April 8, 2015
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—The president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators said in the accompanying video interview that educators around the country, including New York, are facing an increasing barrage of disrespect while those setting education policy go undetected.
“I think there’s a lack of respect for the work that educators do. And it runs the gamut—from the idea that the only people who need to be evaluated are educators, not the people who provide the resources to educators,” said Ernest Logan, CSA’s president. “Look what’s happening in New York State—[the governor] wants somebody from the outside to come into the school and decide whether the principal has done his or her job evaluating teachers. This independent evaluator is going to parachute into a school and then determine how good a teacher is or isn’t. You’re telling me that a principal who works with teachers for 180 days isn’t going to know more than an independent evaluator. I don’t think so. That’s the level of the disrespect that’s happening,” Logan said.
Mr. Logan’s education career dates back to 1973 when he was a teacher in East New York, Brooklyn before being promoted as an assistant principal and then becoming Principal of the Ocean-Hill Brownsville Middle School in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Twenty of those years have been working for the union.
“It’s been an interesting journey because I’ve got to see it from both perspectives. But it’s very important as a leader of educators to know what’s happening and what their world is like,” said Logan.
We asked him what he liked best about teaching.
“I think what I really liked about being a teacher is the opportunity to see children grow from the work I did with them. When I saw how they grasped something I was teaching I really saw how education made a difference in their lives.”
He liked teaching so much that at first he didn’t want to take the assistant principal position.
“I was chosen to do it, but I wasn’t so sure about it because I figured I’d be removed from the students. But I soon learned that I had a greater impact on students as I started working with teachers and adults and got them to understand my vision of how we should work with the students, their parents and the greater community. I think that I realized that I could have a greater impact as I moved up and away from my prime purpose, which was the education of students,” Logan said.
In 2007, Logan was elected as CSA’s president and now represents about 6,000 active members and more than 9,000 retirees. He said that he always reminds his colleagues their focus should always be about students, but that the union also has to pay close attention to the political and social environment that reinforces the students’ education. In the video, that’s when he explains how New York State’s and the nation’s political leaders are disrespecting educators, purportedly.
“We have failed to fund it properly. We still have large class sizes. We have decided that anyone can enter the profession, but then we’re held accountable for how they got there. We refuse to build up facilities so that our students are learning in high-class learning environments. Do you believe that there are schools in this city, the state and the country where there is no Internet access? We have schools without science labs, and there are school buildings over 100 years old. That’s disrespecting education,” said Logan.
Back in December, at CSA’s 47th annual conference at the New York Hilton where Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new contract with CSA, Mr. Logan warned his members that the whole world is watching New York City to see how public education evolves as charters expand. We asked him what he meant.
“People think that public education should be replaced by charters, by corporations running schools. We can do public education. I told my members they’re watching us because they want us to fail, but that we can prove them wrong. The new initiatives that we’re working on with the Chancellor [Carmen Farina] and the Mayor are going to be right for children—with the right supports, resources and the right people to make children succeed,” Logan said.