De Blasio announces ‘progressive’ ed reforms that mirror independent charter schools

Jul 9, 2014 by

NEW YORK – Apparently, it’s now “progressive” to mimic education reforms implemented by the nation’s charter schools.

Reforms progressive politicians have repeatedly criticized as bad education policy are being implemented in dozens of New York City schools under the regime of the city’s infamously “progressive” and union-friendly mayor, the New York Post reports.

“The so-called ‘Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence’ program will offer staggered school days, alter class sizes and allow more focused small-group instruction for struggling students,” according to the news site.

“The schools are designed to operate much like independently run charter schools, which are free of union constraints and tenure and typically have longer school days and their own curriculum and discipline code.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was elected with the backing of the radically progressive United Federation of Teachers union, announced Monday that 62 of the city’s public schools will participate in the “progressive” program.

A total of 107 school submitted proposals to become a “progressive” school, but Chancellor Carmen Farina and the United Federation of Teachers decided 72 were worthy of participating. According to the UFT’s recently signed contract with the city, 65 percent of teachers at the schools must approve of the change to make it a reality, because the reforms diverge from contractual norms, the Post reports.

In 10 of the selected schools teachers turned down the opportunity, the Post reports.

The whole program raises several important questions.

Why is it suddenly “progressive” to reform schools by moving away from union contract provisions that put the interests of teachers ahead of students? Charter schools and other education reform advocates – most of which are fairly conservative – have championed that concept for decades.

Also, why does the city’s teachers union have veto power over which schools receive the reforms and which don’t? Do the city’s elected officials run the education system or do union bosses?

Is this whole program simply a ruse to placate voters who are sick and tired of the UFT’s toxic influence in the city’s public schools?

Education reform advocates have criticized the “progressive” reform plan as much more limited than those implemented by local charter schools, according to the Post.

Jenny Sedlis, of Students First NY, provided the news site with her take on de Blasio’s plan.

“The lack of detail makes us wonder if this is just meant to district us from the fact that the teachers’ contract puts too many restrictions on how schools are run,” she said.

That’s certainly a valid concern, considering de Blasio’s cozy relationship with his benefactors at the UFT.

by Education News
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De Blasio announces ‘progressive’ ed reforms that mirror independent charter schools – powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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