Sunday, August 07, 2016


Many Americans are interested in poll results for the presidential election. We have little idea what a Hillary Clinton presidency will look like for public education (her foreign policy is hawkish), but the thought of Donald Trump with the nuclear codes might be too much for most Americans. This election is a lesser of the evils choice for millions (Hillary will pick better Supreme Court Justices) so why not take a look beyond 2016. 2017 will be a mayoral election year. Sorry but there's not much to look forward to next year either in NYC.

How is Mayor Bill de Blasio doing with the public? Not too well according to the latest from Quinnipiac. The mayor's approval rating is stuck at 42%, virtually unchanged from the 41% approval rating he had in May.

On schools by a 65%-23% margin, the poll respondents say the mayor should share control of the schools with other public officials. Mayoral control is not that popular these days.

From the press release on the poll:
Voters disapprove 66-27 percent of the way Mayor Bill de Blasio is handling public schools and only 25 percent are satisfied with public schools, with 60 percent dissatisfied, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) Unversity Poll finds.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina has a not so robust 33% approval rating according to Quinnipiac. Outgoing Police Commissioner William Bratton has a 57% approval rating by comparison.

On charter schools, 45% want more charter schools while 48% said the number should stay the same or decrease.

The scary number for us was when people were asked where they would send their children to school and by a 51%-37% margin poll respondents picked charter schools over public schools.

The first comment on a Chalkbeat article on recent test score results explains the charter school advantage: get rid of the kids who might bring down test scores

" Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz dismissed the rising scores at traditional district schools since they mirrored the state’s more closely and could thus be explained by the test changes, she argued. To “find real improvement,” she wrote in the New York Daily News, officials should look to charter schools instead."
I wish some news organizations would take Ms. Moskowitz up on her insistence they should "look to charter schools" instead.
This year, Success Academy Bed Stuy 1 had 54 students who tested proficient in 5th grade, a DECREASE from the 57 4th graders who tested proficient last year in 4th grade. But their 5th grade class had a "passing rates" on the state ELA exam that was nearly 20 points HIGHER than the passing rate those same students had as 4th graders the year before
How could that be? Because 17 students -- 23% of the class! -- disappeared from that 4th grade testing cohort before they took 5th grade exams. 17 students go missing and the number of non-proficient students dropped from 16 to 2. Are we supposed to believe that's just a coincidence? Ignore the elephant in the room and pretend that despite having FEWER proficient students in the 5th grade, the school somehow has a secret sauce for turning struggling students into scholars?
It's a shame the press will never take Ms. Moskowitz up on her offer and ask her where 23% of the students went. And why - if she claims she just failed them all and forced them to repeat a grade - the class below would also have decreased in size instead of becoming much larger to accommodate all those 17 students missing?
And the press will most likely never ask her how it is that the 5th grade had only 56 students when at the start of 3rd grade 2 years previously, that class began with 93 students.
Chalkbeat writes: "Charter schools are part of the answer". Not if the "answer" is pushing their low-performing students back to public schools. In that case, they are part of the PROBLEM. And if there was reporting of actual attrition rates of at-risk kids at high performing charters over a period of years, that would be very evident to all.

We'll end this on a positive note for the mayor. While his poll numbers are low, potential challengers Christine Quinn from the right and the more progressive Scott Stringer would lose by wide margins to de Blasio according to Quinnipiac.

If the choice is de Blasio or a right wing Democrat like Quinn, we are once again facing the lesser of the evils as the mayor has certainly not done much to improve the schools.


Anonymous said...

Nobody gives a fuck they raised our dues again with no salary increase? Over $58 now.

Bronx ATR said...

DeBlasio would lose to a ham sandwich if it ran against him. Who ever runs against him is not going to be teacher friendly and the election has the potential to become another act in the Theatre of the Absurd - Trump,jr vs. Weiner or the return on Bloomberg or Giuliani (or one of their clones).

reality-based educator said...

Until we get an indication of where SDNY is going w/ the investigations into de Blasio and cohorts, I'm not yet ready to say he's finished politically.

Indictments of those close to him will be a huge problem and would probably spur a fairly strong challenger(s) to take him on. An indictment of de Blasio himself and he's finished, of course. I suspect we'll get something along the lines of the first thing there, but how that plays out for the mayor and potential challengers, hard to say exactly.

For some reason, Q didn't poll either Jeffries or Diaz Jr as potential opponents to BdB. I'm not sure why. Rumor has it Jeffries may stay in Congress, especially if Dems come close to take back House (or, long shot, actually take back the House.) Diaz Jr appears like he wants to run, and rumor has it Cuomo wants him to run too, but the Diaz Family corruption history makes him a less than savory challenger against de Blasio, especially if the issue is going to be corruption/ethics. I remain unconvinced Diaz Jr. is a strong candidate against de Blasio (though he would undoubtedly have the backing of the charter people - Eva's already on board w/ some donations.)

Stringer is said to want it badly too but is waiting to see how investigations play out. Not sure why Quinn was polled - she's working for Cuomo now, so it's possible he's pushing her behind the scenes to run again. That would make some sense politically, since she would be beholden to Cuomo for her comeback while not having the same corruption/ethical baggage Diaz Jr has.

My sense is, de Blaiso will be lucky to survive the fallout from the SDNY investigations into his administration and his donors. If he goes, Stringer is probably our best bet, though I'm not a huge fan and I trust him about as much as I trust a rattlesnake.

That said, I'm so over de Blasio and Farina that I am nearing the point where I want to see Preet indict him and cart him off to jail to join Shelly and Skelos. Perhaps then he can understand a little of the shit he's put teachers through via his Farina appointment. Her quota for ineffective and developing ratings (unwritten, but happening in many districts) is absurd, counterproductive and probably illegal. Nonetheless it's what's happening, have seen it where I am, have heard it from teachers in other districts, and I hold de Blasio personally responsible for the damage this is doing to careers, livelihoods and reputations. Too bad the UFT is so busy sitting on de Blasio's lap that they're unable/unwilling to fight the attacks on teachers coming from the BdB/Farina DOE.

Alas, as you note, James - de Blasio remains the lesser of the evils if it means having Quinn, Diaz Jr., Jeffries or some other charter shill replace him.

God help us.

Anonymous said...

My 8/15 check goes over $58, my 9/1 check goes back to $56.10. Sounds like a scam by the UFT.

James Eterno said...

I will check on this.

JR said...

James, Its a fact, can see the check right now. Up $2 plus for the 8/15 check. Wow, $2 times 100,000. Not bad for a days work.

Anonymous said...

Back to the topic at hand: I have been teaching in NYC public schools for almost 20 years. However, I don't blame parents in some of the poorer neighborhoods for wanting to send their kids to a charter school. Many of our public schools are overrun by out of control students who have no structure or discipline at home. Many of our public schools are simply used as babysitting services. At least in charter schools there is a massive emphasis on structure and discipline. So, don't blame decent parents who just want an orderly school for their kids. What we all should be pushing for is not more charter schools, but creating alternative schools and programs for some of our students.