An outraged New York City principal is calling for Mayor Bill de Blasio and the head of the department of education to be fired over the decision to delay in-person classes yet again just three days before they were set to resume.
The principal, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution by de Blasio and NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, spoke to DailyMail.com on Thursday after the mayor announced that the nation’s largest public school district would not welcome all of its one million students back on September 21 as previously planned.
Instead, the district will bring students back on a rolling basis, with preschools reopening next week, followed by kindergarten to fifth-grade schools on September 29, and then middle and high schools on October 1.
The last-minute shift to a phased return sparked renewed fury and confusion among parents and school administrators already frustrated by de Blasio’s repeated flip-flops on the reopening.
The principal told DailyMail.com that they were especially shocked because they were not given a heads up about the change and heard about it with everyone else on the news.
‘Governor [Andrew] Cuomo needs to step up and fire Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza. They should be led out in handcuffs for what they have done,’ the principal said.
‘They have failed our students and teachers by what they have done. They do not listen to what the schools need. They don’t consult us. It is a dictatorship.
‘Our school is ready to welcome back children. We have been ready for almost two weeks. How can they do this?’
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New York City public schools will no longer resume in-person classes for all students on Monday, September 21, as previously planned, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday
Thursday marked the second time that de Blasio has delayed the start of in-person classes, which were originally set to begin on September 10.
The principal branded the mayor and chancellor ‘pathetic and incompetent b*****ds’ for how they’ve handled the entire process for reopening classrooms.
‘De Blasio and Carranza have failed the kids of America’s biggest city,’ the principal said.
‘They are despicable and disrespectful to all of the hard working staff and parents who want their children educated. Welcome to how they have treated principal’s throughout the entire pandemic.’
The principal said they haven’t been able to take a single day off since all campuses in the nation’s largest school district were shuttered when the coronavirus crisis took hold in March.
‘I come in every day at 6am and leave at 7pm to ensure my school is ready – and it is – yet they pull the rug right out from under us,’ they said.
‘These fools should’ve made the call in May to go all remote from September through January, but they didn’t. So we prepared to come back. We are ready.’
‘This is a complete and utter failure that rests right at the feet of De Blasio and Carranza,’ the principal added. ‘They need to be terminated. Our kids deserve better, our teachers deserve better and our city deserves better.’
De Blasio and union leaders said they switched to phased model for reopening schools because the city needed more time to prepare buildings and recruit more teachers.
‘We are doing this to make sure all of the standards we set can be achieved,’ the mayor said, adding that he ‘literally made a list of 20 different concerns that we’re going to work through to address because they were real concerns’.
Unions representing teachers and principals in the public school district have warned that schools still don’t have the teachers or the coronavirus safety measures that are needed to reopen safely.
Labor leaders, who had sounded alarms in recent days that the schools still didn’t have the teachers or the coronavirus safety measures needed to reopen safely, appeared alongside de Blasio at Thursday’s news conference.
‘Opening Monday to everyone would not have been safe for our students,’ said Mark Cannizzaro, president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the union that represents principals.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), called reopening the school district ‘an unprecedented challenge’.
‘We want our school system up running and safe and we want to keep it up running and safe. That’s what the families of the children of this city deserve,’ Mulgrew said.
‘We are protecting our schools, our families our children and ourselves against this horrendous situation that is known as the pandemic.’
Just last week, Mulgrew posted a scathing nine-minute rant on UFT’s website pointing out safety issues that had already arisen since teachers began returning to campus earlier this month to prepare for the arrival of students.
He slammed the Department of Education’s failure to properly clean buildings or to provide enough personal protective equipment as he called on educators to broadcast their own concerns on social media so that officials would start paying attention.
De Blasio and union leaders said they chose to use a phased model for reopening schools because the city needed more time to prepare for the students’ return
De Blasio’s continuing failure to commit to a plan at the 11th hour has fueled a chorus of critics who say the Department of Education is completely unprepared to bring the nation’s largest school district back online amid the coronavirus pandemic
The United Federation of Teachers posted photos of educators working outside last week to highlight anxieties with returning to in-person classes too soon
De Blasio confirmed that the staffing shortage was one of the major issues driving the latest delay and announced the department of education is hiring an additional 2,500 teachers on top of the 2,000 he said were being added earlier this week.
‘When I heard Mark [Cannizzaro] and Michael [Mulgrew] talk about specific school staffing needs that still were not being resolved in time enough, I heard an honest concern,’ the mayor said.
‘It just was clear to me that we did not have a clear enough number and that we had to agree to a number that folks who had the ability to hear exactly from every school what was going on in a different way that DOE bureaucracy hears.’
The news was immediately met with backlash on Twitter as parents accused de Blasio and other education officials of ignoring union leaders’ concerns until the last minute.
‘NYC Mayor decides less than a week before school opens to delay and phase reopening (advocates made this call months ago),’ one man tweeted.
‘This is the height of arrogance and poor planning. We’ve wasted the last 3 months. Unacceptable.’
Another critic used de Blasio’s own phrase – ‘staggered reopening’ – against him, writing: ‘Mission accomplished: parents, teachers and students staggering away in disbelief.’
‘You had all summer, you delayed opening once already. This failure falls on the Mayor and the Chancellor. Someone should lose their job,’ a third user quipped.
The news was immediately met with backlash on Twitter as parents moaned that de Blasio had months to get schools ready for reopening but failed to listen to union leaders’ concerns
Many of the outraged parents pointed out that de Blasio was causing significant harm to powerless children by failing to execute a coherent plan.
‘How are you making these last minute changes three days before school was supposed to start?’ a woman tweeted.
‘Do you have any idea how bad this is for the kids who were thrilled to start school on Monday and are going to be crushed when they hear about this delay?’
‘What a monumental bumble! Didn’t you know you would need more teachers before now??? What are you “leaders” thinking????? Obviously not about students and teachers and learning…’ a man wrote.
Another woman wrote: ‘My kid is in fourth grade, doesn’t know how to read or write, and you expect him to learn remotely… Good luck getting on him when I’m at work… I guess this will be another year wasted for special needs children.’
De Blasio has repeatedly assured that the city can pull off the hybrid learning system that he announced back in July, which will see 58 percent of students attend classes three days a week while learning at home the other two days.
Just yesterday the mayor insisted that in-person classes would start as planned on September 21, as the school year kicked off remotely with three days of online orientation this week.
‘We’ve said repeatedly it will not be a perfect start,’ de Blasio said Wednesday.
‘We’ll be making a lot of adjustments in the weeks after we begin to continue to improve things.
‘But the important reality here is to say we’re going to be providing the best education possible in person, the best education possible remotely, we’re going to keep making improvements as we go along, we’re going to keep adjusting and figuring out what we need in terms of staffing.’
A small number of students began returning to physical classrooms on Wednesday for the first time since March, when COVID-19 forced the closure of schoolhouses in New York and much of the rest of the nation.
The reopening comes as an average of about 240 people a day are still being diagnosed with coronavirus in New York City, one of only a few large US cities attempting to start the school year with students in real classrooms.
The city previously agreed with the unions that there would be monthly coronavirus testing of students and staff, with systems in place to send home classrooms or shut down entire schools if new COVID-19 cases are found.
De Blasio has repeatedly assured that the city can pull off the hybrid learning system that he announced back in July, which will see 58 percent of students participate in classes both online and in person
The new school reopening plan marked de Blasio’s second major U-turn this week.
On Monday he announced that the city had reversed its decision to transfer homeless individuals out of a luxury hotel on the Upper West Side, after some residents protested the transfer and others expressed outrage that the scheme was allowed to continue.
De Blasio said that ‘the whole system is being looked at right now’ after facing criticism from all sides over his plan to house some 13,000 homeless people in hotels across the city during the coronavirus pandemic.
In another big move, the mayor revealed on Wednesday that he will furlough himself and up to 500 of his own mayoral staff for a week in a symbolic gesture that will save New York City $860,000 as it faces a budget deficit of $4.2billion.
The mayor’s plan will put 495 City Hall staffers – including his wife Chirlaine McCray – out of work for a week at some point between October and March 2021. De Blasio has said that he will continue working without pay during his own furlough.
The decision to put his staff out of a job for a week comes after de Blasio threatened to cut up to 22,000 city employees by next month. He said the furloughs may serve as a ‘useful symbol’ if the union cannot agree on cost-cutting measures by then.
The pandemic has cost New York City $9billion in revenue and forced a $7billion cut to the city’s annual budget. It also needs to plug a $4.2 billion deficit in next year’s budget. The city has also asked the federal government for aid, but so far none appears to be coming.
Source: Daily Mail