NYC Schools and The Trump 2018 Education Agenda

NYC Schools and The Trump 2018 Education Agenda

Now that tax reform and a temporary budget have passed in Congress, President Trump needs to fulfill the promise of fixing our education system.

He promised to end common core. That would be a big step in improving our continuing failures in our inner cities, especially within areas of Democratic leadership. Then, he could deliver on school choice. 

He got one big boost on the retirement of New York City School Chancellor and the head of the New York City Department of Education, Carmen Farina.

Under Farina, Teachers’s Retirement Pensions have increase on pace with the stock market. Unfortunately, the education of students has not.

Union members made (not earned) money at rates they haven’t seen during any Democratic administration.

Fariña was appointed by Bill DeBlasio on December 30, 2013. From the look of her resume, she has the pedigree.

Fariña was a teacher, principal, superintendent, and the Deputy Chancellor of Teaching and Learning from 2004 to 2006. She oversaw expansions of Pre-K and Saturday programs. As leader of the country’s largest school system, she announced the end of her tenure citing that she “brought back dignity to teaching, joy to learning and trust to the system.”

Who Is Farina Kidding?

Carmen Farina and Mayor Bill DeBlasio of NYC

Schools led by her in the five boroughs are under constant scrutiny for a variety of infractions. Allegations of grade-fixing, tampering with violence reporting and the false claim that “rubber rooms” don’t exist. Students graduate unable to perform at college level, and are equally unprepared for the workforce.

According to reports in The New York Post,

“Grade-fixing is alive and well in NYC schools as administrators come up with tricky new ways to inflate their graduation rates — and few of the hundreds of cheating complaints ever get investigated.

Last summer, a scandal erupted at the Secondary School for Journalism in Brooklyn when a student who had cut a required English class dozens of times and got the lowest failing grade, a 45, walked on stage in a white cap and gown to get his diploma — even after a whistle-blowing teacher cried foul.”

Grade-fixing is not limited to one borough, one grade or way of hiding success/failure ratios.

The New York Daily News called out Fariña when ignoring for over a year the massive grade fixing scandal at John Dewey High School in Brooklyn?

“Teachers there began registering complaints in February 2014 that their administrators were creating phantom classes for failing students and secretly inflating grades to boost the school’s official graduation rate.

Eight teachers gave testimony to the School District’s Office of Special Investigations about the bogus scheme. Some claimed their names were attached to courses they never taught, others that they were ordered to instruct and grade students in subjects for which they had no state license.” The teachers provided investigators hard evidence: copies of faculty rosters, individual student schedules, internal emails, even audio tapes of conversations with superiors.”

Last July, NYC Comptroller, Scott Stringer, concluded in an audit that contracts over $101 million were awarded to NYC Leadership Academy to train administrators and coaches never accounted for where and how monies were spent. The Comptroller’s report feared questionable fraud in districts affecting minority families most.

Fights And Weapons

The public watches television ads and press conferences featuring Mayor DeBlasio advising to report what you see. Teachers are contractually required to report acts of violations to discipline codes. Yet, in truth, the practice of “Turn and Ignore” seems commonplace.

Gregory Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237, which represents the school safety agents says his members are being encouraged by the de Blasio administration to hand out warnings to student trouble makers in lieu of arrests and summonses. The agents are intimidated into not reporting these fights back to their union.

“The Mayor seems content to say crime in school is going down when he knows it’s not true,” Floyd said. “And this is a cover-up and he’s told the parents that schools are safe.”

NY1 recently reported that the NYCDOE doesn’t track bullying when parents request emergency transfers. Am ongoing legal battle since 2016, under Farina’s control, proves the lack of bullying safety. The suit was brought by the Families for Excellent Schools and private families.

Common Core

While elements of common core have been addressed, many parts of a common core curriculum have to be eliminated.

We still have a classroom environment that allows lessons to distort the truth and share opinions of bias. From textbooks, class trips, guests and little oversight with handouts, common core values are overshadowing facts, history and traditional family values. Is it really in the best interest of seven-year-olds to learn about various sexual activity? Why are there assignments that teach slaves came to America by choice and the positive influences of the Black Lives Matters movement, despite disapproval by many? Islam lessons monopolize religious lessons and intentionally water down Radical Islamic Terrorism.

College campuses are not the initial places education indoctrination forms. Rather, students are already filled with negative impressions and attitudes of entitlement and anger from year of public school leadership that has had progressive union support.

New York is just the example. Every city run by Democrats for decades is infested with public school systems with dismal graduation rates and rocked with scandals. These schools also cost taxpayers the most money. Costs run as much as $15,000 per student. Scandals of grade fixing, corrupt leadership, financial issues and failure plague these cities as well.

Mainstream media, union leaders and supporters for illegal immigrants seem to blame a lack of funds from the federal government for failure. Few call out the truth.

What The Trump Administration Must Prioritize in 2018

Education is a nonpartisan issue that can be changed successfully with bipartisan support. An agenda should include:

  • A better media campaign stressing that private, charter and homeschooling options are NOT the end of public schools, rather, their options lead to better public schools. As in business, options make competitors strive for better products, here being safer and better performing schools.
  • An overhaul of school lessons, extra materials, teacher courses and evaluations, and rebuilding an American patriotic feeling in a classroom community.
  • Reviewing federal and state laws that enforce education services. Too many students, patents and educators are filing violation complaints and are ignored.
  • Protecting whistleblowers the same way veterans were treated for exposing corruption. Too many are terminated and harassed unfairly for calling out cheating, safety and money scandals.
  • Calling for parent accountability. Too many issues of violence are tied to family histories.
  • Maximizing quality versus quantity time in school. Classes with many more students and fewer hours in other countries outperform American schools. Our methods are outdated like our infrastructure system and need updates.

If anyone sitting in office objects to fixing the system, there are many who are willing to work on the Trump agenda and work for success in 2018 and 2020.

One way to achieve success is by calling out the honest, factual failures associated with the Carmen Farina tenure.

Cindy Grosz is the organizer of Grassroots For 2018. She will work on Trump 2020. She is an education activist. She can be reached at [email protected]

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