Friday Afternoon Bronx Massacre: At his Friday the 13th of January speech at the educational complex of the defunct Morris High school, the Bronx, Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to ATR-ize half the teachers at some 33 turnaround high schools in Fall, 2012. Here is the list in Gotham Schools, from last fall.
The list of the 33 high schools, in all the boroughs except Staten Island, and concentrated in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan; report grades range from C to F.
News items such as this point to the stresses of being a teacher in the current era.
Thanks to democraticunderground.com for this tip from MSNBC
"Your bullying boss may be slowly killing you: 41 percent of American workers having been psychologically harassed at work," Stephanie Pappas, January 12, 2012
An excerpt from the opening:
If you spend your workday avoiding an abusive boss, tiptoeing around co-workers who talk behind your back, or eating lunch alone because you've been ostracized from your cubicle mates, you may be the victim of workplace bullying. New research suggests that you're not alone, especially if you're struggling to cope.
Employees with abusive bosses often deal with the situation in ways that inadvertently make them feel worse, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Stress Management. That's bad news, as research suggests that workplace abuse is linked to stress — and stress is linked to a laundry list of mental and physical ailments, including higher body weight and heart disease.
In at least one extreme case, workplace bullying has even been linked to suicide, much as schoolyard bullying has been linked to a rash of suicides among young people.
Bullying is "a form of abuse which carries tremendous health harm," said Gary Namie, a social psychologist who directs the Workplace Bullying Institute. "That's how you distinguish it from tough management or any of the other cutesy ways people use to diminish it." . . . .
The stress of the bullying may itself lead to bad decision-making, Namie said. A 2009 study in the journal Science found that stressed-out rats fail to adapt to changes in their environment. A portion of the stressed rats' brains, the dorsomedial striatum, actually shrunk compared with that region in relaxed rats. The findings suggest that stress may actually re-wire the brain, creating a decision-making rut. The same may occur in bullied workers, Namie said.
"This is why a person can't make quality decisions," he said. "They can't even consider alternatives. Just like a battered spouse, they don't even perceive alternatives to their situations when they're stressed and depressed and under attack." . . .
Hierarchical organization --sound familiar-- can contribute to the bullying problem
Hierarchical organizations such as the military tend to have higher rates of bullying, Herschcovis said, as do places where the environment is highly competitive.
"Definitely the organizational context contributes," Herschcovis said.
The personality of the bully is often key, with some research suggesting that childhood bullies become bullies as adults, she said. Targets of bullying are often socially anxious, have low self-esteem, or have personality traits such as narcissism, Herschcovis said. "We don't want to blame the victim, but we recognize this more and more as a relationship" between the bully and the target, she said.
Little research has been done on how to deal with abusive bosses or bullying co-workers. In mild cases, where a boss may not realize how their behavior is coming across, direct confrontation might work, Yagil said. One research-based program that seems to have potential is called the Civility, Respect and Engagement at Work project, Herschcovis said. That program has been shown to improve workplace civility, reduce cynicism and improve job satisfaction and trust among employees, she said. The program has employees discuss rudeness and incivility in their workplace and make plans to improve. [ 8 Tactics to Bust the Office Bully ]
For workers experiencing bullying, Herschcovis recommended reporting specific behavior to higher-ups, as well as examining one's own behavior. Sometimes victims inadvertently contribute to the bullying relationship, she said. Namie cautioned that victims should proceed with care, however, as there are no anti-bullying workplace laws on the books in the U.S.
"HR [human resources] has no power or clout to make senior management stop," Namie said. "Without the laws, they're not mandated to make policies, and without the mandate, they don’t know what to do."
Since 2003, 21 states have introduced some version of anti-bullying bills, but none have yet passed. Twelve states have legislation pending in 2012, according to healthyworkplacebill.org.
And see this undated Scholastic.com piece which carries special attention to the particular challenges of teaching in schools in the New York City Department of Education:
"The New School Bullies: It’s not just kids who are pushing each other around. Adults who act like bullies can poison the entire school culture."
“I have witnessed administrators publicly humiliating both older teachers and new ones. The teachers that the administration didn’t like would be made to feel so uncomfortable that even if they had tenure they would want to leave of their own accord,” reports a tenured former teacher who started out as a NYC Teaching Fellow and taught K–6 in a rough-and-tumble school in the South Bronx. (Like several sources in this story, he chose to remain anonymous.)
The following is the clincher of how the DOE via the principal can sink a targeted teacher; will the UFT call the city out on this bias against a teacher? Proponents of merit pay must consider the the gaping holes providing opportunities for administrator bias in setting up a teacher with the weaker students. The teacher evaluation algorithms should, but they probably do not consider whether students have tardiness patterns, poor attendance, a tendency to use the bathroom pass and hang out in the hallway, whether the students refuse to stop talking, whether the administration fails to take away distracting personal electronics. The algorithms might have consideration of the students literacy and numeracy skills. Will the UFT note these factors in the coming tsunami of negative evaluations to weed out the teachers to become ATRs at the 33 schools?
“The best method of achieving this would be to stack all the poorly behaved children together and place them in those teachers’ classes. This also created a lot of jealousy among teachers, producing a very negative atmosphere, which in turn ended up hurting the children.”PARTIAL LIST OF THE 33 TURNAROUND MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOLS. Special thanks to astorians.com for posting this. The Times has not posted the turnaround hitlist; the DOE has this scrupulously hidden.
Some schools are, simply, pressure cookers. Students come in with a multitude of issues—language barriers, malnutrition, learning disabilities, lack of educational support at home—and principals and teachers are overwhelmed. It’s no excuse for bullying, but it explains why abuse can happen more often here. . . .
The Trickle-Down Effect
In New York City’s smaller, reconstituted schools, the ranks are filled with eager, young Teaching Fellows or Teach For America members, says a former teacher turned staff developer who works with principals and teachers on classroom management and effective leadership. The principals have been rigorously selected, she says, but “it’s extremely challenging to open a new school, especially one that serves so many children at risk. Most principals have tremendous demands made upon them and not nearly enough support staff or resources. Successful new principals typically work 12-hour days, or even longer, or they start to drown.”
The mad push to find a fix means stress at all levels, the staff developer notes. “There’s a real trickle-down effect. One school in Brooklyn I work with is under tremendous stress. The principal may be removed. She explodes, and teachers feel belittled; they have a sense of unease, a constant feeling that their jobs are on the line. And the superintendent has been bullying [the principal], is on her to improve.”
“These schools are struggling to raise achievement, and everyone feels this crazy pressure,” she continues. “Schools don’t have a lot of time to prove themselves. When I was teaching, I was considered a model teacher, even though my test scores were not great. The tone was very different, that you couldn’t transform kids’ scores overnight. There’s been a huge shift, and you would expect to see a lot more bullying.”
Dave Staiger, a social studies teacher at Phoenix High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan, can attest to this. At a school where he taught previously, “I had an assistant principal who tried to pressure us to cheat on administering a standardized test. The teachers involved were all close and united, and they stood up to her and stopped it. So, like a union, that unity among staff can prevent bullying.”
This begs a question about Katy Independent School District: Is the district reluctant to remove the principal because she is, indeed, improving scores? District spokesman Steve Stanford defended the principal’s actions at Golbow Elementary, telling Houston Chronicle reporter Helen Eriksen in April that “although there has been turnover … there is no evidence that it is having a negative impact on student learning. To the contrary, there is evidence student learning is improving.”
That may be—though critics point to the extra resources this principal has been given—but at what cost? Golbow parent Alana MousaviDin wrote to the Chronicle: “What used to be a fun, loving, and exciting place for our children has since become a disgrace. The atmosphere has become somber, the employees work robotically.... Teachers who are dearly loved, needed, and appreciated are disappearing, and while new teachers are coming in, they are not allowed to teach with the panache and innovation that they are fully capable of. Our children are suffering.”
This begs another set of questions: How often do teachers feel united enough and secure enough to stand up and refuse an administrator? And what do they do when they’ve already stood up, and then been shut down?
Both Sides of the Union Coin
Partly, it depends on where you are. In states with strong teachers unions and a precedent for transparency, you stand a better chance of being heard and supported. But the union brand is no silver bullet. “The union hardly did much,” says the former South Bronx teacher, “but they made you feel like they could.”
Staiger agrees: “Unions and tenure give teachers some but not complete protection from being mistreated by administrators.”
The union did step up—eventually—when special education teacher Kimani Brown was placed in one of New York City’s “rubber rooms” (where disciplined teachers go to await a verdict) after questioning whether his principal, Marian Bowden, at Brooklyn’s MS 393 was following the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and providing adequate services for special-needs students. The United Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit on Brown’s behalf in 2008 and the principal resigned—but not until Brown had languished in a rubber room for a year and a half.
Randi Weingarten, then president of the UFT, said, “This is a clear case of a principal retaliating against an educator who had the nerve to stand up for his students. This principal needs to understand her role should be that of a leader, not a bully or tyrant.”
For school reformers, there is the other side of the union coin. The very protections that unions have in place for teachers can hamstring innovation and make change difficult if not impossible. Surprisingly, they can also create a different sort of bullying.
“At a small Manhattan school where I was working, the principal was perceived as very weak, and a group of teachers got together and tried to bully him,” says the NYC staff developer. “The principal was attempting to change the schedule to make room for a more flexible working environment and professional development. One teacher who didn’t agree with the bullying went against those touting union rules, and they ostracized her.”
“Part of the way to achieve results with new, smaller schools is to extend the school day slightly, ask more of teachers,” she adds. “Some teachers don’t object because there’s an unwritten understanding you’re making a commitment to go above and beyond to make the school work.”
The following is the original turnaround list from 2011. I welcome leads on the remaining schools to bring this number to 33.
02M460 WASHINGTON IRVING HIGH SCHOOL
02M500 UNITY CENTER FOR URBAN TECHNOLOGIES
02M615 CHELSEA CAREER AND TECH ED HS
05M685 BREAD & ROSES INTEGRATED ARTS HIGH SCHOOL
08X405 HERBERT H LEHMAN HIGH SCHOOL
08X530 BANANA KELLY HIGH SCHOOL
09X022 JHS 22 JORDAN L MOTT
09X339 IS 339
09X412 BRONX HIGH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
10X080 JHS 80 MOSHOLU PARKWAY
10X391 MS 391
10X660 GRACE H DODGE CAREER AND TECH HS
14K126 JOHN ERICSSON MIDDLE SCHOOL 126
14K610 AUTOMOTIVE HIGH SCHOOL
15K136 IS 136 CHARLES O DEWEY
15K429 SCHOOL FOR GLOBAL STUDIES
15K519 COBBLE HILL SCHOOL OF AMERICAN STUDIES
16K455 BOYS & GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL
19K166 JHS 166 GEORGE GERSHWIN
20K505 FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT HIGH SCHOOL
21K540 JOHN DEWEY HIGH SCHOOL
21K620 WILLIAM E GRADY VOCATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
22K495 SHEEPSHEAD BAY HIGH SCHOOL
32K564 BUSHWICK COMM HIGH SCHOOL
24Q455 NEWTOWN HIGH SCHOOL
24Q485 GROVER CLEVELAND HIGH SCHOOL
24Q600 QUEENS VOCATIONAL & TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL
25Q460 FLUSHING HIGH SCHOOL
27Q400 AUGUST MARTIN HIGH SCHOOL
27Q475 RICHMOND HILL HIGH SCHOOL
27Q480 JOHN ADAMS HIGH SCHOOL
30Q445 WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT HIGH SCHOOL
30Q450 LONG ISLAND CITY HIGH SCHOOL
Source: "Author Topic: Two of Astorias High Schools are designated to be "transformed" or "restarted"
Another inventory, courtesy Leonie Haimson:
Breaking this down further, there are 13 schools proposed for conversion from Transformation to Turnaround.
Bronx: Banana Kelly High School Herbert H. Lehman High School J.H.S. 22 Jordan L. Mott M.S. 391 Angelo Patri Middle School Brooklyn: Cobble Hill School of American Studies Franklin D. Roosevelt High School John Ericsson Middle School 126 School for Global Studies William E. Grady Vocational High School Queens: Flushing High School Long Island City High School William Cullen Bryant High School Fourteen Restart model schools would convert to the Turnaround model. Those schools would continue relationships with their education partnership organizations (E.P.O.); the partnerships are formed to provide help to schoo l administrators to improve academic performance. The 14 schools are: Bronx: Bronx High School of Business J.H.S. 80 Mosholu Parkway
Brooklyn: Automotive High School Bushwick Community High School I.S. 136 Charles O. Dewey J.H.S. 166 George Gershwin John Dewey High School Sheepshead Bay High School
Manhattan: Bread and Roses Integrated Arts High School
Queens: August Martin High School Grover Cleveland High School John Adams High School Newtown High School Richmond Hill High School
That’s only 27 low-performing schools. How did the city get to 33? It added six more persistently low-achieving schools to the Turnaround model:
Bronx: Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical High School Fordham Leadership Academy J.H.S. 142 John Philip Sousa
Brooklyn: W. H. Maxwell Career and Technical High School
Manhattan: Harlem Renaissance High School High School of Graphic Communication Arts
Two schools, Washington Irving High School in Manhattan and Grace Dodge Career and Technical High School in the Bronx, were taken off the improvement list earlier this school year and put on the list to be outright closed.
And these four struggling schools will continue with the Transformation model because the city says they show signs of progress:
Brooklyn: Boys and Girls High School
Manhattan: Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School Unity Center for Urban Technologies
Queens: Queens Vocational and Technical High School
Lastly, four charter schools — three of them in the same network — have had their charters revoked or not renewed, and will close. The charters are: Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School in Rockaway, Queens Williamsburg Charter High School in Brooklyn Believe Northside Charter High School in Greenpoint, Brooklyn Believe Southside Charter School in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
The Williamsburg and two Greenpoint charters are all in the Believe network overseen by the same group of people, and the city and state’s actions means that charter network has been shut down.
Have questions about the breakdown or the process? Ask and we will try to get answers.
Elbert Chu is a student at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and a SchoolBook intern. Follow him on Twitter @elbertchu.