Friday, October 23, 2020

Why Have a Chancellor When a Rubber Stamp Will Do?

Chancellor Richard Carranza presided over keeping schools open way too long, and dozens of UFT members now lie dead as a result. We are doing mostly remote learning now because it's simply not safe to place everyone in schools. Now, in an attempt to appear he actually accomplished something rather than failed miserably and inexcusably, Carranza wants to dump gifted and talented students into remote learning even post-apocalypse. 

Evidently, high achieving students don't need guidance from live humans in Carranza's fantasy world. Remote learning is something we developed to deal with an emergency, not a Carranza innovation. When we were pushed into this back in March, Carranza offered us no support whatsoever. He dragged us into buildings for three days and told our administrators, none of whom had or have experience with remote learning to somehow train us. 

Furthermore, rather than prepare or support us for this school year, he pursued an outlandish hybrid program that depended on 25-50% more teacher than actually exist. The only possible good that could come out of this would be a buyout, so that the new teachers aren't discarded when and if this emergency passes us by. Remote learning is a stopgap, and Carranza has failed to support it, us, or our students. For him to embrace it now is the height of hypocrisy.

As bad as he is, he's got nothing on the subordinates in "legal." This is a group of lawyers Bloomberg put together to make sure principals could do any goshdarn thing they pleased. They sit around somewhere and tell principals to ignore the contract so that chapter leaders waste an enormous amount of time before finally winning grievances with arbitrators, assuming said arbitrators have better reading skills than the DOE lawyers.

The other day I was shocked that legal decided sub-paraprofessionals were not actually paraprofessionals, and that rules agreed upon for paraprofessionals did not apply to them. Specifically, "legal" was telling principals that substitute paraprofessionals had to stay in buildings for six hours and fifty minutes, while full-time paras could leave thirty minutes early like teachers and finish their work at home. In fact, every sub para I know works full time with a single student and is simply waiting for the DOE to offer them full time jobs.

As though that weren't enough, I was told yesterday that sub paras, even those with students who were fully remote, are now required to do all work from school buildings. There is absolutely no reason for this, and the only thing to motivate such a directive is pettiness and vindictiveness. In fact, anything that places more people than necessary in school buildings increases the risk of COVID. 

I'm glad the chancellor has time to sit around and dream up programs. It's nice that he can sit in his clean office and make up things he deems innovative. For those of us actually doing the work, things look a whole lot different. At this point, it's hard to see why we need a chancellor at all. If he doesn't care about those of us who serve the children, if he doesn't care whether his actions spread a deadly disease, and if he holds us in such little regard that he allows small-minded lawyers to make arbitrary counter-productive rules, why do we need him at all?

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