New York's Back

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After a boring few weeks of silence, the Big Apple is back to providing us with the kind of conflict and drama that just can't be found elsewhere (except perhaps Chicago--where a nullification of their recent union elections led current prez Deb Lynch to change the locks on the union office doors this week to keep her potential successor from moving in.)

First, Chancellor Klein released the numbers of teachers (530) who are appealing their unsatisfactory ratings on their annual evaluations. That number accounts for less than one percent of the NYC teaching crop. Not exactly evidence that Klein or his principals are laying down the hammer but perhaps a start.

In the "oops" category Klein released the names of a much higher percentage of principals (45) who had been terminated for unsatisfactory work. Klein supporters welcomed the news as evidence that the city was cracking down. The only problem was that half of the administrators on Klein's list had actually voluntarily retired, shifted systems or resigned—there was nothing unsatisfactory about them. Not a way to win friends.

And finally, Mayor Bloomberg last week called for the dismissal of five assistant principals who were unassigned but still being paid (at a rate of $65,000 and $106,000 a year) to report to a Manhattan personnel office for work each day to then essentially do nothing—an absurd but common practice certainly not unique to New York schools. The five were caught shopping during "work" hours at Lord & Taylor, Macy's and K-Mart and then falsifying time sheets.