Sunday, March 8, 2015
Why Not Let Eva See What She Can Do With the Closing UFT Charter?
Now that the UFT's elementary and middle-school charters are closing, it provides ample room for an experiment. The U.F.T. will maintain its high schools. One, however, has been renewed for only three of a possible five years.
The U.F.T. has shape shifted into some strange forms to maintain its charters. It plays on the same field as Eva Moskowitz with her Success Academies. It snuggled up to the Broad Foundation (2013) with its million-dollar grant to fund its Brooklyn schools. It later snuggled up to Steve Barr (2009) of the parent-trigger movement and Green Dot for its Bronx school. The U.F.T. was forced into the awkward position of a hostile colocation with one of its own public schools, JHS 292. Its successful Bronx charter maintains a "thin contract," whereby workers potentially operate outside of the union contract, perhaps, for longer hours, but up to 14% more pay.
Since those who oppose unions argue that there is a case-and-point lesson to be learned here, let's see about that. In their view unionized workers cannot deliver the quality education on par with Eva's crew of transient workers, pumping out Success-ful test prep between 7:15 am and 5 p.m.
Here is the experiment. Let Success Academy take over the same failing student body from the UFT schools and operate within the same parameters. Let that student body remain wholly intact. (Note: her first graduating class started in 2006 with 73 students, but finished with merely 32 in June of 2014). Do not pressure students to leave. Do not suspend students and harass parents until the weak are driven away. Keep the same class size. Keep the same funding level. And, keep the same length of the school day. Do not change any other variables from the UFT school, merely the staff.
Let Eva bring in her own non-unionized, largely inexperienced workforce. Then, let's see her work her magic given the challenges faced by the same student body. Let's see the test scores, but, more importantly, let's see the college graduation rates. And, let's check back with these kids when they become young adults. Let's see how they're doing in life.
Given that even her own students' Success couldn't transfer over to the City tests for selective high schools for even a single student, I'd be surprised to find a miracle. I could be wrong though and if so, perhaps, she should be sainted--even though she would be the first one earning a half-a-million-dollar salary.