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Many NYC High Schools got treated badly by Bloomberg/Klein – when do we fix the damage?

May 21, 2016 am31 10:36 am

My caucus brought the following resolution to the UFT Executive Board June 1, 2015 – 51 weeks ago. The Unity leadership tabled it, and never brought it back.

Who cares if we have a friendly mayor and an educator as chancellor if we are not asking them to make the schools better?

The following resolution was submitted by William Goldman, Jonathan Halabi, Douglas Haynes, Margaret Hobson-Shand, Francisco Pena and Michael Shulman.

Motion:        To approve the following:


WHEREAS, the DOE has closed many academic comprehensive and CTE high schools since the late 1990s; and

WHEREAS, large parts of the city have left students and parents with no large schools to choose; and

WHEREAS, in some cases elementary and middle school students have been placed in schools with high school students; and

WHEREAS, hundreds of small high schools have been created to replace large schools often without replicating the numerous curricular options, services and extra-curricular activities that the large schools once offered; and

WHEREAS, the campus school model has led to the DOE creating multiple administrations in each building leading to increases in cost and bureaucracy; and

WHEREAS, large academic, comprehensive high school buildings were designated and built to accommodate one school, but forcing several schools to share space often leads to poor utilization of the cafeteria, auditorium, gyms, or their use at peculiar and limited times of the day; and

WHEREAS, large academic, comprehensive high school buildings were designed and built with a single wing of science labs, a single wing of music rooms, of art rooms, and other and specialty rooms, leaving those specialty rooms inaccessible to students from small schools once the building has been dissected; and

WHEREAS, in many small schools there are predominantly inexperienced staff members who face serious challenges enforcing the UFT Contract and protecting members’ rights; and

WHEREAS, in a December 4, 2002 UFT Delegate Assembly resolution the UFT affirmed our commitment to “encouraging a variety of educational settings for students and staff,” but decried the lack of foresight and planning; and

WHEREAS, in May 2005 the UFT’s Small School Task Force issued a groundbreaking report, recommending changes to how small schools are created; and

WHEREAS, the efficacy of using one building to house multiple schools had not been studies or evaluated; be it

RESOLVED, that the UFT should establish a committee which will:

  • Study the efficacy of the campus school model
  • Review the conclusions in the UFT’s Small School Task Force report
  • Determine what options, activities and community experiences have been denied students in campus buildings
  • Determine which campus schools have had some success and why
  • Evaluate the effect of breaking up large school shave had on the UFT Chapters
  • Examine the practices that have enabled some small chapters to address these challenges; and be it further

RESOLVED, that this committee shall make recommendations, including but not limited to, how to increase cooperation among the schools in a campus, improvethe delivery of services to students, develop a greater sense of community and cohesion within the buildings, and/or how to reconstitute some of the large academic, comprehensive and CTE high schools; and be it further

RESOLVED, that this committee shall make recommendations for helping strengthen chapters and support chapter leaders in campus schools.

Motion:        To table.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lynne Winderbaum permalink
    May 21, 2016 pm31 12:58 pm 12:58 pm

    Last week, on learning of Carmen Fariña’s plan to merge many small schools, I posted the following on Facebook:
    “Too late. We’ve closed all the great high schools after concentrating high-need students in them by over-creating small schools that wouldn’t serve such students. Kennedy, Columbus, Jamaica, Stevenson, etc…gone. You don’t have to be a genius to walk into a campus of what was once a single school and see 7 principals, 14 APs, duplicate guidance and programming departments, to realize what a colossal waste of money this generates. You don’t have to be a genius to see the elimination of teams, specialized music and art classes, a variety of languages, special Ed and ELL compliance. You don’t have to be a genius to see the toll taken by the displacement of students and teachers. So go ahead Carmen, merge the small schools because NYC destroyed everything the larger schools had to offer.”
    So I can’t help but support any resolution that so closely resembles my own feelings on the matter. It is my hope that initiatives of value for our students not be disregarded because of the caucus that introduced them. That would be something like the US Congress.

    • June 22, 2016 am30 7:40 am 7:40 am

      It took over a year, cooperating with the leadership, to draft this. And nothing was happening for months and months, so we introduced it. And they tabled it, and still nothing is happening.

      I don’t know what they are afraid of. They claimed initially that this was anti-small school. Read the reso itself – that’s not true. Maybe the leadership is more deeply committed to small schools OVER regular schools than they let on. Or maybe there’s something else?

      It’s frustrating watching nothing get done year after year. Like watching toxic paint dry.

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