It's teacher hunting season!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Qns HS Students' Occupy-type Protest & Need for Parents & Students to Mobilize

On their front page today The Daily News ran a story on how students at Frederick Douglass VI High School co-located with Far Rockaway High School protested and got an administration pledge to get an English teacher.

Here's the synopsis with some decoding:
75 students did not have an English teacher. Instead, they had rotating substitutes that changed every week. Translation: the students had different absent teacher reserve (ATR) teachers every week.

"English class at Frederick Douglass Academy in Queens hasn't had a regular teacher in three months" told how parents called 311 and how the city gave them the brush off.

Well, of course the city or the Department of Education gave the parents the brush-off. The city is being spiteful. It is not interested in hiring an ATR. One can get a qualified, experienced English teacher in the form of an ATR. The ATR pool remains at 1,126; there must be some English teachers in that pool. But, no, they city is too spiteful to hire a qualified, experienced teacher.

Students at Frederick Douglass Academy VI High School don't have English teachers and protested in front of the school.
Seniors at a struggling Queens high school have gone the first three months of the school year with no English teacher, the Daily News has learned.
About 75 students at Frederick Douglass Academy VI in Far Rockaway have been warehoused in a bunk class with a different substitute each week and no coherent lesson plan, they say.
For weeks, students begged administrators at the C-rated school for a steady instructor, but their request was denied — until Friday, when they protested and refused to go to class until their demands were met.
“We deserve to have a proper English teacher, not just a bunch of subs,” said senior Dominique Boatwright, 17, of Far Rockaway.

Another egregious fact is that part of the problem was that the students were being "educated" by a computer program called iLearn. Quite unsettling is the news that this school is but one of 160 city schools that use automated education from the iZone initiative that uses such programs. This program is being used in Far Rockaway, a largely minority community. One wonders whether computer-driven education supplants accredited teachers in schools in whiter, middle class neighborhoods.
Education officials said that the school — where 27% of students graduated ready for college last year — is part of a citywide online learning initiative called the iZone.

Computer-based classes are a key component of the iZone program, which is used by more than 160 schools around the city.

But students said that they still need a teacher who’s familiar with the course work, even if they’re using computers to deliver instruction.

The fedup teens decided to take matters into their own hands and stage a protest outside the school on Friday morning to demand a teacher for their English classes.

Senior class president Shamia Heyliger of Far Rockaway organized the rally, which began at 7 a.m., before classes were scheduled to begin.

“We needed to get the message across that we need a teacher,” said Heyliger, who has a 93 average and wants to be a lawyer.

The spunky teen used Facebook to spread word about the rally, and about 40 kids turned out before class for the protest.

Read more:

Hats off to the students for refusing to go to class until they were given a proper teacher. This calamity of the spiteful city/ Department of Education shows the need for parents and student to organize and push the city to act in ways that respond to community's needs.

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