Teachers Union fights closure of NYC's 'school from hell'

Isn't the teachers union supposed to be protecting incompetent, unqualified and unmotivated teachers with tenure, while simultaneously whining about how underpaid and overworked their members are?  Shouldn't the teachers and their union bosses be joining hands and chanting the official mantra "it's all about the kids, it's all about the kids?"  Not at Harlem's infamous MS 344, the Academy of Collaborative Education. 

 

The New York Post reports that the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and the NAACP have teamed up to prevent the Department of Education (DOE) from closing New York City's worst performing middle school.  Why has the UFT and the NAACP gone to court in an effort to keep MS 344 open?

 

Kids hoot and yammer so loudly that their ruckus drowns out the teacher.  A trash can is overturned in class and dumped.  Grimy floors are littered with sunflower seed shells, spit out by the hundreds.

 

Books and supplies fly out the windows.  Mouse droppings are everywhere, even on the computers.

 

[...]

 

The Department of Education has tried twice since last year to shut MS 344, the city's worst performing middle school.  MS 344 has made the state's list of "persistently dangerous" schools, and just two of 88 eighth-graders last year passed the state math or reading exams.

 

Is the UFT fighting for the teachers at MS 344?  One beleaguered teacher reports being "pushed, shoved, scratched, thrown against the wall, spit on and pickpocketed."  That same woman once found a used condom in her purse.  Another teacher was transferred after one of his students had threatened to rape his wife. 

 

"It needs to be closed, closed, closed, because it's an unsafe place for children," a teacher said of the school.  "It's heartbreaking that the small percentage who want to learn don't get the education they deserve."

 

Many of the school's teachers have laid the blame Principal Rashaunda Shaw and have tried to have her removed.  Ms. Shaw has been accused of negligence and failure to enforce disciplinary measures.  Typically Principal Shaw arrives late and makes a beeline to her office where she sends the rest of the day.  Ms. Shaw has managed to find employment at the school for her sister in-law, her boyfriend's ex-wife and other of her cronies.

 

Shaw, 34, also hired former Staten Island Assistant Principal Odufuyl Jackson, a friend who was busted in 2009 on felony charged that he conspired to steal more than $100,000 in Social Security Benefits.

 

He pleaded guilty last year to attempted fabrication of business records.  The DOE demoted Jackson to teacher, but Shaw has him doubling as a dean.

 

On those rare occasions when Ms. Shaw isn't busy finding employment for friends and family or hiding in her office she helps promote the toxic atmosphere at MS 344 through her unique management style.  Insiders have provided a few examples.

 

·         A Math teacher who tried to stop a student from hitting him was accused by Shaw of using "corporal punishment."

·         A scrawny boy pulled out his wallet while surrounded by tough kids in the hall.  A teacher learned the kid was robbed by the same gang every day for a month.  Shaw reprimanded the teacher for phoning the victim's mom

 

A UFT spokesman said the union has met with MS 344 staff in the past year on their safety, health and classroom woes, including "the lack of administrative support" and alleged harassment by Shaw.  But the union could cite no results from its effort.

 

The joint effort between the UFT and the NAACP in their legal battle to keep Harlem's 'school from hell' open has been pursued far more aggressively than any attempts to address the issues faced by the students and the staff.  Obviously it's not about the kids, or the teachers either.

 

Perhaps healthier school meals and an anti-bullying program is all that MS 344 really needs.

 

 

June 26, 2011

 

paboehmke@yahoo.com

Isn't the teachers union supposed to be protecting incompetent, unqualified and unmotivated teachers with tenure, while simultaneously whining about how underpaid and overworked their members are?  Shouldn't the teachers and their union bosses be joining hands and chanting the official mantra "it's all about the kids, it's all about the kids?"  Not at Harlem's infamous MS 344, the Academy of Collaborative Education. 

 

The New York Post reports that the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and the NAACP have teamed up to prevent the Department of Education (DOE) from closing New York City's worst performing middle school.  Why has the UFT and the NAACP gone to court in an effort to keep MS 344 open?

 

Kids hoot and yammer so loudly that their ruckus drowns out the teacher.  A trash can is overturned in class and dumped.  Grimy floors are littered with sunflower seed shells, spit out by the hundreds.

 

Books and supplies fly out the windows.  Mouse droppings are everywhere, even on the computers.

 

[...]

 

The Department of Education has tried twice since last year to shut MS 344, the city's worst performing middle school.  MS 344 has made the state's list of "persistently dangerous" schools, and just two of 88 eighth-graders last year passed the state math or reading exams.

 

Is the UFT fighting for the teachers at MS 344?  One beleaguered teacher reports being "pushed, shoved, scratched, thrown against the wall, spit on and pickpocketed."  That same woman once found a used condom in her purse.  Another teacher was transferred after one of his students had threatened to rape his wife. 

 

"It needs to be closed, closed, closed, because it's an unsafe place for children," a teacher said of the school.  "It's heartbreaking that the small percentage who want to learn don't get the education they deserve."

 

Many of the school's teachers have laid the blame Principal Rashaunda Shaw and have tried to have her removed.  Ms. Shaw has been accused of negligence and failure to enforce disciplinary measures.  Typically Principal Shaw arrives late and makes a beeline to her office where she sends the rest of the day.  Ms. Shaw has managed to find employment at the school for her sister in-law, her boyfriend's ex-wife and other of her cronies.

 

Shaw, 34, also hired former Staten Island Assistant Principal Odufuyl Jackson, a friend who was busted in 2009 on felony charged that he conspired to steal more than $100,000 in Social Security Benefits.

 

He pleaded guilty last year to attempted fabrication of business records.  The DOE demoted Jackson to teacher, but Shaw has him doubling as a dean.

 

On those rare occasions when Ms. Shaw isn't busy finding employment for friends and family or hiding in her office she helps promote the toxic atmosphere at MS 344 through her unique management style.  Insiders have provided a few examples.

 

·         A Math teacher who tried to stop a student from hitting him was accused by Shaw of using "corporal punishment."

·         A scrawny boy pulled out his wallet while surrounded by tough kids in the hall.  A teacher learned the kid was robbed by the same gang every day for a month.  Shaw reprimanded the teacher for phoning the victim's mom

 

A UFT spokesman said the union has met with MS 344 staff in the past year on their safety, health and classroom woes, including "the lack of administrative support" and alleged harassment by Shaw.  But the union could cite no results from its effort.

 

The joint effort between the UFT and the NAACP in their legal battle to keep Harlem's 'school from hell' open has been pursued far more aggressively than any attempts to address the issues faced by the students and the staff.  Obviously it's not about the kids, or the teachers either.

 

Perhaps healthier school meals and an anti-bullying program is all that MS 344 really needs.

 

 

June 26, 2011

 

paboehmke@yahoo.com

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