In recent article, New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, has recommended several initiative to improve 94 of the city’s most troubled New York City Public Schools. He plans to extend school hours, add social services, and improve school supervision of teachers and principals. It seems that his efforts are paramount to historical strategies that have not improved student achievement.

Just to extend school hours is not enough for New York City Public Schools. The major questions that Mayor de Balsio is what will happen in this extended day. Knowing that he is not a proponent of charter schools. it is consisted with a strategy that many charter schools implement. Forty-eight of the charter schools across the nation provide a longer school day.

Proponents claim that the additional time spent in school will increase academic achievement and close the achievement gap for many students. However, the increase in time spent in schools can be costly. Recently, Chicago Public Schools spent almost $10 million dollars in 2011 to lengthen the school day for 50 schools. the total projected budget for this initiative was $84 million. This 484 million figure did not include the additional money necessary for electricity, water, gas, and maintenance.

Other school districts across the nation are establishing community service organizations to assist students and their families with the large range of problems that they may encounter. This will require the restructuring of relationships with service agencies, families, and the community. Schools will have to restructure the way that they operate. School principals will have to reach out to the community which will take away from their time as an instructional leader.

Mayor de Balsio intends to add additional coaches for teachers and principals to enhance student achievement. This will provide principals the time necessary to reach out to the community and other stakeholders to ensure that community services are available to both students and their families. However, the basic problem with have a coach is just that. In this type of coaching relationships a power struggle can ensue. Unless there is an accountability measure in place that makes the power of the coach to supersede that of the coached principal or teacher there will by both political and power challenges that will render the initiative ineffective.

What Mayor de Balsio is doing to New York City Public Schools is adding more parts to an already dysfunctional school district. He is attempting to fix the car by “souping it up”, when the real problem is the electrical system.

The electrical system impacts every area of the car. The car will not stop correctly if the electrical system is dysfunctional. The sensors in the car will not work if the electrical system is dysfunctional. The lights in the car will not work if the electrical system is dysfunctional. An in some new model cars, the brakes will not function correctly if the electrical system is dysfunctional. Like the electrical system, if the teacher student classroom relationships are dysfunctional, the school will not rune correctly.

Teacher student classroom relationships in the New York City Public Schools as well as all schools is the most important relationships in the school. When teachers and students have positive classroom relationships their is a positive shift in the schools culture. Positive teacher-student classroom relationships will increase teacher morale which will transfer into high students achievement and less disciplinary consequences for students.

Researcher Miller (1981) points out that teacher morale “can have a positive effect on pupil attitudes and learning. Raising teacher morale level is not only making teaching more pleasant for teachers, but also learning more pleasant for the students. This creates an environment that is more conducive to learning.”

Positive Teacher student classroom relationships is the vehicle for turning around New York City Public Schools.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
www.positiveracialrelationships.com
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012

 

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