As a future educator, I have A LOT to say about the state of education, the UFT, the NYCDOE, etc. What irks me the most this week (and the past few weeks) is this business with Cathie Black.
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (or Dictator Bloombag as I so affectionally have taken to calling him) nominated Cathie Black to replace Joel Klein as the NYCDOE Chancellor of Education.
Now, wouldn't you expect someone in such a position to have a degree in education? In administration? To have spent many years as a teacher or a principal? That would make sense. However, Ms. Black has NONE OF THE ABOVE. Sure, she may be a good manager, but at this point in time, we don't need a manager. We need an experienced educator who will put Bloombag in his place. Mr. Mayor is another case and point- what credentials does he have that qualify him to be in charge of the largest public school system in the country?
In order for Cathie Black to become the Chancellor, she needs a waiver since she lacks all the necessary and required credentials. When she was denied such a waiver, Bloombag appointed A SECOND CHANCELLOR. Essentially what I believe this to mean is that "Shadow Black" will run the show, while "Actual Black" is the face.
So now the city has to pay the salary for TWO chancellors, when every day more and more teachers are in danger of losing their jobs. Like I said before, it makes COMPLETE SENSE...
The whole educational system is a mess. Do I know how to fix it? Absolutely not. But if I were given the task, the first thing would be to remove Hizzoner from his pedestal atop his mountain of money, and delegate him to tasks appropriate to what he is able to do, being in control of the NYCDOE isn't one of them.
Still not convinced that Cathie Black is a poor choice? Let me put it to you two different ways.
1- By allowing Cathie Black to proceed to the post of Chancellor, you are also giving me the same allowance to, oh, lets say open my own medical practice. I don't have a degree that allows me to practice medicine? Who cares, Black doesn't have a degree that allows her to be an educator. Or I'll open my own architecture firm. I've never taken an architecture course or an engineering course in my life, but what difference does it make if the buildings I create come crashing down because of some extremely critical foundational error? You can't fix the DOE from the outside in.
2- I received the following in an e-mail forward some time ago, when former President Bush enacted No Child Left Behind. I often pull this e-mail up when I am feeling discouraged because it makes me ANGRY! That anger motivates me to be the best teacher (or substitute) that I can be.
No Child Left Behind --The Football Version
1. All teams must make the state playoffs, and all will win the championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable.
2. All kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the same time and in the same conditions. No exceptions will be made for interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabilities. ALL KIDS WILL PLAY FOOTBALL AT A PROFICIENT LEVEL.
3. Talented players will be asked to work out on their own without instruction. This is because the coaches will be using all their instructional time with the athletes who aren't interested in football, have limited athletic ability, or whose parents don't like football.
4. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in the 4th, 8th and 11th games.
5. This will create a New Age of sports where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimal goals. If no child gets ahead, then no child will be left behind.
A parent wouldn't bring their child to a doctor who didn't have the appropriate knowledge to treat them. So why are parents sending their children into a school system where the people in charge don't know the first thing about education?