In a recent post, we wondered if Carmen Farina might be worse than former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Chancellors Joel Klein and Dennis Walcott. (Sorry I forgot Cathie Black but at least she didn't hide that she was clueless.) Ms. Farina keeps crossing the line when talking about teachers. She is truly setting up a toxic teaching and learning environment with her inflammatory rhetoric. The following is taken directly from a piece at Chalkbeat.org describing the Chancellor's visit to a renewal school:
And she (Farina) said the principal must weed out unmotivated or unsatisfactory teachers by documenting their performance problems and advising them to look for jobs elsewhere. After they stopped by the classroom of a teacher whom (principal Melitina) Hernandez said she had concerns about, Fariña told her to observe the teacher “many, many more times a day.”
After the tour, Fariña explained that principals can use such methods to convince teachers who are not a good fit for a school to leave.
“Not everything has to be knocking people on the head,” she said. “But if that’s what it takes, we’re happy to do that as well.” (Bold added by ICE)
Are these the words of an educational leader who is supportive of teachers? I call administration observing a teacher many, many more times in a day intimidation and harassment. We tend not to be at our best if we have a gun pointed at our heads. It certainly won't improve educational outcomes to harass teachers, particularly when factors way beyond our control impact on our performance.
Is there a scintilla of evidence showing that knocking us on the head increases student learning?
Where is our union's leadership to hit the Chancellor on the head? President Mulgrew seems too busy. To give him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he hasn't seen the comments yet.
Whether or not the union responds, this blog will.
We condemn the Chancellor's anti-teacher rhetoric. If she is happy to knock teachers on the head, it's time for us to knock her right back (figuratively that is).