Principals' Roundtable

Monday, February 18, 2013

School photos, principal (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Alison Hazut, principal of The Earth School, an East Village elementary school, and Rashid Davis, founding principal of Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn, a collaboration of NYC DOE, IBM, and CUNY, and Dr.Sean Feeney, principal of The Wheatley School in Old Westbury, New York, talk about the issues facing school principals, including evaluations and budgets.



Rashid Davis, Sean Feeney and Alison Hazut

Comments [11]


Maybe teachers don't go into it for the money, but principals certainly do. Bottom line, don't write a check, your ---can't cash. If you don't have what it takes to run a school efficiently and have ideas to elicit change, then don't become a principal the same for assistant principals.

Feb. 19 2013 09:04 PM
eleniNYC from Jackson Heights

AS For the Common Core Curriculum, the success of this remains to be seen. Diane Ravitch wrote an editorial in NYRB a few months ago about the Common Core. Essentially she concluded that: There exists NO research or study to indicate that this will actually work. IT's really interesting that this experiment was first spear-headed by a group of State governors who were trying to take control of the education policies and make sense of them. In 1997 it was explained at a Regents exam conference at Manhattan Comprehensive HS and Also that the exam will be 2 days [Humanities 1 Day Sciences/Math 1 day]. I often wondered if the HESPA that NJ inflicts on their students [in one day] was the experimental version of the PARCC. Then I read about how the Common Core was actually spear-headed by a CEO of a company. -- very confusing and conflicting stories. Since then PARCC, a non-for profit organization, made up of University professors and teachers has since resumed the responsibility of the Common Core. At least that is what I was BOTH told and read about on the Common Core. THe NYS Regents will be exiting very very soon. But the PARCC assessment will be measuring ????what??? none knows. In the meantime ... The portfolio movement is making a resurgance. To be continued...

Feb. 18 2013 04:01 PM

What each of these principals acknowledged was the challenge they face finding competent teachers. The politicians have created a climate in which many talented people don't consider teaching because they don't want to be part of a group that is constantly excoriated and scapegoated for the failures of a system that cannot adequately staff, supply, and meet the myriad needs of their students. There are real brick-and-mortar, not to mention books and paper or technology (literally) issues that are rarely discussed by politicians or the media. The very idea that Mayor Bloomberg floated doubling the classes of successful teachers shows that he has no idea what is involved in teaching. Let's see, the usual 150 students that a great high school English teacher would serve would become 300, and somehow that's supposed to result in a better outcome?! Why is there so little challenge to such a preposterous suggestion? Schools that have been designated "successful" in the New York City system have too many students. That's a real problem and it's harming hard-working students and their families who have no other options.

Feb. 18 2013 03:52 PM
eleniNYC from Jackson Heights

All prinicipals agreed that like learning, becoming an "effective" teacher takes time. All principals agreed that teachers are truly dedicated to what they do and that teachers are NOT in it for the money. So, Brian, why then did you keep focusing about the difficulty rooting "bad teachers" and the difficulties in finding "good" teachers? Teach For America's solution is the Peace Corps model, which fiscal ultra-conservatives absolutely LOVE since it saves money. TFA teachers typically NEVER stick around more than 3 yrs. They do it NOT for the love of teaching but rather they LOve the fact their student loans are forgiven and they get a free Masters degree. I suppose if you want to prevent a future of "bad teachers" perhaps Teach For America should be in the gallows and formally executed. I happen to know for a fact that throughout the CUNY system Colleges have been shutting their doors to this program since TFA serves to undermine the successes and reputations that CUNY Education programs have earned. IF TFA wishes to survive, then perhaps Charter schools should be where theyt are placed since public schools, clearly are NOT suited to TFA's agendas and self-interests.
The Principal from the P-Tech Bklyn. HS answered the Qs perfectly and de-bunked the mythos surrounding the "failures of society caused by teachers" or stories that portray teachers and the UFT/AFT as the axis of evil. A fairy tale spun and perpetuated by the GOP and other neo-con artiststo detract attention away from their 1% support base. An ultra-minority lobby grp. whose agenda is to maintain and ever expand the gap of unequal wealth distribution and other "Jim Crowist" strategems.

Feb. 18 2013 03:39 PM
Mike from Brooklyn

Very good interview and very good topic. It was good not to be too tough in your questioning but I feel you could continue this topic in a slow steady manner over time. I am a guidance counselor at a successful school in Brooklyn but really wonder how principals at schools other than mine feel about evaluation and other topics.

Education and running a school is more complex than most people imagine.

I also think it would be good to interview a successful NY City Principal who is no longer a Principal at their school, because he or she may be more free to answer difficult questions. A current Principal even if he is very established and doing well is very " tied in to his environment " and will not be completely open.

Feb. 18 2013 02:35 PM

Another fluff interview that does absolutely nothing to help improve the education system.

Feb. 18 2013 11:46 AM
Guy from NYC

Brian why are you steering the convesation back to the cannard of "firing bad teachers" after this whole conversation? What percenage? Are you kidding? I have been saying this since the beginning of the "reform" movement: the ultimate legacy of "reform" will just be to drive teachers and potential teachers out of education (in addition to privatizers making loads of money). Ignorant public and clumsy media are part of the problem here folks.

Feb. 18 2013 11:43 AM
P from Westchester

If principals were able to evaluate teachers without a system in place, how do we explain that well over 90% of teachers used to receive Satisfactory ratings? I don't think test-based criteria are valid. I do think it should be the principals who evaluate, but historically, they haven't shown they can do it.

Feb. 18 2013 11:35 AM
morgan from Indiana

This idea is one whose time has come. But it should be mentioned that among the reasons it is necessary is the decline of labor unions and the failure, due to legal impediments to organizing and the successful ideological indoctrination that demonizes any collective action such as unions. This may sound counter-intuitive, but in the past even the most highly skilled jobs were filled through apprenticeships. Apprenticeship programs--which were paid for in part by the companies--were a major goal of skilled trade unions in their negotiations with businesses and with government for the regulated/certified skilled trades, such as electricians, plumbers, etc. As legal impediments and shifts to outsourcing and off-shore manufacturing have diminished unionization, the unions have not been able to maintain the historical push for apprenticeship programs.

Feb. 18 2013 11:30 AM
Susan from North Salem, NY

Common Core is AWFUL!!!!! Thanks to common core, kids have to have tests and homework in elective subjects such as art, music and SHOP for crying out loud! Everything has to be tested and measured, it's ridiculous and horrible and does NOTHING for children except ruin their love of learning. Just ask any teacher. Yeah, ASK A TEACHER!!!

Feb. 18 2013 11:29 AM

A few questions for the principals:

What is the operating budget for managing the operation of your school?

What is the cost per student?

What is the operating payroll for your school?

Do you have any prior experience as a techer or administrator in education?

Would you prefer to focus 90% of your time on educating students and 10% on facilities operations?

Do you have any experience in real estate management?

I ask these questions to get a better understanding as to where the tax dollars go to help educate our kids.

Feb. 18 2013 10:56 AM

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