Sunday, May 04, 2008
Tweed's Children Last Program Continues As DOE Is Winning The Recruitment Vs. The Retention Battle
During the administration of Bloomberg and Klein there has been a major effort to push highly-paid veteran teachers to retire or resign. In the last year there was a doubling of veteran teachers leaving the system and it appears more are to follow. Whether it is the elimination of the seniority transfer system, the "fair student funding" program, the increased time and duties in the classroom, or the 25/55 pension sweetener, it seems obvious that more veteran teachers are going to leave. While I am all for the 25/55 pension sweetener, this will further encourage many of the highly-paid "boomer" teachers to put in their papers and retire. In fact, if you try to get a pension consultation, you need to wait to October to get one. This certainly indicates that many teachers may be leaving the system at the end of the school year or after they finish summer school this year. Unfortunately, this plays right into the policy of DOE recruitment over retention.
Every right-thinking educator knows that a quality teacher is the most important requirement for student learning in a classroom. Quality teaching only comes with a decade or more experience and these teachers are the very ones that are retiring or resigning, leaving the newbie teacher who must go through a learning curve before they can be a quality teacher. However, almost 50% of the newbie teachers leave the New York City school system by their fifth year, or before they can achieve the necessary experience to make a difference in the classroom. Why would the DOE not encourage retention over recruitment? It's all about the money. The lower-paid newbie teacher doesn't qualify for a pension until five full years are completed. Further, if they leave the system in their 20's and 30's they will take their money out of the pension system. In addition, they don't qualify for lifetime health and welfare benefits unless they have completed ten years in the system and can't collect these benefits until they are 55 years old.
Is it any wonder that Kleinberg allows a new teacher job fair before excessed teachers are placed? Or that the DOE runs an intergalactic job fair rather than filling in classroom vacancies with ATR's? You would think that the DOE wants what's best for the students. Guess again, the DOE is not looking for quality teachers, just cheaper teachers with disposable benefits when they get fed up and leave the system. As for the students? It's still "children last" when it is all about the money.