Friday, October 02, 2020

NYC Hybrid Model Designed to Fail

So says City Council member Mark Treyger in a great piece in New York Intelligencer. Why is it designed to fail? Treyger came to the same conclusions I did when I first saw this. Where are the magical co-teachers coming from? How can we send subs and Tweedies out to teach subjects they may or may not be familiar with? How will schools find the bodies to do this, and shouldn't we be looking for something better than bodies as teachers?

UFT endorsed this program, and I think it was specifically because of the need for extra teachers. Right now de Blasio is still talking about laying off tens of thousands of city workers, including 9,000 UFT members. It's certainly better to see the city hiring thousands of teachers than firing them. Maybe, if we allow ourselves to dream, we could imagine those extra teachers hanging around and reducing class sizes. That's the impossible dream, but there it is.

In reality, of course, de Blasio hasn't hired nearly enough teachers. If I recall correctly, one year we averted Bloomberg layoffs but he let our numbers dwindle via attrition, and we're thus down thousands of teachers. This is why classes of 34 are now more the rule than the exception. Of course in the years before the apocalypse crippled our budget, de Blasio never bothered to hire back those teachers. Had he done so, the hybrid model he now advocates might have a snowball's chance in hell. As things stand, such a statement would be overly optimistic.

And now, the very first school in Queens has closed due to COVID. If that's not a harbinger of things to come, I don't know what is. Even when you have a 1% positive rate, if you have 200 students, that rate will be enough to close your school. I'm not exactly sure why anyone would be surprised at this. We've had two reports at our school. One was last summer, and landed us on the DOE list of schools with a COVID case. However, that person reported before the building opened. In the DOE's unlimited capacity for ineptitude, it didn't bother checking dates. The second was last week, from a student who hasn't set foot in school yet. It's inevitable, though, that we're going to see real cases and real closures. 

I don't think the plan was designed to fail. I think it's a stupid design, and I think de Blasio and his people are too inept to even think it through. They evidently paid some crook millions to dream up this nonsense, and maybe they didn't want to look as though they'd just paid for the Brooklyn Bridge. Too late, though. If you were selling the Brooklyn Bridge, de Blasio and Carranza would be your top prospects. 

It wasn't designed to fail. It was designed to make money by pulling the wool over the rubes' eyes. And boy, did the mayor and chancellor pay these crooks off. It's remarkable, because any thinking teacher would come to the same conclusion Treyger did. But the top teacher, Carranza, couldn't be bothered thinking it through. Of course, ever since Carranza demanded the signatures of 108,000 epidemiologists before closing COVID-infested schools, I've seen his mission as doing whatever the hell de Blasio says. 

I hope individual schools can figure out just what the hell they need to do, and I hope UFT chapter leaders and principals can collaboratively work to figure it out. It would really be a shame if we had to rely on all those TFA leftovers as co-teachers. I realize they all spent ten or twenty minutes as teachers before  Bloomberg hired them to sit around Tweed and tell the rest of us what to do.

Still, I'm a lot more confident working with my existing colleagues.

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