Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dmytro Fedkowskyj on why he voted "No" on the 23 school closings

Here is the statement made by Dmytro Fedkowskyj,  Queens representative on the Panel for Educational Policy, before voting against the 23 school closings and numerous co-locations.  The vote was 9-4, with the 8 mayoral appointees plus the Staten Island rep Diane Perrugia, voting lockstep in favor of each proposal by the DOE, and the borough representatives from the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens voting no.  Perrugia voted with the mayor every time except for the proposal to close the one school on Staten Island, PS 14, in which case she voted no.
Students prepare and dream about their futures. Parents do what they can to help their children succeed.   
photo: Anna Gustafson
Our Principals and Teachers dedicate themselves to their school communities in order to make their student dreams come true, but all too often their pleas for support to fix, not close their schools fall on deaf ears...these proposals confuse parents and decimate school communities...and something has to change.
Some of the schools on the agenda today were schools created by this administration, which means past proposals didn't support and achieve their objectives.  The problems weren't quantified and unless a different approach is taken it will likely happen again and again...These decisions will again leave much doubt by every school community that it's the right choice.  
It’s no secret that some of our schools need more help than others, and I'm of the opinion that other measures should always be implemented before a final decision is made to close or phase-out a school.
These other measures are rarely ever implemented by the DOE because they claim these measures will take too long to obtain positive results. Well I say too bad...tackle the issues at hand and avoid the one size fits all quick fix.
Let our hardworking administrations and teachers develop their practices and initiatives so they can continue to provide a sense of consistent support and dedication to our students.   
When school grades drop from year to year, which ultimately drives the basis for these decisions, there needs to be DOE oversight and intervention at that time...not two years later when that dreadful last visit occurs by the DOE.  
The magic fix doesn't exist. It takes time and energy since our children learn at different levels. I have full faith in our principals and teachers because we have the best of the best teaching our kids and I would ask the panel not support the proposals for phase-out and give these schools the time and resources they need to be successful.
--Dmytro Fedkowskyj,  Panel for Educational Policy, Queens Representative


NYC Educator said...

Wow. What does it say about the SI rep that she can cavalierly vote to close every school in the city except that in her own borough?

Anonymous said...

The people on the board appointed by Bloomberg as well as the school chancellor do nothing more than follow the Bloomberg line.The closing of these schools are just a ploy by the education mayor to pretend that he cares about the children in our schools.. it is really nothing more than a cover up for his failure in education in the nine years he has been in charge of our schools.

Anonymous said...

What people really mean when they say “Don’t Shut down our Schools, Fix our schools.” The answer lies in what research has recently found. Research has found the difference between being assigned to one of the system’s best teachers and its worst is about an additional grade-level worth of proficiency.

Research has found the most important factor in the education of a child is the effectiveness of the classroom teacher and that teachers vary dramatically in effectiveness.
Research has found that 97 percent of what makes a teacher more effective than another is unrelated to experience or credentials and has to with innate personal characteristics and attributes such as patience, enthusiasm, presence in the classroom, and the ability to tell when a student is following the material or falling behind.

Research has found that a teacher is at his worst his first year, gets better in his second year, and third year, and then never gets better after that and no amount of professional development or additional support on average will dramatically increase a teachers effectiveness.

Research has found that the variation in teacher quality is a direct result of employing teachers on factors unrelated to a teacher’s effectiveness.
Now we know that when it comes to firing ineffective teachers the DOE’s hands are tied. We also know that giving an ineffective teacher more money will not improve his or her effectiveness nor will providing additional professional development or supports.

So if the most important factor in improving the quality of a school is increasing the number of effective teachers then those who argue “Don’t Shut down our Schools, Fix our schools” really mean to say “Don’t Shut down our Schools, Fire the ineffective teachers.”

Anonymous said...

I believe you conclusionmiss off the mark. They really mean to say, "don't close our school, give our teachers the resources we need to be effective." Just like every student's needs are unique, so to our the needs of our teachers.

Effective educators develop over time and with experience. They are not interchangeable parts on an assembly line.