Friday, August 14, 2020

De Blasio's Three Prongs of Wrongs

It'ts not easy getting something so wrong that there's no way out. But Mayor Bill de Blasio is special. He's managed to do three things in such an utterly inept fashion that there's evidently no coming back.  

Error number one was the most egregious, because that's the one that enabled errors two and three. The first thing de Blasio did was, rather than decide what the best thing was he could do for city schools and city kids, he simply come to the conclusion that he needed to open the buildings. 

Maybe he was upset in being forced to close them back in March. Waiting too long to do that is the thing that will forever overshadow his past accomplishments, including pre-K. This summer, whatever the reasons, de Blasio came to a conclusion and worked his way back to rationalize it. That's backward and I rate it ineffective.

Error number two is arithmetic. I don't know which million-dollar consultant the mayor (who's now contemplating mass layoffs) wasted his money on. Whoever it is charged too much. The plan is worth less than nothing.

It's not really tough to poke holes in. Let's say we all teach English and there are five of us in the department. Let's say we teach 25 classes. Under de Blasio's plan, whoever teaches live doesn't teach online. However, whoever teaches live only meets ten students at a time. High school teachers know well that class size is 34, so what happens to the other 24 students?

They, of course, are learning online, somehow. Our department now has 50 classes rather than 25, but we still have only five teachers. Bill de Blasio thinks we can have a half-hour conversation with whoever in the morning and get that person up to speed. There are two issues with this. The first, and the most important, is that this person simply does not exist. That's the hurdle you have to get over in order to get to the second issue. Since the person doesn't exist, issue number two ought not to be that dire.

It is, though. What if I'm a sub they just hired yesterday and they want me to teach a science class? I haven't studied science since high school, and I was not very good at it back then, I will never forget failing biology all year, spending the last two weeks of school with my nose in a red Barron's review book, and passing the Biology Regents exam with a grade of 68. (I got higher and lower grades in high school, but that's the only one I recall, because it was a miracle.) I am the last person on earth you'd want teaching science, and a half hour with someone competent would not make me capable of teaching it at any level, not even for one day. 

Of course that's a moot point, since whoever your co-teacher is does not exactly exist and. This brings me to my next point--the chancellor seems to be aware of this:

So they know their plan relies on magic, and they move forth with it anyway. Can you imagine using a lesson plan like that? Can you imagine what your supervisor would say to you if you were to rely on magic in order to achieve an instructional goal? This is our leader, the top teacher in the city, and he's shouting it from the rooftops. I don't know exactly how you make plans like that and score a gig like this, but as I'm fond of saying, I'm just a lowly teacher. 

De Blasio's third issue is not the most egregious, but in many ways it's the worst. Even if we were to somehow forgive him for allowing his ambition to trump his logic, it's tough to look away at the fact that this system, even if they find the magical co-teachers, is simply cruel to children. Imagine going to school and being told you must sit here, not there. No you can't talk to your friends. You can't pass notes and you can't use your phone. You can't talk to that cute girl or boy, and who the hell do you think you are imagining what they look like behind the mask?

Imagine how depressing it will be to have a teacher, a role model, with whom you cannot actually interact. No, I can't come over there and look at your work, and no I can't collect it either, because for all I know you have cooties. Keep your frigging distance and don't take your mask off. The real trick of being an educator is showing children where they can find joy. It's surprising them with something unexpected that makes their minds go places it would not have otherwise.

You can't do that when you're just standing there making them sit in some weird way. If you're gonna treat kids like that you may as well send them to Moskowitz Academies. I don't know about de Blasio, but Carranza should know better. It's his job to know better. 

It's heartbreaking that, at this point, Carranza seems more preoccupied with entertaining de Blasio's pipe dreams than serving NYC/s 1.1 million children. I've met this man and I know he can do better. I hope we don't have to wait until October, and I hope no one gets sick or dies from this idiotic plan. You know me and my rose-colored glasses.

This mayor and this chancellor, aside from their outrageous ineptitude, are gambling with over a million lives, simply because they can. That's about the farthest thing from leadership I can imagine. I know they're term-limited, but we need to do absolutely everything within our power to limit the damage they can cause. That's got to be priority one for anyone who cares about the children, families, and working people in New York City.

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