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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bloomberg: No Donated Food For The Homeless

 Bloomberg's Idea of Community
Bloomberg says the hungry eat enough already.
As if anyone needed any more proof that Bloomberg was bent on destroying anything related to community-building in New York City, the New York Post reports this:
So much for serving the homeless.
The Bloomberg administration is now taking the term “food police” to new depths, blocking food donations to all government-run facilities that serve the city’s homeless.
In conjunction with a mayoral task force and the Health Department, the Department of Homeless Services recently started enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters. Since DHS can’t assess the nutritional content of donated food, shelters have to turn away good Samaritans.
Anyone who needs a crash course in how to sterilize communities just needs to follow the Michael Bloomberg playbook:
a) Destroy large public schools that served communities for over 100 years and replace them with small gimmick and corporate charter schools.
b) Kick out the poorest and neediest religious congregations from school buildings under the guise of protecting church-state separation.
c) Institute “stop and frisk” and use the police department as your own personal army.
d) Prevent all food donations to the homeless.
Of course, all of these policies have to be clad in a concern for the people. Shutting down “failing schools” is good.  Protecting the sanctity of church-state separation is good. “Stop and frisk” protects the city from terrorism. Those food donations are too high in sodium for the starving people of the city. Only his cronies are capable of dolling out highly nutritious slop, since independent donations might reduce the need for millionaire food contractors.
We are living in a completely authoritarian and corporatized fiefdom run by a man who sees himself as a feudal lord. And why not? Like many other lords, he bought his title fair and square.

Rubberization And the Decline of Student Achievement

One of the telltale signs that the leadership of the New York City Department of Education wants to deliberately harm children in the public schools under their care is the fact that when principals exercise their power to remove anyone for any reason at any time and make up allegations that stick at 3020-a arbitration (or U-rating appeals, grievances, etc) like silly putty thrown against a wall, the charged employee is replaced by someone not qualified to teach the class.

This fact can be seen in any classroom, physical education, art, English, Social Studies, Regents classes, it doesn't matter. All that matters is that the employee is out of the classroom in which he/she is accused (rightly or wrongly). Often, Principals are "ordered" to remove someone, and told to do so immediately. So in their defense, they are not always given time to hire a person licensed to teach the subject, nor do they have the teaching staff to move teachers in who DO know the curriculum to replace the now absent teacher.

In order to cover up the chaos that often results in this process when a teacher is suddenly removed, principals scrub grades, change testing dates, suspend kids who "know" what happened, and lie to parents concerned about their child(ren)'s progress in the class....especially near to test times.

I always thought that if the NYC DOE gave any oversight to the "rubberization" process (sudden removal of teachers for any reason and placement of the accused in a hostile environment) they would have to consider the effect of the process while giving the authority to principals and Superintendents to remove anyone on a whim. But Bloomberg did not do that, and this is a cornerstone  his legacy.

The article below elaborates on the effect the last 10 years has had on students in the NYC public schools as well as elsewhere.

Betsy Combier

Teacher Turnover Affects All Students' Achievement, Study Indicates

When teachers leave schools, overall morale appears to suffer enough that student achievement declines—both for those taught by the departed teachers and by students whose teachers stayed put, concludes a study recently presented at a conference held by the Center for Longitudinal Data in Education Research. 
The impact of teacher turnover is one of the teacher-quality topics that's been hard for researchers to get their arms around. The phenomenon of high rates of teacher turnover has certainly been proven to occur in high-poverty schools more than low-poverty ones. The eminently logical assumption has been that such turnover harms student achievement.
But a couple years back, two researchers did an analysis  that showed, counter-intuitively, it's actually the less- effective teachers, rather than the more- effective ones, who tend to leave schools with a high concentration of low-achieving, minority students. It raised the question of whether a degree of turnover might be beneficial, since it seemed to purge schools of underperforming teachers.
When reporting on that study, I played devil's advocate by pointing out that it didn't address the cultural impact of having a staff that's always in flux. The recently released CALDER paper suggests I may have been right in probing this question.
Written by the University of Michigan's Matthew Ronfeldt, Stanford University's Susanna Loeb, and the University of Virginia's Jim Wyckoff, the new paper basically picks up on the same question. Even if overall teacher effectiveness stays the same in a school with turnover, it's well documented that turnover hurts staff cohesion and the shared sense of community in schools, the scholars reasoned. Could that have an impact on student achievement, too?
To find out, they looked at a set of New York City test-score data from 4th and 5th graders over the course of eight years. The data were linked to teacher characteristics. 
(All the usual caveats about limitations of test scores apply, of course.)
Among their findings:
• For each analysis, students taught by teachers in the same grade-level team in the same school did worse in years where turnover rates were higher, compared with years in which there was less teacher turnover. 
• An increase in teacher turnover by 1 standard deviation corresponded with a decrease in math achievement of 2 percent of a standard deviation; students in grade levels with 100 percent turnover were especially affected, with lower test scores by anywhere from 6 percent to 10 percent of a standard deviation based on the content area.
• The effects were seen in both large and small schools, new and old ones. 
• The negative effect of turnover on student achievement was larger in schools with more low-achieving and black students.
"Turnover must have an impact beyond simply whether incoming teachers are better than those they replaced—even the teachers outside of this redistribution are somehow harmed by it," the authors conclude. "Though there may be cases where turnover is actually helpful to student achievement, on average, it is harmful."
They authors call for more research to identify the mechanics of the decline—whether a loss of collegiality, or perhaps a loss of institutional knowledge among the staff due to turnover, is the cause of the lower achievement.