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January 14, 2016
Officials defend ‘Renewal’ program after attack by principals union
The mayor and schools chief came to the defense of the expensive program for struggling schools after the principals union chief called it a “recipe for disaster.”
March 3, 2015
City seeks next group of PROSE schools, as Fariña praises first round of changes
Some of the schools already in the program are waiting to fully implement the plans that were given preliminary approval last summer.
December 11, 2014
City-union memo describes ‘ambassador’ principals as partners, not turnaround agents
The agreement between the city and the principals union indicates that the new “ambassador” principal role will be more collaborative and short-term than the city described…
November 14, 2014
Principals union, city enter mediation as contract dispute drags on
The city and the principals union have entered a mediation process after failing to agree on the terms of a new contract, union officials said Friday.
July 6, 2012
Arbitrator: City used "circular reasoning" to justify turnarounds
Mayor Michael Bloomberg's testimony before an arbitrator drove one nail into the coffin of the city's plans to replace or rehire teachers at 24 "turnaround" schools. Last week an arbitrator determined that the city violated the city's contracts with the teachers and principals unions when it moved to replace staff members at the schools. This afternoon the arbitrator, Scott Buchheit, released a detailed explanation of why he ruled the way he did. The city was trying to use hiring procedures set for closing schools and their replacements. But the unions argued that the turnaround plans were "sham closures" that would not result in new schools. Instead, they argued, the city was unfairly using contractual provisions about "excessing" to remove teachers and administrators it deemed unsatisfactory. In upholding the unions' grievance, Buchheit at times turns Bloomberg's and other city officials' words against them. He quotes a 2011 memorandum written by the Department of Education's chief financial officer, which said, "excessing is not a permissible way to deal with unsatisfactory teachers." Yet city officials said they intended to do just that from the start of the turnaround process, Buchheit determined.
December 8, 2011
Principals union chief lambastes city's school closure strategy
Among the press releases that went flying after the city announced its first set of school closures earlier today, the one from principals union president Ernest Logan stood out for its stridency. In a statement the length of a short essay, Logan decried school closures as "a losing strategy" that traumatizes needy students, shuts out educators, and prevents scrutiny of the city's reform efforts. Adding eight months to mayoral control's age, he said twice that the Bloomberg administration has had a decade to fix all schools but has not. Nine of the 15 schools whose closures or truncations were announced today have opened since Mayor Bloomberg took control of the schools; one replaced a failing elementary school just three years ago. Logan suggested that at least two additional Bloomberg-started schools would show up on the second installment of the closure roster when it comes out tomorrow. "The fact is that closure is an admission of failure by City Hall, whose weak or non-existent interventions amount to either a cynical statement of indifference to children of poverty or an inferiority complex about their own ability to come up with solutions," Logan said. The statement elicited a rebuttal from Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who called Logan's statement "embarrassing" for the union.
April 27, 2011
Walcott tells principals he'll reduce their paperwork load
In his first policy speech earlier this month, new Chancellor Dennis Walcott extended an olive branch to teachers. Now he's reaching out to principals, telling them that simplifying their jobs is one of his top goals. "One of my top priorities is to free up more of your time so that you can focus on the critical tasks that directly improve student achievement," Walcott wrote in this week's Principals Weekly email, the first to contain a letter from him. While Walcott has said repeatedly that he plans to continue the school policies that Mayor Bloomberg and former Chancellor Joel Klein established, his note indicates a subtle — but meaningful — divergence. Klein considered principals the CEOs of their schools and emphasized their management responsibilities, many of which brought new paperwork requirements. Walcott's letter focuses instead on principals' role as instructional leaders. Walcott told principals he would starting working soon with their union and the groups that support them to "reduce even further the burden on your time of non-instructional tasks." Teachers and principals have complained in recent years about mounting levels of paperwork they are required to complete. A teacher who retired early in 2009 cited the mounting paperwork as a chief reason for her exit from the classroom. And research suggests that the burden of paperwork tends to fall most heavily on low-performing, high-needs schools, which compose much of the city's school system. Walcott's complete message to principals is below.
June 23, 2009
Principals attack teacher contract deal; "doesn't put children first"
Principals union president Ernest Logan. (Photo from ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/28995913@N07/3264526581/in/photostream/##GothamSchools Flickr##.) The city principals union is condemning the labor deal announced by City Hall and the teachers union yesterday. They're zeroing in on a plan to scrap two work days from teachers' load that were added in the last contract negotiation, to many teachers' frustration. The change moved the working school year for teachers to before Labor Day and added two extra days to students' year. The deal announced last night would have school begin on the same day for teachers and students, leaving no official preparation days for teachers. In a statement just released, principals union president Ernest Logan said the arrangement would leave schools unprepared for students. The "surprise move," he said, "certainly does not put children first." Logan's full statement:
March 9, 2009
A lawmaker endorses ending mayor's right to name chancellor
Critics of mayoral control have already proposed one major check on the mayor: taking away his effective control over the school board. Now a…
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