A close-up look at NYC education policy, politics,and the people who have been, are now, or will be affected by these actions and programs. ATR CONNECT assists individuals who suddenly find themselves in the ATR ("Absent Teacher Reserve") pool and are the "new" rubber roomers, people who have been re-assigned from their life and career. A "Rubber Room" is not a place, but a process.
Carmen Farina, NYC Chancellor, is Retiring- For The Third Time
NYC's "favorite" grandmother, a person who I've seen shred another person so quickly if you blink it's already done, is "retiring" again, for the third time.
She is a backstabber who despises unionized teachers, and parents who do not stand in line to do whatever she wants. And yes, I know from personal experience working with her for two years as a parent and she was Principal of PS 6.
PLEASE, whoever follows Bill de Blasio as Mayor, don't bring Carmen back! New York City does not need another "children last" person.
The NY POST Editorial Board (see article below) says it right:
"It’ll be tough to find someone who will be as diligently indifferent to a disgraceful status
spent her adult life working in the system, knew all the reasons why the
schools “couldn’t” do better, and regularly lectured on how it’s inevitable
that any system so huge, facing so many challenges, has its lemons.
effort of her term, de Blasio’s Renewal program, was a half-billion-dollar
exercise in seeking marginal improvement from failed schools, rather than
simply shutting them down and opening new ones in their place.
She managed to set expectations low enough that just 21 of the
original 94 schools “graduated” out of the program — even as plummeting
enrollment and other woes forced her to close another 27 after
Ever a team
player, she embraced the watering-down of the school-discipline code and the
convenient revision of surveys that might otherwise reveal the negative impact
on school safety. The first student in over a generation to die in a city
school was stabbed to death on her watch.
As a principal,
Fariña had refused to hire teachers from the Absent Teacher Reserve pool.
As chancellor, she assented to de Blasio’s plan to foist these “educators” on
schools that don’t want them, especially struggling ones.
And she oversaw
the mayor’s cold war on charter schools, happily refusing classroom space to
institutions that actually offer poor and minority kids the opportunity that
the regular schools don’t.
Team de Blasio
has already begun its search for a new chancellor. It’ll be tough to find
someone who will be as diligently indifferent to a disgraceful status quo.
Carmen Fariña, Head of New York City Schools, Is Retiring
Carmen Fariña will retire from her position as New York City’s schools chancellor in the coming months, according to city officials familiar with the discussions. Her retirement is expected to be announced on Thursday.
Ms. Fariña has run the nation’s largest school system since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office four years ago. She inherited the Department of Education from the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, which had shredded the traditional playbook for running the city’s schools. It redesigned how students applied to high school, gave more power to principals, closed struggling schools and opened hundreds of new ones.
Ms. Fariña’s tenure, by contrast, bears the marks of a steady march forward. Graduation rates and test scores have risen, and she has bent a behemoth city agency toward her preferred methods, but there was no sense of the transformational turning of a great ship.
In a letter that is expected to be sent out on Thursday morning, Ms. Fariña writes, “Four years ago, Mayor de Blasio asked me to unretire at age 70 to join his leadership team and become schools chancellor.”
She writes that she “took the job with a firm belief in excellence for every student, in the dignity and joyfulness of the teaching profession, and in the importance of trusting relationships where collaboration is the driving force,” adding that she plans to “retire (again) in the coming months.”
On the most visible level, under Ms. Fariña, the department turned away from Mr. Bloomberg’s strategy of closing large, low-performing schools and opening new, smaller schools in their place. Instead, Ms. Fariña invested in a model called community schools, which aimed to raise achievement by infusing schools with social services designed to address the challenges of poverty.
The most prominent test of that theory has been the department’s Renewal Schools program. The city paired 94 struggling schools with social service organizations, in addition to providing them with coaching and an extra hour of class each day. The program has been costly — it is expected to total more than half a billion dollars by the end of this school year — and its results have been mixed. The department has decided to close or merge 33 of the schools, including a group of 14 whose fate was announced on Monday.
Where the Bloomberg administration was known for its love of data, Ms. Fariña, a career educator who was a teacher, principal, superintendent and deputy chancellor during her 50-year career, preferred to depend on her intuition, or that of her deputies. Early in her tenure, she walked into a meeting where officials were poring over spreadsheets looking for model schools and said, “I know a good quality school when I’m in the building.”
The vast majority of the 1.1 million students in New York’s schools are poor minority children, and the issue of equity hangs over the system. The sought-after schools with high graduation rates and stellar test scores have disproportionately high populations of white and Asian students, while struggling schools are largely populated by black and Hispanic children.
Many of the education department’s signature policies, like expanded pre-K, fall under the umbrella of what the city calls its Equity and Excellence for All agenda, which aims to improve every school for every child, adding computer science and Advanced Placement classes to schools, for example.
But the divides remain yawning, and the administration has attracted significant criticism for what has been called a halting and incremental approach to tackling the system’s enormous racial and socioeconomic segregation. While declaring diversity a top priority last year, Ms. Fariña said she wanted to see plans to desegregate the schools bubble up “organically” rather than be mandated from above.
Amy Stuart Wells, a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College who studies segregation and is a member of the city’s school diversity advisory group, said Ms. Fariña’s department has paid more attention to the issue than past administrations, but that the work is just beginning.
“The release of a report and the creation of a task force is symbolically extremely important to say, ‘This is a priority,’” she said. “But where we go with it, and how deeply we address the issues of what happens inside of schools when kids get there, that will be the challenge for the next chancellor.”
To some, Ms. Fariña’s skepticism of data, and in particular her push to de-emphasize the role of test scores, has been refreshing. Aaron Pallas, a professor of sociology and education at Teachers College, said that under Mr. Bloomberg and his schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein, there was often “an active dismissal of the notion that teachers had the skills to do what they needed to do.
“She does believe a lot in the wisdom of practice, the idea that experience imparts knowledge about how to do this kind of work of educating children that one really can’t get other ways,” Mr. Pallas said of Ms. Fariña.
While the Bloomberg administration in its final years went to war with the teacher’s union over issues like school closures, teacher evaluations, seniority rules and the status of so-called reserve teachers who had lost their positions, Mr. de Blasio and Ms. Fariña have pursued an amicable and cooperative relationship with the union. Observers say that has had benefits in terms of raising morale among teachers and reducing the level of open strife, which tends to diminish the public’s confidence in the school system, but that it has also had a price.
“Ending the war with the union was an important thing in terms of changing how people in the system felt,” Shael Polakow-Suransky, the president of Bank Street College of Education and a former senior deputy chancellor in the Bloomberg administration. “There’s a cost to that, in the sense that nothing has changed in terms of improving the constraints that you operate with in that contract, but it definitely bought peace and much less public scrutiny and much less public fighting and sort of helped with morale for teachers.”
While Ms. Farina’s letter did not explain why she had decided to retire, or who might replace her, Dorothy Siegel, a close friend of Ms. Fariña’s, said she had spoken to her last week and that Ms. Fariña had said she was going to speak to the mayor about retiring.
“She said, ‘You know, I’m going to be 75,’” Ms. Siegel said.
Ms. Siegel said she asked Ms. Fariña if she knew who her successor would be. Ms. Fariña told her she did not, saying, “It’s up to Bill.”