Sunday, July 05, 2020

The School Safety Shuffle

There's a recent Post article that suggests it's a bad idea to take school security from the police and assign it to the DOE. They trudge out Mona David and her mysterious parent organization, and offer two examples of bad behavior before the officers were under the supervision of NYPD. David, of course, is the woman who thinks teacher tenure will lead us to Armageddon. I'm sure she's good for a quote here and there.

The two examples are the kind of argument frequently used against us. This teacher is awful, and that teacher is awful, and therefore all teachers are awful. It's exactly the sort of argument people like Campbell Brown and Mona David like to use. Take away teacher tenure, and have them depend on the tender mercies of Joel Klein and Mike Bloomberg, or every single teacher will be terrible. They take a few sensational examples, a quote here or there from one questionable source or other, and the case is closed.

I don't know about you, but I could tell stories about rogue police officers and write a similar story. I could cite examples of rogue reporters and write a similar story. We have a President who tells stories about reporters who tell the truth and condemns them for it. If you want to make an argument against a group, you don't do it effectively via a few sensational arguments about outliers. Arguments of that sort are called stereotypes. I'm offended by them, and you should be too. They can be used against any and all of us.

Will the DOE do a terrible job supervising school safety officers? Of course they will. The DOE does a terrible job at everything. It's a monument to blithering incompetence, a master of bureaucracy for bureaucracy's sake. I don't know how much time I've wasted over the last decade fighting with idiots employed by Tweed. Any chapter leader who actually does the job will agree with me.

Was NYPD successful in transforming school safety into a force that made a great difference? Here's something I'd argue is notable:

The city made “school safety agent” a civil service job requiring an exam, full background investigation, and 17 weeks of training. Physical agility was required for emergency response and rescues.

I guess that's a huge improvement over, "Here's your uniform and good luck." I'm not particularly sure what it has to do with NYPD control, though. Anyone could improve standards, or at least establish them.

Are we to believe, based on this article, there are no individuals in school safety who've acted inappropriately since NYPD took over? That's simply impossible. It's easy to find people who don't do the job in any group. There are always outliers.

DOE control will not improve anything about school safety. It's a bone de Blasio is throwing to pay lip service to New Yorkers upset about police misconduct. He's not defunding the police. He's taking money that used to flow through NYPD and channeling it to a different agency. I'm not sure why the mayor takes us for such rubes.

I recall a time when safety officers did a better job. I recall a group of safety officers who were deployed to our school. This particular group of officers worked very closely with our deans. They got to know our students. A lot of us knew them by name. That's not to say we don't know some like that now, but for me it's no longer the rule. I'm not sure that had anything to do with who was in charge centrally.

Will DOE try to make safety officers a part of our school community? It's hard for me to imagine how they'd do that. As far as I can tell they're hugely indifferent to what actually goes on with those of us who do actual work. I waste a great deal of my time due to their grotesque ineptitude, and I don't imagine that changing any time soon.

This reminds me of nothing more than Bloomberg's school closings. Too many kids failed, so he closed the school. He sent the same kids to another school, they failed again, and he closed that school as well. While he helped no one, and accomplished nothing, he was successful in blaming teachers for systemic failure. It made him look good to people who read lazy reporting and failed to question it. That was good enough for Mike Bloomberg. He "got it done."

Ultimately, what he got done was nothing. That's exactly what de Blasio is getting done with this superficial shuffle.
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