New York City

Farina replaces 15 of the 42 NYC school superintendents

Part of Major System Overhaul

October 21, 2014 Associated Press, with additional reporting by Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina
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New York City’s schools chancellor has moved to revamp the system, with Chancellor Carmen Farina replacing 15 of 42 school superintendents.

The superintendents will report directly to her. They started their jobs Tuesday, according to the Daily News.

Farina’s shakeup of the school system has been in the works since July when she told superintendents they’d need to reapply for their jobs.

Of 42 who reapplied, 27 held on to their positions. Seven resigned, two retired and two found other jobs with the Education Department. Four more will remain in the job through Dec. 31 unless they find other work at the agency.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Farina has put a strong emphasis on experience in her picks for administrative posts, something that was de-emphasized during the Bloomberg administration.

Farina appointed educators with years of experience as her top deputies, and initiated a rule that those wanted to be principals spend seven years teaching before applying – a major change from the Bloomberg administration.

All those who remain as superintendents meet the chancellor’s new minimum requirements of at least 10 years of experience in schools, including three as a principal.

At a meeting in District 13 in Brooklyn on Monday, Farina said that she would be strengthening the role of the superintendents, whose duties were diminished under the Bloomberg administration. Under Bloomberg, schools joined geographically scattered “support networks.”

While giving more independence to principals, many critics said these networks weakened a district’s cohesion and accountability. Farina’s thrust has been to have local schools collaborate and share strengths.

Superintendents oversee principals and schools in their districts. With these changes, they will have a greater connection and more responsibility for the schools they oversee.

Farina herself was a highly-regarded superintendent in Brooklyn’s District 15.

Systemwide Changes

On October 1 in Brooklyn, Farina spoke about systemwide changes she was putting in place across New York City schools. The centerpiece is what she calls the Capacity Framework, a collaborative, research-based approach to partnering with schools.

The six prongs of this approach include “rigorous instruction, a supportive environment, collaborative teachers, effective leadership, strong family-community ties, and a culture of continuous learning and trust,” she said.

Farina said that schools with these six elements are ten times more likely to see rapid growth in reading, math, and attendance.

Farina also introduced the School Quality Snapshot, a report for families that will replace the Progress Report (AKA school report card), the one-size-fits-all letter grade system that relied heavily on standardized test scores.

She has received support for her overhaul from educators including Anthony Bryk, President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Michael Casserly, Executive Director of the Council of Great City Schools, Susan Fuhrman, President of Teachers College, Columbia University along with Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers.

Not everyone is happy with Farina’s superintendent choices, however. Parent David Kroening expressed disappointment to the Brooklyn Eagle via email, saying Farina “let District 22 Superintendent Dr. Rhonda Farkas go.”

Kroening said that Farkas “stood up against putting more charter schools in already overcrowded schools,” was accessible 24/7, and participated in many events throughout the community.

District 22 stretches from Ditmas Park to Mill Basin.

The charter school advocacy group Families for Excellent Schools said in a statement, “Replacing 15 bureaucrats won’t save 143,000 kids trapped in failing schools. NYC’s school system is broken.”

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