Monday, September 07, 2015
The Quality Teacher Shortage Is Evident In The New York City Schools Based On The DOE Hiring Policies.
Every parent wants a "quality teacher" for their child and school leaders recognized that. Therefore, principals, who were themselves long-term teachers, did their best to hire the highly experienced teacher for their schools. The more experience the teacher had, the better. The result was that the best schools had the most experienced senior teachers who provided the students with deep curriculum knowledge, classroom management skills, and weren't afraid to adjust their teaching to the learning styles of the ever changing student dynamics of the classroom. To ensure that there was an incentive for schools to hire the best teachers, the DOE did not use a teacher's salary as part of the school budget but provided the school teacher units, based on the student population size. Therefore, the schools competed with each other for these highly experienced teachers and the best schools had the most experienced staff.
All this changed when Mayor Bloomberg took control of the City public schools and appointed a non-educator, Joel Klein, as Chancellor. Chancellor Klein fundamentally changed the school funding requirements and implemented an "education on the cheap" policy that took funding from the schools and added layers of bureaucracy and increased the historically bloated Central Bureaucracy. With the teacher union approval, Joe Klein instituted the "fair student funding" that was, in theory, to allow high needs schools to attract experienced teachers with more school funding. However, the real function of the "fair student funding" was not to give high needs schools the extra money but to punish schools with highly experienced teaching staff by reducing their budget and encourage the schools to find any excuse to have them removed from the school and get budget relief. The result was an explosion of veteran teachers being removed from their schools and dumped into rubber rooms based on phony or frivolous charges.. To encourage principals to remove these veteran teachers the DOE allowed the school to remove the salary of the teacher from the school payroll after 60 days! This resulted in as many as 805 teachers being "rubberized" as these mostly senior teachers, wait for years before their 3020-a charges are heard or the DOE decides to make a deal.
While many long-term principals were reluctant to remove their veteran teachers realizing the collateral damage it does to staff morale and more importantly, the harm it does to the students. This was not a problem with the newly minted "Leadership Academy Principals" who made up almost 20% of the City's principals. Many of these principals had little or even no classroom experience, quite a number never were tenured and had little real understanding of the teaching profession. To the typical "Leadership Academy Principal" it was that they were CEO's of the school and collaboration with staff was replaced with dictates. Moreover, this "Leadership Academy Principals" were no longer instructional leaders or mentors but administrators that were the point people of the DOE "gotcha system" whose purpose was to discipline teachers and if possible terminated them by any means possible.
The result of the Bloomberg/Klein changes in the public school system meant that principals were pressured to hire the "cheapest and not the best teachers" for their school. With 163 schools closed during the Bloomberg era, that excessed thousands of teachers, many of them highly experienced and with little chance of being picked up due to salary considerations. Combine these excessed teachers with the thousand or so teachers who survived their termination hearings and the DOE has between 1,000 to 3,000 teachers without a classroom. Many of them "quality teachers". Instead as we start another school, year, the De Blasio/Farina administration has continued with the "education on the cheap" policy of Bloomberg and Klein which means that its still about hiring the "newbie" rather than the "quality teacher".