Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More Fuzzy Math BY Those Wonderful Education Reformers


I couldn't help but laugh when I opened up to the New York Daily News opinion page and read how that pseudo- education reformer Michael Antonucci used "Fuzzy Math" to show that the New York City public schools have an oversupply of teachers. Really? According to Mr. Antonucci for every teacher there are 14 students. Overcrowded classrooms? What overcrowding? How did he come up with this erroneous conclusion? What Mr. Antonucci did is he took the total number of students and divided that number by the total number of teachers. What a ridiculous way to determine a student to teacher ratio. Obviously Mr. Antonucci has not been a public school teacher and doesn't understand all the duties a teacher is expected to do in a school. Mr. Antonucci, the Director of the Education Intelligence Agency, is apparently clueless of the various duties assigned to a teacher. If he had really done his homework he would have realized that his "Fuzzy Math" would have resulted in a failing grade and the well deserved "dunce cap". Let's see why Mr. Antonucci is wrong.

First: Special education teachers are mandated by State and Federal law to have between 6-12 students, depending on their disabilities. In fact, in some cases it is one teacher for no more than three students, as mandated by law. Mr. Antonuuci forgot to mention that.

Second: Some teachers are itinerant teachers that go from school to school or home to home to provide services on a one-on-one basis, also mandated by law.

Third: A few teachers are coaches that work with other teachers on Math, English, Literacy, etc.
These teachers are extremely important and don't usually work with students.

Fourth: In the middle and high school many teachers have dean duties that reduce or even eliminate their classroom duties. Discipline is necessary for school safety and teachers fill the critical dean position.

Fifth: Every school uses teachers for scheduling, grade advisors, and mentors, which reduce the classroom teaching time by these teachers.

Finally, the DOE must take some blame on the "Fuzzy Math" used by Mr. Antonucci. Because of Tweed's misguided policy to allow schools to hire new teachers rather than place excessed teachers, there are close to a thousand ATRs with no students assigned to them. Include another eight hundred teachers in the "rubber room" and is it any wonder that Mr. Antronucci's "Fuzzy Math" came up with a misleading 14:1 student to teacher ratio?

Mr. Antonucci, please don't apply as a math teacher because your "Fuzzy Math" makes you unqualified to teach and I hereby bestow you the "Dunce Cap".

8 comments:

Patrick J. Sullivan said...

Good points Chaz. Let me add: Despite the decline in overall enrollment, special education is increasing both in terms of raw numbers and in terms of percentage of the student body. We are now at 10%, up from 8% in 2005.

Also, there are more younger kids K-3 and fewer high schoolers which also skews the student teacher ratios.

JUSTICE not "just us" said...

excellent post!

Anonymous said...

That still doesn't explain why the board hired 5,000 more teachers for 50,000 fewer students.

Chaz said...

Anon:

Please reread the post. The answer should be obvious to you. Further, take a look at Patrick Sullivan's comment. This should help you understand better why 5,000 teachers needed to be hired.

moriah said...

Anon,
That was very good question. Now please don't take this this wrong way, I wouldn't want you to feel at all uncomfortable or undervalued--which according to my principal constitutes verbal abuse--but maybe you would consider going back and reading the part about the 1000 ATR's and the close to 1000 people in the rubber room.

Anonymous said...

Antonucci has an agenda to dig out facts to undermine teacher unions.

Anonymous said...

You also don't mention prep periods, three a day, where teachers do not teach and most do nothing.

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