Thursday, September 08, 2011

Walcott Offers Valuable Lip Service to Civility

NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, according to an incredibly superficial account in today's Times, is looking for better relationships with teachers, and better communication with the public. He's therefore reaching out in a calm fashion without frothing at the mouth. Judging by the article, this represents a paradigm change.

Actually, Walcott espouses precisely the same policies Klein did, a fact unnoticed in this article. These policies are largely untested and unsupported by evidence, but favored by a Billionaire Boys Club that pretty much dictates policy in America these days.

Walcott dismisses the notion, wildly popular among parents, of reducing class size, an initiative for which Bloomberg took hundreds of millions of dollars:
“If I have a great principal there and if I have great teachers there,” he said, “that, to me, benefits the students no matter how large the class size is.”
No matter how large? That's a frightening concept, deemed unworthy of comment or follow-up by the Times reporter.  What does the most powerful member of the DOE think about morale among teachers?
He dismissed the notion that there might be a morale problem among teachers — “no matter whether you have a three-person work force or a 135,000-person work force, there are people who will be unhappy,” he noted — and said it all boiled down to commitment.
I have seen a marked decline in morale since Mayor4Life took over. Does Walcott know that every city employee has gotten a contract and a raise except teachers? Why are we alone unworthy of a salary increase? In fact, the morale issue started well before that. Walcott's willful ignorance defies belief. What does Walcott say to alleviate this?
“You’ve got to perform or we’ll do something to you.”
What on earth does that mean? Likely it means that teachers alone will be held responsible for test scores. They're not his problem.  And they're certainly not Mayor4Life's problem. What else does Walcott say to boost morale? On tenure:
“I don’t believe in lifetime guarantees.”
I don't either, in fact. However, tenure is simply a guarantee of due process, not a lifetime guarantee. Stories like this one perpetuate the myth that tenure is anything otherwise. The fact that Walcott either doesn't know or care what tenure is speaks volumes about him. The fact is Walcott approves of all Mayor Bloomberg's policies and initiatives, and represents a direct continuation of the destructive and ineffectual policies initiated by Joel Klein.

Don't be fooled by his quiet demeanor, and don't let articles like this one fool you either.

Thanks to Reality-based Educator
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