? But if they aren't, then you suck. They aren't Eva's problem anymore.

That's a pretty sweet deal, isn't it? I mean, Eva makes five times as much money as your principal, she has a 22% graduation rate, and the media treats her like a movie star. Hillary Clinton will stand up in front of God and everybody and tell the AFT we can learn from "public charter schools." Here's a hot tip--the only thing "public" about public charter schools is that they take our tax money. We get no say in how they're run, and if New York City dares tell Moskowitz she needs to sign the agreement everyone else did to run pre-K, she'll sue and win.

After all, she's got a 22% graduation rate. Who the hell are we to tell her what to do? OK sure, the school you worked at for twenty years had a considerably higher rate, and Mayor Bloomberg turned it into five Basket-Weaving Academies. But that's neither here nor there. Whatever Eva wants, Eva gets.

Mercedes Schneider, ever the optimist, finds light in the darkness:

At least the percentage of returning SA high school teachers is higher than the percentage of students who made it all the way through from first grade to high school graduation in 2018.

That's true, of course. On the other hand, we're talking about a one year turnover here. Should this rate continue, over the time these students had, we'll have a 360% teacher turnover. Now that's not bad for Moskowitz Academies. I believe that all lessons are pre-written, by Eva herself for all I know, so it doesn't really matter who teaches. Maybe a group of well-trained rhesus monkeys could do the job, literally work for peanuts, and solve the whole institutional memory issue. Who knows?

I doubt it, though. It's pretty cruel to make kids pee their pants because they're doing test prep. I love animals, and I'd never ask an animal to encourage a practice like that. City kids need people who understand and encourage them. City kids need people who accept them as they are. The Moskowitz Experience is an abysmal failure, propped up by incurious reporters who don't think things through, and politicians interested in just how many suitcases of cash DFER and all the hedge fund reformies can deliver.

Those of us who spend our lives serving the children of New York City are regularly vilified in the press for the offense of serving the children of New York City. The Moskowitz Model is unsustainable not only for children, but for adults as well. Grownup teachers are role models. They need to be able to pursue lives and happiness. Being a veritable slave in a test-prep factory does not afford that pursuit.

I want my kids to be happy, and the only way I can encourage that in them is to reach down deep and find it somewhere in myself. While I certainly hope they pass The Test, whatever it is, and while I will help them do that if that's what they need, happiness is more fundamental, and will lead them to success well beyond what "Success Academy" offers. In fact, "Success Academy" appears to fail the overwhelming majority of its students.

I certainly hope that we offer them something better when they come to us. It would be pretty hard work to offer them anything worse.
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