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Monday, December 2, 2013

What is The Future For Teachers Under De Blasio?

December 1, 2013
UFT President Mike Mulgrew

The New Mayor and the Teachers

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will take office facing the need to forge new labor agreements with the unions that represent nearly all of New York City’s 300,000 municipal workers. The largest of these, the United Federation of Teachers, is in a particularly sour mood. Representing 40 percent of the city’s work force, the union has been without a contract since 2009.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed, starting in 2010, that all new union contracts get a three-year freeze in base pay, to be followed by two years of raises at 1.25 percent each. During his campaign, Mr. de Blasio said that a retroactive pay raise — dating back to the expiration of the last contract — would be possible only if offset by cost savings. That’s a good start. But any sort of raise will require concessions in exchange. He will need to press the union to loosen work rules that stifle innovation and favor senior teachers over younger ones who may in fact be more talented. The union must also let go of the unspoken presumption that every teacher is entitled to a job for life. Here are some key issues:
SENIORITY Seniority trumps everything and is treated as a proxy for excellence. Under current rules, a school that has an enrollment shortfall or budget problem and has to cut one of its five math teachers cuts the least senior teacher, period. In progressive systems like the one in Washington, D.C., which has made big gains on federal assessment tests, decisions about which teachers to cut are based on a combination of factors, including how they stack up on evaluations and whether they possess special skills. The goal is to keep the most talented teachers.
Similarly, the salary schedule in New York is calculated to reward longevity, requiring 22 years to get to the top level. Teachers are also rewarded for work toward advanced degrees, but this coursework does not necessarily have any bearing on how poorly or well they teach.
Meanwhile, younger teachers start out with relatively low salaries and are at risk of leaving the system for higher pay elsewhere. The scales should be rebalanced so that teachers who are judged highly effective under the new evaluation system can move up quickly in the pay scale. Highly effective teachers should be paid more for teaching in areas with shortages or in high-need schools that have difficulty attracting qualified staff.
INACTIVE TEACHERS In 2005, the union took a brave step when it agreed to abandon a rule that guaranteed senior teachers the right to claim a job in another school — even if the new school did not want them — by bumping less experienced teachers. The change gave principals more control over who works for them, without grave damage so far to senior teachers. Six of 10 teachers who are told their position has been eliminated find jobs in other schools relatively quickly, according to the city, while an additional 10 percent simply leave the system.
Teachers who do not find positions, however, are placed in a costly reserve pool. They work as substitutes and are paid full salaries at an annual cost, according to city data, of $144 million a year. Many of them do not even seek permanent jobs, the city says. Increasingly, school systems like those in Chicago and Washington, D.C., remove inactive teachers who do not find jobs in the system within a prescribed period, through layoffs, unpaid leaves, early retirement or buyouts. Similar arrangements should be worked out in New York City.
TEACHER DISCIPLINE One particularly disturbing provision in the old contract is that it allows teachers to be absent without notice for 20 days before they are fired. The provision is not often invoked, the union says, but its very existence sends the wrong message. Moreover, there should be a clear list of offenses that, if substantiated, lead to termination. Under current rules, official investigations that uncover serious abuses like sexual misconduct are subject to review by arbitrators who can veto terminations in favor of lesser penalties.
FLEXIBLE SCHEDULES The teachers’ union has been particularly hostile to the city’s thriving charter schools, which receive public financing, are exempt from some state rules and regulations, and, on average, are outperforming traditional schools. One of their advantages is that individual charter schools can set many of their own rules, scheduling longer school days and making more time for parent-teacher conferences. Traditional schools often follow a by-the-book approach that dictates the length of the day, frequency of meetings and so on. They should be pushed toward greater flexibility.
All in all, Mr. de Blasio has serious work ahead if the city’s school are to improve

PS 132 Principal Anissa Chalmers (Reilly) Stars in a Violent Gangsta Movie "Gang Girl" on Amazon for $6.99

PS 132 Principal Anissa Chalmers (now Anissa Reilly)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I rated the movie. Despite countless incidents reported to authorities by staff, Anissa Chalmers thought she was a "teflon principal" - everything reported wouldn't stick. Her staff couldn't take it anymore. Do not let your children watch her movie.

Think about the double standard of the New York City Department of Education, where a teacher who taps a child on the shoulder and says "good job!" or, "Let's get back to work!" is brought to 3020-a for termination by the Gotcha Squad. Please continue to send me and media outlets such as the NY POST stories like this one so we all - parents, teachers, staff - can expose this pattern of lawlessness at the NYC DOE. DOE, I hope you pay for the dental work for Haifa Soto's son!!!!

Betsy Combier 

PS 132


Bronx school principal’s movie role as gun-slinging gangsta alarms parents

  • Last Updated: 5:26 AM, March 17, 2013
  • Posted: 11:45 PM, March 16, 2013
  • LINK
The principal of a Bronx elementary school moonlights as an actress, starring in a bloody B-movie as a vicious gangbanger who deals drugs, robs, rapes and murders.
Anissa Chalmers, principal of PS 132 in Morrisania, plays a gangsta who shoots an innocent woman in an initiation rite, rapes and kills a man for revenge, and slaughters three others in the un-rated “Gang Girl.”

 In real life, Chalmers, 40, is under investigation by the city Department of Education for an undisclosed allegation, an agency spokeswoman said.

Over 112 days in the current academic year, her school has seen 172 reported student “incidents,” including 111 offenses such as smoking, cursing and misusing property. PS 132 has been the scene of several recent violent altercations among kids, and two secretaries were charged with theft.
PS 132 Principal Anissa Chalmers
“Gang Girl” was released in 2009, about three years after Chalmers was named principal of PS 132, where she makes $129,920 a year.
The movie, set in The Bronx, is filled with foul language, beatings, blood and sexual violence. It ends with Chalmers’ character, gang leader “Queen V,” on death row.
“Open, motherf--ker. You like the way that tastes, n----r?” she snarls, shoving a gun into a man’s mouth. She then blows him away.
Some teachers and parents say life imitates art at the school.
Last June, an 8-year-old boy at her school slashed a 9-year-old classmate’s neck with a razor.
Parents say bullying and fighting are a big problem at PS 132, which the DOE gave an overall grade of “D” but an “F” for student performance and an “F” for “environment,” which includes safety.
One mother, Haifa Soto, said her 10-year-old son, Zahid Benzan, suffered a cracked front tooth in a fight last year. Chalmers, she said, refused to file a report and did not call cops.
“She just told me, ‘Go to the dentist,’ ” Soto said.
Shortly after The Post asked the DOE about the incident Friday, Soto arrived at school at dismissal to find Zahid in Chalmers’ office.
“She wanted to see his face,” the furious mother recalled.
In 2011, the mother of a third-grader who traded blows with a classmate sued the city. After speaking with Chalmers and a teacher, cops handcuffed the kid and “paraded” her out of the school, the suit said. No charges were brought. The city settled for $20,000.
In 2008, two PS 132 secretaries were arrested and charged with looting $200,000 in school funds. Last November, they were put on probation and ordered to pay a total $106,000 in restitution.
Some parents have seen “Gang Girl” — DVDs sell on the street for $5, and an online rental is $1.99 — and were disturbed by it, despite a redemptive ending in which Chalmers’ Queen V character turns to Christianity and serves in the Scared Straight program.
“It’s crazy. It’s real graphic,” a mother said, referring to scenes in which Queen V is raped and tortures one of her attackers before killing him. “It’s not something you want your kids to see. My son hasn’t seen it, but imagine if he did?”
Another mom said: “One of these students could find this on the Internet, and then what? How am I supposed to explain that to my children?”
Teachers say the principal is hardly a role model for kids.
“She’s like the ‘Gang Girl’ principal,” one said. “The video is reflective of her personality at school — the bullying, in-your-face approach. She can be very intimidating.”
Chalmers also has parts in the indie flicks “Speedsuit,” about a school bully, and “We Fall Down,” about a pastoral couple in crisis.
She referred questions to the DOE press office, which declined to comment on her “Gang Girl” role.
One parent defended Chalmers, saying: “She’s a great principal. Ronald Reagan waved a gun in Western movies, and he became president of the United States.”
PS 132 in Morrisania is a blackboard jungle:
* Two school secretaries charged in 2008 with stealing $200,000.
* 172 reported student “incidents” over 112 days this school year, including 111 offenses such as smoking, cursing and misusing property.
* 10-year-old girl cuffed by cops in 2010 after exchanging kicks and punches with classmate; city pays $20,000 to settle mother’s lawsuit.
* Eight-year-old boy slashes classmate’s neck with a razor
* 10-year-old boyhas front tooth chipped off in school fight
* Chalmers remains under investigation since last year

DOE raps ‘gangsta’ principal

  • Last Updated: 3:59 AM, March 18, 2013
  • Posted: 1:03 AM, March 18, 2013
  • LINK
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott yesterday blasted a Bronx principal for playing a gun-wielding gangbanger in a bloody B-movie.
“The chancellor is aghast at the images in and content of the film, which are totally inappropriate,’’ a city Department of Education spokeswoman said.
The Post revealed yesterday that Anissa Chalmers, principal of PS 132 in Morrisania, acted in the low-budget flick “Gang Girl,” which features beatings, shootings and rape.
“The chancellor is always concerned about both real and perceived violence and its impact on students,” the spokeswoman said.
Chalmers’ school has seen several recent violent altercations. PS 132 got an overall grade of “D’’ and an “F’’ for “environment,’’ which includes safety.
Chalmers received a waiver to appear in the film, but the DOE didn’t know the film’s content, according to the spokeswoman.