Friday, August 03, 2018

95% Satisfaction With NYC Schools

That's what the survey says this year. Given that, are the editorial pages going to be full of praise for the work we do? Shouldn't the News, the Post, and the Times be doing cartwheels and telling the mayor to give us a substantial raise for our great work under often harrowing circumstances? Will they finally say, hey, let's revise the evaluation system so that it's something to support good teaching, as opposed to sneak attacks by Boy Wonder supervisors who couldn't teach their way out of paper bags?

Personally, I won't be holding my breath to read that. I know, though, that 55% of teachers approving of Carmen Fariña is extraordinarily high. You know what that says to me? It says that we are far more generous of spirit and understanding than those who make careers out of judging us. Sadly, I can't include myself among all those high-minded educators. I thought Fariña did an awful job, I said so on the survey, and it's nowhere more evident than in her declaration a raging blizzard was a beautiful day because Macy's was open.

Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of parents are satisfied with city schools. What can we conclude from that? For me, it's obvious. If parents are satisfied with public schools, it's time to celebrate and embrace them. It's also time to stop frittering away precious resources on reformy nonsense.

Exhibit A is Moskowitz and her plainly failed mission. The overwhelming majority of those who start with her finish with us. That's because we simply take everyone. We don't make ridiculous demands of children and their parents. We don't make parents come and work in our schools because we know they have to work elsewhere to make ends meet. We don't make children do test prep until they pee their pants, and we don't ridicule them if they need more time. We don't make "got to go" lists and we don't humiliate students by hanging up their names for progress or lack thereof. In fact, we don't even take our students on buses to Albany on school days to lobby for our self-serving interests.

And then we come to bullying. I haven't got a simple solution to that. Kids can be cruel. I will say, though, that charter schools ought not to practice bullying.  It certainly appears Moskowitz Academies do. Charter schools ought to follow chancellor's regulations. Not allowing a child to visit a bathroom ought to be considered abuse. We need not encourage that, even in the name of "no excuses."

In fact, charter schools ought not to exist at all. New Yorkers voted in Bill de Blasio overwhelmingly, and he ran on a platform of opposition to charters. Governor Andrew Cuomo, after having taken who knows how many suitcases full of cash from Eva's hedge fund BFFs, decided that was unacceptable. Cuomo hated Bloomberg for being the reformiest guy in the state, and here was his chance to claim the mantle, along with whatever financial rewards it brought. So Cuomo and the Heavy Hearted Assembly passed a bill that NYC would have to pay rent for charters it disapproved.

This week, however, Cuomo is posing as Bernie Sanders Lite. He's now the bestest friend labor unions ever had. Given that, maybe it's time for him to renounce Moskowitz and her rich pals. After all, it's becoming pretty trendy to reject tainted money. Zephyr Teachout may well take the Attorney General nomination, solely with contributions from people like you and me. Who knows? Maybe Cuomo's finger, perpetually up in the air to see which way the wind is blowing, will direct him to represent, you know, people instead of money.

It's pretty clear, though, that if 95% of parents are happy with their schools, it's time to stop bashing working teachers. We must be doing something right. Maybe it's time for the editorial pages to slow down all that bluster about how incompetent we are and how much we suck. Maybe it's time to allow educators to make decisions about education. Maybe it's time to step back and trust us a little bit.

That is, unless editorial writers have some interest in an agenda that does not actually reflect the beliefs and interests of the public. That couldn't be, could it?

Time will tell.
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