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NCLB Outrages

Fed school dunces: City forced to fire top-rated principals

Mike Winerip wrote about this phenomenon in Burlington, VT. It's happening in every state: To collect Federal dollars, the 5% lowest-performing schools must become turn-around schools. And that means either firing the staff or the principal. And staff includes the lunch ladies.

Reader Comment: STOP MEDDLING WITH LOCAL ISSUES MR PRESIDENT AND MR ARNE DUNCAN! EDUCATION IS A LOCAL ISSUE! YOU ARE SETTING THE EFFORTS OF THESE PRINCIPALS BACK. THEY HAVE SHOWN EVIDENCE OF PROGRESS IN A SYSTEM THAT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO MANAGE AND STUDENT STRUGGLE IN A CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT.

YOU FANCY YOURSELVES THE SAVIORS OF AMERICAN EDUCATION WHEN IN REALITY YOU LIMIT THE EXTENT THAT STUDENTS CAN ACHIEVE WITH YOUR PRO-TESTING/PERFORMANCE-OR-OUT AGENDA.

WORSE YET... YOUR APPROACH OF DANGLING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN FRONT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS STRUGGLING IN THE CURRENT ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT IS AN ATTEMPT TO USURP THE STATE'S POWERS AND ESTABLISH THE FEDS AS KING OF THESE UNITED STATES.

BUG OFF!
LET THE LOCALS DO THEIR JOB!
READ THE CONSTITUTION INSTEAD!




By Yoav Gonen

Five city principals with stellar reviews are set to get bounced from their high schools under a federal school-turnaround program that some critics liken to putting a bounty on principals' heads.

The rules of the new School Improvement Grants program require that principals of struggling schools be yanked -- high ratings be damned -- in order for the city to collect up to $6 million in federal funds per school.

Only the newest of the principals at 11 schools identified by the city for the first phase of the program -- which would bring in $66 million over three years for the cash-strapped school system -- are exempt from getting the boot.

But among the school leaders who have been told their days are numbered is FDR HS principal Geraldine Maione, whose Brooklyn school hasn't been rated lower than a "B" since she took over in 2005 and who "exceeded" her city-set performance targets in both 2008 and 2009.

Even as the school's population of non-native English speakers has ballooned to comprise 41 percent of the 3,500 students, its graduation rate has climbed by nearly 12 percentage points -- to roughly 60 percent -- under Maione, according to FDR staffers.

"When I heard about her removal, I was shocked because everyone loved her," said Edon Gjonbalaj, 17, a recent graduate.

Other principals rated highly by the city but facing the ax include Denise Vittor at Queens Vocational and Technical HS, William Bassell at Long Island City HS in Queens, and Carlston Gray at Brooklyn's Grady Career and Technical Education HS.

A fifth commended principal, Larry Wilson of Bread & Roses Integrated Arts HS in Manhattan, left the school for unrelated reasons in June, according to Department of Education officials.

"These are principals that have very good records -- both as leaders of buildings that have good progress reports . . . as well as good personal evaluations," said principals union vice president Peter McNally.

A city schools spokesman said: "While we recognize the tension in some cases between continuing the promising work of a principal and the federal regulations, we are actively working on a solution to meet both of those needs."

These principals may be removed if the city wants to get federal school turnaround dollars.

* Principal Geraldine Maione
School: FDR HS in Brooklyn
Performance rating 2008 and 2009 by school superintendents: Exceeds targets both years
School stats: Graduation up from 48% in 2005 to 60% this year â two Bâs and an A on school report cards

* Principal Denise Vittor
School: Queens Vocational and Technical HS
Performance rating 2008 and 2009 by school superintendents: Exceeds targets both years
School stats: Graduation up from 58% in 2003 to 73% in 2009 â two Bâs on latest school report cards

* Principal William Bassell
School: Long Island City HS in Queens
Performance rating 2008 and 2009 by school superintendents: Exceeds targets both years
School stats: Three Bâs on school report cards


— Yoav Gonen
New York Post
2010-08-18
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/fed_school_dunces_VWhFmysJc1vvfglDeTLs4N#ixzz0x04JS9w7


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