Dear Commons Community,
NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, on Monday, announced the replacement and/or reassignment of 15 of 42 city school superintendents in her biggest personnel shakeup since taking office. As reported by The Daily News:
“Fariña’s goal is to create a handpicked cadre of lieutenants capable of whipping the nation’s largest school system into shape. They start their jobs Tuesday.
“We’re going to get it right,” said Fariña, 71, who’s worked in city schools for five decades. “We’re making sure every child is in a school where they can be successful.”
The chancellor’s shakeup of the school system has been months in the making. In July, she told the city’s superintendents that they would all have to reapply for their jobs. Of 42 who reapplied, 27 kept their positions. Seven resigned. Two retired, two found other jobs with the Education Department and four more will be employed through Dec. 31, unless they find other work at the agency.”
One of Fariña’s themes since being appointed is that she wants people with experience in public schools in leadership positions. Those who remain all meet Fariña’s new minimum requirements of at least 10 years of experience in schools, including three as a principal.
Since taking over as chancellor, Ms. Fariña has indicated that she plans to roll back some of the changes that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg made to the school support system. In 2007, that administration created a system of so-called networks, which were created to provide principals with operational and instructional support while leaving them significant autonomy. Unlike superintendents, the networks were not geographically based, and principals could choose which of the roughly 60 networks to join. Superintendents, meanwhile, lost their traditional power over hiring and budgeting when Mr. Bloomberg became mayor in 2002.
A report commissioned by the Bloomberg administration from a consultant last year concluded that the networks had been mixed in their effectiveness, in part because of a range in the quality of their staff. The report found that struggling schools in some cases needed more assertive direction and suggested that superintendents should perhaps play a greater role in guiding them.
In her remarks to the new group of superintendents, Ms. Fariña hinted at her frustrations with the decentralized system created by the previous administration and said that she saw the superintendents as the “anchors” of her administration.