Saturday, November 18, 2017


New principal Kayode Ayetiwa decided in his first year that the way to improve education at Humanities and the Arts Magnet High School in Queens was to go to war with any established teacher or other staff member who said anything critical about what his administration was doing to the school. This included making life miserable for the UFT Chapter leader and Delegate.

The numbers are in for 2016-17 and every school reformer knows these numbers are the gospel according to Joel Klein and Carmen Farina. The statistics at Humanities and the Arts reveal that retaliating against staff members who speak out against injustice on behalf of their colleagues does not lead to academic enhancements.

Look at the city averages and the Humanities and the Arts  figures for 2015-16 compared to 2016-17. Click on the 2016-17 School Quality Guide from the School's statistics page and there for everybody to see are some real eye openers on Ayetiwa's first year as leader of the school.

The College Readiness Rate:
4-Year College Readiness Index at Humanities and the Arts in 2015-16 was 10% below the average of similar schools and 24% below the citywide averages.

In 2016-17 the 4-Year College Readiness Index sunk to 13% below similar schools and 28% below the citywide average.

Student Achievement
In terms of student achievement, on a scale of 1-4 Humanities and the Arts had an overall score of  2.83 in 2015-16 under a different principal. This not too impressive number was .70 below the borough-wide average and .46 behind the citywide average. Things certainly were not ideal under now retired Principal Rosemary Omard but the school for the most part crept along. However under new Principal Ayetiwa, the total student achievement score fell to 2.63 in 2016-17. The 2.63 figure is .83 below the borough-wide average and .68 behind the citywide average.

To put it simply, the strategy of abusing the veteran staff members who were critical of Ayetiwa or Assistant Principals Mousa and Stergiopolous worsened the academic performance at Humanities and the Arts.

There are other statistics here that should make the central Department of Education look twice at this school's leadership but they more than likely won't. Let's examine the results of the surveys DOE gives out every year to staff, students and parents.

Rigorous Instruction under new Principal Ayetiwa went from 2.51 in 2015-16 before he arrived, on a scale of 1-4, down to 2.27 in 2016-17.

Ayetiwa pitting teachers against each other sent the Collaborative Teachers score down from 3.11 in 2015-16 to 2.27 in 2016-17.

The Supportive Environment score under new Principal Ayetiwa went down from 2.41 the year before he arrived all the way to 1.62.

Effective School Leadership plunged from 3.61 to 1.89 with Ayetiwa at the helm. A 1.72 drop on a 4 point scale is quite a drop for one year!

Trust slid down the ladder from 3.16 to 2.39 under Principal Ayetiwa's leadership.

Do you think someone at the DOE will take notice? 

Unfortunately, the way the school system works nowadays, Ayetiwa will probably be given a thumbs up from the Superintendent and the Chancellor for being tough on the staff. We have heard that he pressured teachers to give passing grades to students who rarely attended class to boost the school's numbers. 

Some teachers and others were fortunate enough to find positions at different schools and now speak of how they are able to breathe freely again at work. Other staff members were not so lucky and are facing charges or are ill. UFT support has been mostly about going through the motions.

My guess is we could repeat the Humanities and the Arts story in hundreds of schools throughout NYC and outside of New York as well.

Wisconsin provides the best laboratory after Scott Walker's Public Law 10 basically killed the once strong teacher unions in the state. We now have research showing that union busting led to lower high school test scores. It's not pretty.

From a paper by E. Jason Baron:

In general, I find that average student achievement in Wisconsin high schools decreased as a result of the union reform. Specifically, the reduction in union power associated with the law reduced scores in both the mathematics and science portions of the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE), the state’s standardized exam, by roughly 15% to 18% of a standard deviation. Quantile regression techniques reveal that the average reduction in test scores was entirely concentrated in schools at the bottom half of the conditional student achievement distribution. I find that test scores in these schools decreased by approximately 30% of a standard deviation, but find no evidence that the law impacted schools in the upper half of the achievement distribution. To understand the economic significance of these effects, one can compare their magnitude with that from the effect of a reduction in class size of eight students, which has been shown to increase student achievement by roughly 22% to 29% of a standard deviation (Angrist and Lavy, 1999; Krueger, 1999). 

I additionally show that lower test scores in low-performing schools are partially driven by an increase in the number of teacher retirements and a decrease in the quality of the teaching workforce. After the reform, changes in teacher compensation schemes across the state led to a sorting of high-quality teachers from low-performing schools to high-performing schools. This changed the teacher quality composition of Wisconsin school districts in a way that hindered student achievement in low-performing schools.

Driving teachers to retirement does not help student achievement. Forcing experienced personnel to transfer or harassing them to the point where they become ill does not help education either.

The war on teachers is not only hurting us and our families; it is impacting students in a negative way too.


Anonymous said...

This must be due to white privilege manifesting its racism, sexism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, etc., etc. Resist!

Anonymous said...

No, Ayetiwa is a disaster. In fact, he has been kinder to white teachers. Isn't that ironic?

Anonymous said...

Both the chapter leader and delegate were woman of color. Look it up.

Anonymous said...

i suspect op was being ironic....

Anonymous said...

10:21: So they are "colored women"???? Can't believe you said that! Mad racist.

Anonymous said...

Dwarka also destroyed Bryant High School.

Michael Fiorillo said...

Teacher abuse resulting to diminished student outcomes is something people driving these policies care couldn't care less about. Staff turnover is an axiomatically good thing in their eyes, as they see it having positive fiscal and managerial consequences, namely, a cheaper and more easily intimidated workforce.

In fact, teacher abuse in its many forms is a desired outcome of so-called education reform, and "student outcomes" are never anything more than a weapon in the hands of those people.

Anonymous said...

The guy was an AP at a Jefferson school, one of the worst in the city. All the,teachers hated the admin there. What did you expect? Students run wild with cell phones in use,all day, cut classes, go to the gym when they dont belong, curse teachers, sit in class all period without opening a notebook...Thats your 3% college ready rate and your 70% grad rate.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

He and principal Anderson at FDNY, kings of fraud, but then again, every school is a scam

Anonymous said...

This is getting old James. I know its your website but this personal stuff with this principal is annoying. I come to your site to read about UFT news not about your love affair with this principal and his school. We don't care about this school only YOU do. If I wanted to read any schools stats I know where to find it. Are you going to give a statistical analysis of every school too? C'mon put on your big boy pants and move on. Don't let this this school consume you. You are better than that.

James Eterno said...

Just one example where we have plenty of information. Following up on prior posts. New principal goes after veteran staff including CL and Delegate. Results don't improve.

My words:
"My guess is we could repeat the Humanities and the Arts story in hundreds of schools throughout NYC and outside of New York as well."

Humanities and the Arts is a symptom for sure of a huge problem.

Anonymous said...

I just got a position as an AP about 2 months ago. Totally different when you are on the other side dealing with colleagues I thought were good teachers. Still will be reading your post everyday James. LOL. However, you must know someone in the higher ups and fell untouchable since you enjoy talking about this principal so much. Your wife is in another school and you still can't help yourself. If the principal is as swift to remove teachers as you say he is, I won't be surprised if he resumes going after you guys(3020a) because a principal is legally able to pursue a teacher even if they transfer for several years after. My principal is doing that right now to someone. Anyway, I know you are a fighter James, so you probably get a thrill out of waking a sleeping dragon. Don't know if the principal reads this post or someone will tell him but now that I'm an AP, If I were him I and read this post I would 3020a Ms. Eterno just for the fun of it. LOL

Anonymous said...

Why are these principals are given so much power to destroy careers and schools?

Anonymous said...

Principals don't 3020a teachers. It's DOE Central. You clearly are an AP if you know this little.

Highly Effective King Clovis said...

Well crap environments lead to crap results. Too many idiot admins who can barely tie their own shoes, let alone evaluate good teaching and run schools.

Anonymous said...

When I studied for my Masters, I learned that education is a collaborative profession. It's about people working together to education children. The above personal attacks on James and his wife are but a symptom of how ill this so-called "evaluation system" is making our honored profession. Let's do criticism in a solution-oriented manner, the way we were trained. Let's rise above the insanity, and not let it consume us.

Anonymous said...

The Chancellor really likes Principals that destroy schools like Dwarka of Bryant High School.

Anonymous said...

One of the administrators of Humanities and Arts was a parent at one of the schools I worked in. I only sort of knew their kid from an enrichment class. This admin came into the school I worked in and demanded I give up my free time for their child, they spoke to me as if they were my boss (they were just a parent where I worked). I feel bad for any teacher that works for the HAM admin.