Wednesday, March 25, 2015


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 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).


Anonymous said...

Disgusting. I am so glad that I gave Farina a poor rating on the NYC Annual School Survey a few weeks back. I am not buying the Kool Aide she is selling. She is just an extension of the Bloomberg terror regime and is out to destroy the teaching profession.

Anonymous said...

James, I wish you could have heard our principal at our faculty conference yesterday. She started it by stating how "unimpressed" the superintendent was after her latest visit. She then proceeded to bash EVERYTHING we do- from how we dress, where we sit, our lesson plans, etc. NOTHING was good- and I mean NOTHING. She told people if she didn't think they were a good fit for the school to feel free to ask for help searching the open market.

The point is- this is right in line with Carmen's approach. I guess you get the best work out of people by demoralizing them.

Anonymous said...

Of course the fact that the superintendent was not impressed has nothing whatsoever to do with the principal's leadership qualities.
Just as the state of the NYC public school system is not a reflection of the current chancellor.
It's a beautiful day.

Anonymous said...

The problem in NYC is that we have too many incompetent principals and administrators. Many principals have no teaching experience.

The press always dwells on allegedly inept teachers while never pointing out the real problem: inept administrators.

Anonymous said...

Now its a dress code issue at the school as well?? This entire movie is a scam which is headed for oblivion

Bennett Fischer said...

It’s no secret that principals have lots of tools at their disposal to make life hell for teachers they don’t like. Fariña is simply encouraging principals to behave the same brutish way she did at PS 6.

Mulgrew is the clueless one, or worse, for continuing the ridiculous spin that there is a new era of partnership and respect for teachers at the DOE.

Forget about us teachers for a minute. Is Fariña doing anything in the way of standing up for her own administrators? Is she speaking up about the negative effects APPR has on them? Is she aware that her Principals and AP’s - some of whom were once good teachers and respected administrators - are now reduced to being nothing more than apparatchiks; data zombies who stare at a computer screen all day, venturing out of their offices with pen and checklist in hand, standing apart from their colleagues as they observe and judge? They no longer have the time to interact with teachers and students in a supportive way. They don’t even know their teachers and their students. They’re caught up in a game of test and punish, and they in turn are being tested and punished.

And Fariña is just fine with it all.

Anonymous said...

She has admitted that she believes in harassment and fear techniques. She needs to go along wth the clueless DiBlotzio

Anonymous said...

The UFT will never criticize or complain about anything Farina or DiBlasio do or say. Mike is so relieved that Bloomberg is gone, he'll kiss anyone's butt and will happily give all ATRs to the new NYC gods as human sacrifices.

Philip Nobile said...

To use a favorite New Testament zinger, Farina is a painted sepulcher--cosmetic on the outside, rotting within. And I'm not referring to the two shotgun Unsatisfactory obs I got in two days from the P and AP upon her visit to my classroom at Cobble Hill in 2003 when she was Region 8 Superintendent. (Of course, the P and AP never observed be again the rest of the year.

Rather I cite the cover-up of Regents cheating at our school and the subsequent obstruction in her Superintendent's office in 2004, which she lied about to OSI and SCI (the latter in connivance with our corrupt Special Commissioner of Investigation, Richard Condon. If and when the press looks into this cold case, both she and the Commissioner will be gone.

And they know it, which is why they dare not attempt to terminate me for conduct unbecoming a teacher, which would be true if I were lying about their official misconduct.

Harris L. said...

James, it's much worse than even the dreadful situation you outline here.

In a Capital New York report on the same school visit we get this from La Farina:

"Fariña said she received a series of emails from several teachers at P.S. 123 complaining about the school's leadership. Fariña said she believed the disgruntled teachers proved that the school's staff needed to be pushed even further."

For all we know there's a bloody Reign of Terror breaking out in these "School Renewal" sites and legitimate teacher complaints are considered simply a spur to further efforts to harass teachers--she practically invites principals to implement the equivalent of the Inquisition and start scheduling regular auto-da-fes, where complaining teachers can be tied to a post and have the straw lit under them.

Here's the link to the piece:

Anonymous said...

"The old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be" Actually she is. Isn't this the same Carmen Farina that had a nasty reputation 25 years ago? She is a cunning bureaucrat who has made a career out of fear and intimidation. She hasn't yet retired because she loves this position of power. The way people respond to her as "the chancellor", is a natural high for her. Do you think this little dictator gets the same feeling when shes checking out at
The real story is how our brilliant and savvy leader Michael Mulgrew was played for a chump.

Anonymous said...

Why is this not raised except for Ice and Chaz and other blogs and social media? Where is the UFT?

Dr. Carole Reiss said...

It's time to summon the Governor into the NYC schools.
He is ultimately responsible for the messy situation in all of the Renewal Schools.
The Mayor attended and spoke at the district 31 Town Hall meeting and he is fully aware that these poorly performing schools need new leadership . If all of the teachers in these schools could write a short story about their daily existence in these buildings and send it to,I will present it to The Judge presiding over my Federal lawsuit against the principal at PS 123.