This month Joel Klein blessed us with his junk mail oops, I mean e-mail on how he wants the best teachers. After I read Joel Klein's entire statement, I felt it necessary to change it to what I believe he really means to say. My changes to the Chancellor's e-mail are in bold face type.
Over the last seven years, we have taken steps to bring cheaper teachers to New York City and get rid of them before they are vested while expanding our recruitment but not retention efforts, to raising teacher salaries by the inflation rate and requiring teachers to spend 10% more time in the classroom with three times the paperwork., to creating new lead teacher positions in our high-need schools, to offering housing bonuses for experienced math, science, and special education teachers, to targeting highly paid senior teachers who dare to work together in teams to improve student learning. We have done so because we know that nothing we can do for students matters more than giving the Principal the ability to hire inexpensive "newbie" teachers. Every day, they work saves money.and furthers our "education on the cheap" policy.
As part of these efforts, we have also focused on making teacher tenure more difficult. Tenure marks a new phase in a teacher's career and a new commitment by our schools to those who receive it. Unfortunately, over the years tenure has become an expectation more than an honor. While we have made progress, we still are not doing enough to set a high bar for all teachers, recognize excellent teachers, or withhold tenure from all of those who have not earned it. I have tried to do my best to make the classroom environment as hostile as possible, by getting rid of as many senior teachers as possible through the reassignment process or the ATR system but have been stymied by the legislature. And a loose tenure system isn't good for anyone-it hurts students, it disrespects successful teachers, and it leaves those who are not up to the difficult job to struggle.
This year, we are making changes to ensure the tenure process treats teachers like the cogs they are and helps our schools build compliant teams. In November, Mayor Bloomberg asked us to take the long overdue step of considering a teacher's impact on student learning in our tenure decisions. Factoring the results you work so hard (yes, I know I couldn't last in the classroom myself but this is about you not me) to achieve with your widgets eh, students into this decision makes common sense, and it is one of several changes to the tenure process that I would like to share with you today.
The changes we are making to the tenure system focus on three core principles:
1. Rigorous Review: Principals and superintendents will consider the performance of each teacher who is up for tenure more carefully than ever, weighing multiple factors including Teacher Data Reports, where available and appropriate as well as the likes or dislikes of the teacher by the Principal.
2. Transparency: In advance of the tenure decision, principals who do not like the teacher will be encouraged to have open, honest conversations with these teachers about their prospects of receiving tenure and any help in removing the teacher from his/her school.\
3. Accountability: We will hold every principal accountable (lol - I made a funny) for making fair, deliberate and timely tenure recommendations that accurately reflect each teacher's instructional performance.
Our goal is to align tenure decisions more effectively with the results you are achieving every day. But let me be clear: we are not proposing to base tenure decisions on student test scores alone-that would be insufficient. The Principal must like you and you need to never question administrative decisions. It is not about the children but the Principal.. We want to use all of the information available to us-from many different sources such as classroom observations and teacher work products-so that we can make fully informed decisions about each teacher's readiness for career success.
In future years, we will do even more to honor the achievement of earning tenure, especially for those teachers who have truly distinguished themselves. Our goal is to get rid of tenure and seniority entirely This will allow us to build an even younger and more compliant teaching force, celebrate our cheapest teachers, and respond appropriately to older teachers who are not meeting expectations by sending them to the "rubber room".. You can find additional information about the steps we are taking to strengthen our tenure system on the Teacher Page <http://schools.nyc.gov/
Thank you, as always, for your hard work and dedication to our students.