two recent articles in the new york times seem to lay bare the many problems with the bureaucracy of nyc public schools.
one reports the results of a UFT survey that reveals that 80-something percent of NYC public school teachers lack confidence in the chancellor's leadership. the chancellor responds by questioning the validity of the research/distribution protocol by which these results were gathered, and by touting his success at getting test scores up. its an upsetting example of the non-dialogue that he and bloomberg have perfected; of anti-union knee-jerkism; of the ridiculousness of test-oriented rhetoric. check out the article at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/27/education/27school.html?ref=education
the other one reports on the success of a small school in fort greene. which is great, interesting, and thoughtful. but hidden in there is a really important series of observations, made by the 32-year-old principal responsible for a lot of the school's success. "“People have to work much too hard to do what we are doing. People cannot work at this level all their lives and nobody is prepared to do something at a level of mediocrity,” she noted. Thus, in order to have this kind of success at a public school, you are going to have to rely on teachers like the ones at her school: "most are in their late 20s, and few have families at home." And most will, like her, leave the school after only a few years of work there. (She's leaving to work for a charter school that will pay her a lot more money and require less work.) Klien's response? "When people are part of the world of changing things for children, they don’t view it is as work." Its such a dismissive and troubling thing for a SCHOOLS CHANCELLOR to say. check the whole thing at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/30/education/30school.html