Monday, June 23, 2008
The Experienced Teacher - An Endangered Species
Tweed's crusade against the experienced teacher is moving full steam ahead as it appears that more teachers will be retiring or resigning from the New York City Public School system than ever before. True, the 25/55 pension change is an important factor. However, the classroom environment keeps getting worse and more teachers are tossing in the towel. Last year saw a doubling of teachers leaving the system and this year appears to be no different.
Tweed cannot be happier about how their recruitment over retention policy is succeeding beyond expectations. Teachers have to wait to November before they can even get an appointment for a pension consultation. Further, many talented and experienced teachers are now ATRs and many other experienced teachers find themselves in the "rubber room" for minor, frivolous, and false allegations.
Where does Tweed find these inexperienced and low-paid teachers to replace the experienced teachers they push out of the system? Easy, besides the truly naive college graduate there are the two year wonders of "Teach For America" and the not ready for the classroom "Teaching Fellows". In addition, Tweed runs their usual intergalactic job fair that brings teachers from Jamaica, Philippines, Slovakia, and if NASA find life on Mars, maybe even a Martian to the city classroom! Moreover, Tweed has allowed the principals to go after experienced teachers to get them off the budget. Many of the new small schools have few experienced teachers and the ones in the school are always at risk of being removed due to budget considerations.
If you were a parent, would you want an experienced teacher who knows how to manage a class, work with a curriculum, and handle student problems? Or a newbie teacher who is clueless in the classroom and must follow a steep learning curve to manage classroom issues teaching your child? A no brainer. Right? Wrong, in the wacky world of Tweed a newbie teacher is more important to the DOE than an experienced teacher. Remember, in the Kleinberg administration its all about the money and not about the students.
As for our union? Forgetaboutit! Randi has bought into Tweed's recruitment over retention policy and don't expect any help from Randi and her friends. Look for more experienced and senior teachers to find themselves as ATRs and in the "rubber room". Hence Tweed's "Children Last" program continues unabated.