DOE Administration Budget Swallows Whole the European Union’s GNP With Room to Spare

Mar 8, 2017 by

The body fat index of a star athlete is low, but the index of useless mass on the administrative body of the Department of Education is beyond the bounds of morbid obesity. There is a surplus of clipboard-carrying personnel that is ludicrously disproportionate to their productivity. The system would run much more smoothly and fairly if three-quarters of them were sacked.

Culling the herd of administrators, some of whom are venal and illiterate, would raise test scores and morale. It would qualify for public service sainthood.They are the reason that the education budget grows faster than bamboo shoots on steroids. But the public doesn’t realize that. They see the recent NY Post headline “Ed budget soars on workers’ pay boost” and assume that their tax dollars are being greedily snapped up by teachers whose union contracts are among history’s most evil documents.

Greek, Roman and Norse mythology all are replete with tales of superhuman challenges which, once overcome, prove the godliness of their conqueror. but each of these once-believed insurmountable challenges was a cinch compared with the task that principals would appoint for themselves: getting fired.

Whether for incompetence or malfeasance, it’s almost impossible for principals and other high-level DOE managers and motley fancy-titled project coordinators to lose their employment. They simply get lovingly nudged into a new assignment invariably with equal or superior pay.

It confers literalness on the word “pastime.”

Some of those ex-principals had by all criteria failed miserably in a different school, but beat out the competition of aspirants for the top school leader position. It’s almost as though not having a “rap sheet” as a failed school leader was a liability.

Often these ex-principals axed many members of the staff from the school they led, yet escaped accountability themselves, although they were in charge.

The higher the rank the more penalty-proof the privilege.

This applies both to active-service principals who are transferred and to pensioned principals who have been re-hired at astronomical rates of pay, while needy schools cannot afford materials and supplies.

If trusting members of the public could be “flies on the wall” and observed what many highly-paid supervisors and administrators do all day, they would be up in arms in disgust. It bears little resemblance to their carefully-worded job descriptions.

The DOE is expert at crafting niches for the folks they want to reward and protect. A large number of them are pensioned principals who are instantaneously rehired to semi-phantom positions in which they carry out in pantomime duties tailored for them.

Most of them do nothing to support curriculum, sharpen pedagogical skills or otherwise improve the quality of education. Those administrators are relatively harmless. They just take up space and budget lines.

If the entire GNPs of  the United States,China, Japan, India and the European Union were in a single year signed over to the New York City Department of Education, there would would be nothing to show for it in terms of genuine academic progress and career readiness.

Whenever there is new money, it gets hijacked . Yesterday’s NY Post story, an anomaly for its targeting administrators rather than teachers,  provided a sampling of characteristic prodigal squandering. A principal who the Special Commissioner of Investigation had urged be fired decided to retire on his terms, collect over $100,000 per year in pension and was promptly lapped up by the DOE at a cost to the taxpayer of $660 per day.

That’s a lot for counting bathroom tiles or just holding a coffee cup, no matter how crowded the hallway.

A so-called “leadership coach” , trotted out from retirement,gets $1,400 per day.  Multiply that by the vast number of ex-administrators who get similar gigs as a DOE administrative career birthright, and one can extrapolate the grievous waste of taxpayer money which many members of the public falsely believe is being invested in authentic education including supposedly excessive teacher salary packages.

The network of cronyism among administrators in the DOE is vaster than any media network.

Adding abuse to the budget injury is the fact that some of the most egregiously discredited  retired principals are immediately invited back on board by the system to provide moral and logistical support to active-service principals who need to be walked through the official protocols for getting rid of veteran teachers.

Most of these teachers selected for termination have long unbroken histories of exemplary performance.

They are doomed because they tend to be more professionally independent-minded and are paid more based on years of training and experience. These dirty-work adjuncts feather their own nests by driving out many worthy educators from their dream vocation.

Almost every  administrator I have known, good, bad and indifferent, was offered such a job as either  a career assassin or a sinecure with the DOE right away after retirement. Even world-class athletes would hyperventilate with rage if their tax dollars were funding those indolent barnacles.

Media such as the NY Post rarely touch upon the true factors that make the education budget skyrocket. Over a typical couple of days last week, the Post revisited ancient tales of teachers who had allegedly raked in “ill-gotten extra pay.” The details were fragmentary, rotten “cherry-picked”,and distorted, but many readers no doubt concluded that there is a perpetually festering scandal and mountain of corruption from which teachers benefit and for which they involuntarily underwrite as taxpayers.

Of the many tens of thousands of public school educators in New York City, the number and degree of proven improprieties committed by them is of such a small scale and implicate so few, that it is statistically insignificant. Probably less than in law enforcement, the healing arts, jurisprudence,journalism and especially DOE administration..

A pack of watchdogs is needed to guard the meat warehouse that is the DOE administrative budget.

Ron Isaac

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