Thursday, June 13, 2019

PS 333 Votes Thumbs Down on Principal

You know, you'd think after years of ineptitude and embarrassment, the DOE would just pull the plug on bad principals, and set them to work on things that can't damage actual humans. I'm thinking a big old LEGO room at Tweed. They could build castles and exercise all their various power trips on plastic figures instead of living, breathing people. But with an army of administrators having graduated from Joel Klein's Leadership Academy, it's easier said than done.

It appears the Upper West Side of Manhattan is not precisely feeling the love for Principal Claire Lowenstein.  A DOE spokesperson has issued a nebulous statement, as always, offering vague support but promising nothing whatsoever:

“We will work closely with the community to ensure students and staff continue to receive the support they need,” she said.

Thanks a lot. Teachers are left like Sisyphus, pushing a boulder up a mountain of failed leadership. Yet over and over we speak out. At PS 333, if I'm not mistaken, The Daily News says 80% voted no confidence in her.  I'm told the other 20% mostly abstained, and almost no one supported her. That's not the sort of confidence I'd like to inspire. For me, as UFT chapter leader, it's SBO week. I'm required to get 55% minimum to pass that. Our SBO passed 180-0, so I'm gonna go out on a limb and say admin and UFT are better aligned at my school than hers.

There are shades of Ben Sherman here, tinged with not-so-subtle racism:

Many of their grievances were racially tinged, ranging from complaints Lowenstein ignored multiple allegations that a white eighth-grader was selling drugs in school to the claim Lowenstein allegedly told two black sixth-graders to “Leave your street problems outside of my school!”

It's hard for me to understand principals who ignore drugs in schools. I'd think the safety of students would be paramount. It's one thing to fail English, but quite another to foster an addiction problem while in elementary school. It sounds like there are elementary shortcomings to this principal. She's also accused of cronyism. You may say okay, but in 2019 the President of the United States practices blatant nepotism, so it's no big deal. However, the members at PS 333 appear not to be buying it:

The son of a former MSC parent is currently on P.S. 333’s payroll, and it is unclear as to what exactly his role is," the document states. “This staff member spends a good portion of the work day sitting in (a room), while listening to music in headphones.”

Hey that's a good gig. I know a lot of people who would excel at it. In fact, a whole lot of my students would be great at that.  Now sure, there are those nattering nitpickers who say, "Hey, maybe kids should take their earphones off, stop looking at the iPhone screen, and begin paying attention to the world around them." So maybe this principal is just going with the flow. Still, how exactly that makes her the role model her job entails is a mystery to me.

Forest Hills has got a new interim acting principal, but the lowlife DOE couldn't help but place ridiculous nonsense into their welcome message:

As you are aware, Monday was Ben Sherman’s last day as principal of Forest Hills High School. We thank Mr. Sherman for his leadership and wish him well in his new position.

We got rid of the guy for no reason, the DOE would have us think, and he's clearly done nothing remotely incorrect. So we're boldly standing up and taking no responsibility whatsoever.

It's time for the DOE to stop defending the indefensible, and start ridding itself of toxic principals at least as quickly as it presses 3020a charges against teachers who've done nothing to merit them. Given their track record, though, I'm gonna sit while I wait. Hopefully, whatever preposterous rationale they offer, they will move Lowenstein to a job more suited to her talents and inclinations.

Maybe they can send her to Trump's White House and call it a promotion.
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