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Do Not Apply – Bronx High Schools

July 9, 2008 pm31 8:20 pm

[This list has been updated. Click updated list to see it. -jd]

The rest of the list of Bronx high schools, without further comment at this time:

There are good schools, bad schools, mediocre schools. But in New York City we have a handful of schools that are so poorly run, so out of control, with administrations that are so incompetent, mean, arbitrary, or vindictive, that getting a job in these schools often means ending your career before it starts.

I’m making a list:

  1. Bronx Aerospace HS (+) (in the Evander building)
  2. Eximius College Prep HS (near Crotona Park)
  3. Bronx Theater HS (in the JFK building)
  4. Discovery HS (in the Walton building)
  5. Fordham HS of the Arts (in the Theodore Roosevelt building)
  6. HS for Performance and Stagecraft (in the Truman building)
  7. [Fordham Leadership Academy for Business and Technology]* (in the Theodore Roosevelt building)

* Need to confirm that problems at FLABT from a year ago have not been resolved (but doubt it). Will dig, and update.

Please, take care of yourself, and do not accept a job in one of these schools. There are plenty of other tough schools to work in, but these are far too likely to end your career before it starts.

I’ll be adding to this list, but you can help. If you know a school that is a career-ender, e-mail me at “this blog name” at gmail dot com. Explain how the school ends careers, and if possible, share some anecdotes. If you save even one new teacher from ending up at a hell hole, it will have been well worth it.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2008 pm31 11:02 pm 11:02 pm

    I’m just curious – when you talk about schools ending your career, do you mean that it will be so soul-crushing that the teacher will choose to drop out of the profession and never teach again, or that once you have one of these schools on your resume, no other school will ever hire you?

  2. July 9, 2008 pm31 11:55 pm 11:55 pm

    More the former than the latter. These schools can crush souls. But there is more. Empirically, and collectively, these schools have about 50% of their teachers return the following September – no matter what the answer is to “Why?” the answer to “What happened?” is “They didn’t come back.”

    More detail is available, though. In NYC it is relatively easy to fire (discontinue) untenured teachers. And in most schools on this list a disprortionately large number of first and second year teachers have either been discontinued, or have quit in the face of being discontinued.

    There is something I should write more about: new teachers are not usually polished teachers, and need training. Observations should be used as opportunities to teach teachers… Instead they become a supervisory exercise.

    And, there are many inexperienced, no teaching background, brand new principals, and they often will discipline a teacher who is making a mistake instead of training them.

    I’ve wandered off topic, but I think I touched aspects of what you were asking.

  3. avoicein permalink
    July 11, 2008 am31 6:48 am 6:48 am

    Do you happen to know where the Bronx Theater HS was originally located? If it’s the school that I am thinking of…

  4. July 12, 2008 pm31 11:00 pm 11:00 pm

    In JFK from the beginning. There was a “Renaissance” something or other in Lehman HS, but the founding, abusive first principal was removed…

    I have to say, I went into this not realizing that the awfullest of the awful were so bad that many, many people would have heard bits and pieces about them.

    I am investigating a few leads for Bronx HSs, there has been a flurry of e-mail traffic, but I have found quick consensus for the schools on my list.

  5. avoicein permalink
    July 13, 2008 pm31 5:13 pm 5:13 pm

    This is such a common story in the Bronx. Very few of the mini schools possess any kind of effective leadership-in fact most of what I see is awful; at least in my experiences.

  6. XA2 concerned blogger permalink
    July 15, 2008 am31 7:32 am 7:32 am

    why isn’t anyone being honest? Most of the new teachers are either TFA or Fellows. These teachers are mostly white and feel that they have come to save the little black and hispanic kids. I am not racist. However, most of these teachers cannot realate to the students and in some cases come from out of state and might have never gone to school with minority children or in some cases if they are from the midwest, have never seen a black person. These new teachers have no classroom management skills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and also just these programs as a stepping to get a masters and then move on. Yes they are very bright and know the content – but no management. Please understand that more tenured and seasoned teachers are not coming to the South Bronx. Most of the new principals have also taught just for two/three years and have the bright idea that they could now be principals. They have no clue

  7. July 15, 2008 pm31 2:42 pm 2:42 pm

    New teachers need to be trained. Lousy principals discipline them instead.

    The story is more complicated, but that’s somewhere near the heart of it.

  8. July 15, 2008 pm31 2:57 pm 2:57 pm

    avoicein —

    I think it is a good sign that there really is a worst of the worst. It means that the dozens of other lousy Bronx high school out there? They are not in the same category of bad.

    Highlighting the schools that routinely destroy careers made sense.

  9. July 15, 2008 pm31 10:22 pm 10:22 pm

    So when you say career-ending you mean out-of-the-profession (either by choice or not), not just moving to another school.

    Even though I come from a family of teachers, I have to admit I know little about the internal workings of the job. It sounds like teachers get evaluated by their administrators, and these schools give teachers such a bad record that if they don’t just quit the profession, most other schools would look at the record and say, “I don’t want that teacher in my school. (especially if they are unaware of how bad the administration is)”

    Is that about right?

  10. July 16, 2008 pm31 6:00 pm 6:00 pm

    Not really. These schools can overwhelm new teachers, leading them to quit. Or they can actually look at a new teacher, find fault, and instead of working to improve the beginner, work to remove their license, either directly, or by harassing the teacher to the point that they are no longer able to continue.

    This is amazing, and here in the Bronx it happens every day (expect now, since its the summer!)

  11. XA1 another blogger who loves your posts about these abusive schools permalink
    July 19, 2008 am31 10:01 am 10:01 am

    do you have a list of schools in other boroughs? manhattan, brooklyn and/or queens. the bronx UFT is also very broken/bribed/useless and that adds to the problems going on.
    how can we get the word out about these schools? can we post this on TF forum or TFA forum (if they have one)?

    we need to save young teachers from being disillusioned and heartbroken. it takes 3-5 years (at least 5) to develop the skills to be an effective teacher. leaving the profession before this time is harmful to public education.

    in fact don’t new teachers cost more? you have the mentoring, professional development, etc. costs.

  12. Fuel for Fire permalink
    July 26, 2008 am31 4:51 am 4:51 am

    Will you be opening up any new Eximius posts? It was the most popular.

  13. July 26, 2008 am31 4:57 am 4:57 am

    There is a new post right here: Insightful reflection on Eximius

    and a significant comment about Eximius right here, from earlier today: Some reaction to “Do Not Apply”

  14. Another POV permalink
    July 27, 2008 am31 11:53 am 11:53 am

    Don’t forget this:

    When several mini-schools are placed in a building, there will be problems. There aren’t enough experienced administrators to go around. Furthermore, you’re lucky if the supervisor observing you is educated in your field! There are other problems regarding security and the sharing of common areas such as stairs, libraries and halls.

    Don’t forget to blame the DOE for moving forward with a half-assed idea. It’s just change for the sake of change.

    This may seem off topic, but it isn’t. It’s a major reason why some of the schools on this list are problems to begin with.

  15. July 27, 2008 pm31 6:38 pm 6:38 pm


    My goal here is to help newer teachers make choices about where to work.

    At the same time it is useful to be reminded that the DoE is ultimately responsible for setting up these schools (by the way, not all schools on the list were placed in large buildings – and the act of placing them in large buildings is not what made them awful to teach in).

    Primary responsibility: New York City Department of Education. But how responsible is the UFT? To our credit, our field staff (DRs and CLs) have been working their asses off trying to repair the damage. But what were we doing when these schools were created? How long did it take to get in and address the problems? How did it get so bad that we have not been able to fix Aerospace, Theater, etc after several years’ effort?


  1. Bronx HS Do Not Apply - updated « JD2718
  2. Ruining careers for $475/month (18 month term) « JD2718

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