Townsend Harris High School is Queens’ elite school known for its competitive acceptance rates and its many graduates that enter the country’s Ivy League colleges.

One of the greatest investments of a society is its expenditure on its children. Society feeds, cares, and educates them because people want to leave the world a little better than they had found it. What if you, as a parent, were told that your child would not receive a proper education; what would you do?

Teachers addressing grievances to the press to raise awareness in ousting Jahoda.

In this tour, you will be led across New York to four schools that experienced a tumultuous year as a result of the Department of Education’s faulty rules. Let’s begin:

Our first stop is Queens’ elite Townsend Harris High School. In the 2017 school year, the acting principal of Townsend Harris had to leave, and for his replacement, Rosemarie Jahoda was assigned as the interim acting principal. This assignment was made without the approval of the students and parents of Townsend Harris, as the Department of Education knew that Jahoda wouldn’t be welcomed. Prior to her tenure at Townsend Harris, Jahoda earned the reputation as being tyrannical, and uncaring. She was further demonized when she insulted teachers, made teachers cry, delayed approvals of college applications and offered little assurance to the Muslim Student Association that hatred towards Muslims wouldn’t be tolerated. Clearly, Jahoda was an unqualified principal. After 9 months of pleading with the Department of Education, Jahoda was replaced. During these 9 months, students, parents, and teachers all suffered under the submission of Jahoda in fear of getting bad grades, endangering their children’s grades, or even losing their jobs. The 9-month period had exposed the inefficiency of the Department of Education’s C-30 process in rooting out bad principals in a timely manner. It is worth noting that, in the C-30 hiring process, applicants are interviewed by ranking individuals of the department of education, various union bosses, and some parents and those applicants that are approved for principal roles get hired for the principal position. It should be obvious to all that it shouldn’t take 9 months to fire an incompetent principal, but that is exactly what happened in Townsend Harris High School. Senior class president Alex Chen was asked to comment on the Department of Education’s role in the controversy to which he responded: “well they’re the bureaucracy right? Whatever procedures we want quickened, we would go to them to appeal”. Too bad it took too long for the department to take action. Similar hiring problems had occurred in others schools.

Jahoda speaking to parents and teachers and reassuring them that she is doing her job.

Our next stop in our tour is Public School 8 in Brooklyn Heights. In the 2017 school year, the PTA of the Brooklyn Heights school all wanted for Patricia Peterson to become their school’s principal, but many people feared that a ‘vendetta’ between Peterson and then chancellor Carmen Farina would be a roadblock to her hiring. After a full school year filled with numerous scandals, Peterson managed to get the job. In hindsight, all of the worrying could have been avoided if it weren’t for the unpopular C-30 rules on hiring confidentiality. When Peterson seemed to be the obvious pick for everyone except those with power in the Department of Education, there seems to be a disconnect between the values of parents of schools and the Department. This must be addressed as it is a problem that has affected many schools. It seems to be a given that the power of any political establishment should be derived from the support of the people. When the people almost unanimously want a new qualified principal, they should be able to get one within the next month at most, not after a full school year! The Department of Education needs to get their act together!

Our next stops, (or problems at this point) will be first in DeWitt Clinton and then Flushing High School. Both schools had massive upheavals of their incompetent teachers. The schools had their teachers reapply for their jobs to reassess the teachers’ qualifications. In the meantime, countless student’s grades and attendance had suffered. These children were the victims of the department of education’s inattention, as the department had, again, failed to hire the right people in their schools in a proper timely manner without jeopardizing students.

From experiencing this trip across New York’s boroughs, hopefully you may have realized there is a trend among these schools. New York has suffered from incompetent principals and teachers, which stemmed from the Department of Education’s counterproductive hiring practices. Little say goes to students and the parents, as the people in power have the final ruling as to who will lead schools. Parents always want the best teachers for their students, but the Department of Education and the union bosses want the teachers that would let them maintain their power over schools, regardless of whether an applicant is suitable for their job or not. The acquisition of space breeds power and power should always belong to the people, not some pesky bureaucrats that parents fund through taxes.

Senior Class President of Townsend Harris, Alex Chen (right) with Nily Rozic (left), calling for leaders in New York’s City Hall to replace Interim Acting Principal Rosemarie Jahoda after 7 months of the Department of Education’s inaction and delay.



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Chaz. “The Secretive C-30 Selection Process – The Reason Why We Have So Many Terrible Principals.” The NYC Racial Achievement Gap Widenes As Students Get Older., 27 Mar. 2017,
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