Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Back to the Rubber Room!

I ran into a concerned citizen who knew of my interest in the Teacher Reassignment Center. They had just returned from Speaking to the Mayor at the Manhattan Public Hearing on Mayoral School Control. Their speech is on record but they gave me permission to print it here if I encourage other like minded folk that are interested in speaking out to do so at one of these venues:


February 12 at the Williamson Theater, College of Staten lsland 10:30 A.M.

March 13 at the Lovinger Theater, Lehman College, The Bronx 10:00 A.M.

March 20 at Klitgord Auditorium, New York City Technical College, Brooklyn 10:00 A.M.

ln order to speak, you must go to the web site http:/www.assembly.stateny.us/comm./Ed/20090l/form.html

Notice of Public Hearing Governance of New York City School District.

You download the form Public Hearing Reply Form, fill out the form, and fax to Albany with any documents you wish to have on the record. You cannot speak without sending the form to Albany. All this must be done a day before the hearing. Good luck!

Here is the speech as it was read. I hope it motivates you as it did me when I first heard it!

I would like to discuss mayoral control as it pertains to the teachers who are currently in the reassignment centers. Currently, 1.000 teachers throughout the city are being removed from their positions. Over 5,000 teacher over the past four years.

Mayor Bloomberg would have the public believe that by removing teachers, who are designated "ineffective" the students will benefit. The Mayor believes that the students reading and math scores will improve if the teachers are removed.

Let me give you the fiscal costs. Mayor Bloomberg has set up a unit at the Board of Education called "The Teachers Performance Unit. A euphuism for removing teachers. The cost of this unit, approximately one million dollars. After the principal sends a form to the unit targeting a teacher, the teacher is then sent to the reassignment center. The tenured teacher is paid their salary, a substitute teacher replaces the teacher; The

teachers are housed at various sites; Security guards are employed. Approximately 4 security guards per unit. The is cost over 200 million dollars.

The teachers careers are basically over. They are given a hearing. If found guilty they can either be terminated or given heavy fines. The fines range from 2,500 to 20,000. They are sent back to a school as ATR which is

basically a substitute teacher. Can you imagine if you did this to other municipal employees.

Let me share some of the charges the teachers are accused of:

  • A teacher was holding a diet coke while waiting for students to come to class.
  • The teacher sent a student to the nurse. The principal said the teacher did not follow the protocol of sending the student to the health aide first.
  • A teacher was accused of holding a magazine while in the hall
  • A teacher did not put the heading on the chalkboard.

The teachers of New York City do not deserve this disrespect. At this time, approximately 3,000 teachers are litigating in the Supreme Court. This is costing the city additional money in legal fees. This seems to be the

Mayors pet project. I am asking that you consider not authorizing Mayoral control of the Board of Education. Mayor Bloomberg has abused the power; I think the original system of Independent Board Members with community board members to represent the parents is far more equitable. The children’s math and reading scores do not justify Mayor Bloomberg’s attack on teachers. According to Assemblyman Brenen’s report, there was only 9% increase in the reading and math scores since 2004.

Despite the fiscal crisis in the city, Mayor Bloomberg is still sending teachers to the reassignment center. If in fact there is a vote to reauthorize Mayor Bloomberg, I ask that there be some controls on his power. The teachers should not be under attack by the mayor. l ask you to consider that the teachers should not be made scapegoats for the educational system that still produces over fifty percent of students who are unable to graduate. The present system that is in place is the problem and not the teachers. Mayor Bloomberg is concerned with the business of politics. Instead of the business of producing a quality of education for our children.

No comments: