Chancellor Chides Teachers For Behaving Like Children

Hecklers of NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott had their way at the J.H.S. 74 until the Chancellor scolded them back.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott was the headliner Wednesday evening at a J.H.S. 74 Town Hall, but it was the audience that stole the show.

Walcott caught a chorale of boos and hisses when he stuck up for his boss, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, before the packed auditorium.

“The mayor has been extremely supportive of teachers,” said Walcott. The statement struck the wrong cord with the many educators in the crowd.

The room practically convulsed with contrary assertions before Walcott said in the mayor’s defense, “We’ve been able to get a 43 percent increase in the base salary of our teachers under Bloomberg.”

When the grousing continued, Walcott, a former educator himself, halted nearly all voices by rebuking; “You would not allow your children to act that way.”

The Chancellor said the crowd might disagree with him, but he would “not take,” further outbursts from teachers anymore than he did from students when he was before a class.

Nonetheless, he had nothing negative to say about teachers on the whole. “I think teachers are the most valuable people in this world,” he said.

Earlier in the evening, the moderator, Jeannette Segal brought up a Patch article, saying, “There was a poll on Douglaston Patch—”

Before she could continue, the Chancellor quipped, “I’m sure I’m not polling very well.”

She assured the Chancellor the poll wasn’t on his performance, but instead about what District 26 readers would like him to prioritize. Most of the respondents, 53 percent of the 30 polled said a new high school for the District was most urgently needed.

Relating his experience as a Francis Lewis High student in the late 60’s, Walcott said, the issue of overcrowding was much the same now as it was then.

“Then Cardozo opened, and that was popular.”

The Chancellor believes that once new schools do open, Francis Lewis, which is reportedly at 175 percent capacity, will again be relieved of crowding.

A brand new high school is slated to open in Maspeth. CDEC 26 was also notified last year that a new high school site was being scouted in Northeat Queens, though the DOE says they've yet to find one that's adequate.

He also revealed that the Dept. of Education’s revised capital plan will make 800 new seats available in Queens.


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Susan February 17, 2012 at 12:14 AM
I graduated from Francis Lewis HS a few years after the Chancellor. It's a pity his remarks implied the DOE has done little since the 1970s to relieve overcrowding at FLHS. He suggested that opening up new smaller-sized high schools in Queens will relieve the overcrowding at FLHS, Bayside and Cardozo. He suggested we send our children to an unproven new school in Maspeth (while not mentioning the problems parents have been complaining about at the brand new Metropolitan HS campus). He was silent DOE plans to support quality of instruction at Martin Van Buren HS, not once mentioning MVBHS was 1 of 8 high large Queens schools (w/total student pop of 21,000) DOE is targeting as possibility for turnaround (means approx. 50% of staff is removed from school). Nor did he mention Flushing HS was a second NE Queens high school being targeted for possible turnaround status. If these 8 large Queens high schools are "fixed" in this manner, there will be even more Queens students applying to Bayside HS, Francis Lewis and Cardozo. Chancellor did, however, suggest Bayside, FLHS and Cardozo were victims of their own academic success. I left the Town Hall feeling like the policy wonks at the DOE are letting us down by not finding more creative solutions to our school's problems.
Susan February 17, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Forgot to mention Flushing High School near Main St. is also on the target list. What will happen if Flushing HS in District 25 and Martin Van Buren HS, which sits on the border between District 26 and District 29, are destabilized in a school reorganization attempt to boost student performance? Parents will flee with their feet (yes, the Chancellor says parents talk by walking out of schools they dislike). Parents go to mind-boggling lengths to get their child into a quality Queens high school in northeastern Queens. The domino effect prevails. You can guess what will happen next -- it will be 2020 and Francis Lewis HS will still be overcrowded. Lastly, I as a parent, don't make this stuff up. It comes from attending DOE meetings and listening. Not sure why the Chancellor wasn't in attendance at the 2/13 meeting at Queens Borough Hall where Helen Marshall conducted a public hearing on the 8 Queens high schools being targeted for turnaround. PS - I think at the very end of the evening, she came out against mayoral control...
Susan February 17, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Enough -- the Chancellor identified a few newer small high schools that have been developed in Queens. Quality of education in District 26 K-8 schools is so high the majority of our middle school parents would not dream of sending their children to these unproven schools. At least two of schools he mentioned have application processes that do not favor accepting children from District 26. Why doesn't Chancellor talk about finding a policy tool to expand the campus of Townsend Harris HS or take the small learning communities at the Queens HS of Teaching and modify them for the Martin Van Buren HS campus and Flushing HS.


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