Sunday, June 27, 2010

DOE To “Close” Rikers’ Schools: Students and Teachers Left Holding the Bag

The DOE plans to announce the closing of the two remaining schools on Rikers Island tomorrow in a meeting called on the last day of school. According to DOE and union sources the two schools, Island Academy and Horizon Academy, which service 16 to 21 year old incarcerated youth on Rikers Island will undergo a restructuring leaving most teachers as ATRs and the future of incarcerated education uncertain.

The Rikers schools are part of the Alternative High School district, District 79, which has gone under restructuring almost every year since Cami Anderson became superintendent in 2006. In past reorganizations the move was done with Union blessing. (See, e.g., )There appears to be no union-management agreement for the Rikers schools.

District 79 had been criticized for being too big and too expensive to operate. In one restructuring over 750 teachers became ATRs when it was decided that the GED schools were not cost-effective. Many of those teachers are still ATRs.

When a school reorganizes or restructures teachers are forced to reapply for their jobs or risk being placed as ATRs. Non-tenured teachers also face possible dismissal. While our contract does allow restructuring this cannot be done without consultation and when done must follow the procedures of Article 18 of our contract.


Anonymous said...

Now we know where the DOE intends to get students for Jamaica and Beach Channel if they lose the court case. Just send them from Rikers.

Anonymous said...

Poor leadership since Frank Dody left. Shame on District 79. This is why NYC's schools are failing and why new teachers leave the field. District 79 sucks

Anonymous said...

Cami Anderson. Taught for two years in Cali (1st grade?). TFA grad. Phd from Harvard. And then butchers District 79. Where was the UFT? Their response was: Don't'll still get your paycheck as an ATR.

Anonymous said...

The DOE has the right to close schools and programs. The UFT fought back and prevented the closing of 19 schools because the DOE in its arrogance didn't follow the procedures in the new governance law. We all know they will have learned something and will go after closing those schools again next year. The Mayor's tantrum on the appellate court ruling makes it clear that this is still about they can do what they want and not about helping public schools help teachers.

The sad truth is that this is the mentality that permeates the DOE including D79. It is always easier to destroy than to create and in the current climate when you destory you get a year or two before anyone looks at your accountability again.

Cami will be gone long before the outcomes of her reforms (deforms?) are fully documented. The 2007 reorg resulted in the displacement of an uncounted number of struggling students adn the deforms at Rikers will most likely have the same effect.

Nonetheless, Klein and Cami and all the corporate managers will continue to try to spin their destruction by distorting numbers, blaming teachers and looking for scapegoats.

The sad reality is that in the most stable administrative climate anyone now working can recall, the DOE has not done anything to bring real, meaningful, lasting improvements to the school system. When these guys eventually leave, all they tried to do will wither away and disappear as well.

Of course, we're all looking forward to that.

Anonymous said...

Cami Anderson, J. Kein and Blooperberg are bigger criminals than any that sitting in classrooms on Rikers Island.