Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Why I Can't Support Black Lives Matter.

In a reaction to police injustice how young Black men were treated an organization was created called  "Black Lives Matter".  This group was a vocal advocate of treating the young black men with the same respect as all other people.  However, the Black Lives Matter group slowly morphed into a political organization and seemed to move away from their roots.  While the Black Lives Matter movement still had a focus on anti-police action when they could exploit incidents that show the police abusing their authority and rightly so.  The movement has also taken an ideological slant that is quite disturbing to me.

For example the Black Lives Matter movement supports the Boycott Disinvestment and Sanction (BDS) organization against Israel, an anti-Semitic movement dominated by pro Palestinian and far left fringe groups. Over the last couple of years and especially after the Ferguson Missouri incident.  Black outrage against the police resulted in Black Lives Matter to represent them. Why they would support Anti-Semitic issues and single out Israel is puzzling.

Black Lives Matter has a foreign policy fact sheet and only identifies one country for criticism, Israel and calls the country an‘apartheid state’ committing ‘genocide’.  Yet, there us no mention of Syria, which kills thousands of its civilians with chemical weapons, barrel bombs, and rapes children.   Back Lives Matter fails to mention Iran, a sponsor of terrorism.  How about North Korea or Burma?  Read it for yourself Here.

Despite the historic alliance between Blacks and Jews, Black Lives Matter has joined the Anti-Semitic  far left fringe groups in attacking the only Jewish State in the world, Israel.  That is why I cannot support Black Lives Matter.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Post Janus New York.

The unions, lead by the UFT, is sounding the alarm about what the Janus decision will do  to public unions.  Granted, the unions will lose the right for mandatory dues checkoff and data from Michigan shows that approximately 20% of members refused to pay union dues when the State banned mandatory dues to the unions. These members who refuse to pay their fair share of union dues but still must be represented by the union are known as "free riders".  How will it affect New York State public unions?  Here  is my best guess.

In a post Janus New York, unions will still have Civil Service protections in the form of the Taylor Law.    The Taylor Law requires that Municipalities must bargain in "good faith" with unions.  That includes arbitration, meditation, and hearing of grievances.  It also penalizes unions who participates in work stoppages or strikes.

One of the most important amendments is called the Triborough amendment.  The Tribourough amendment requires that all municipalities cannot change work rules or alter the last contract. until a new contract is negotiated with the union.  That means that once a contract lapsed, all the provisions of that contract stays in force until a new contract is agreed upon by the union.  You can read my take Here.

As for the UFT?  They have a political action wing that relies on voluntary contributions called COPE   Therefore, if you believe our union leadership that no union dues pay for political or social causes, then the reduction in union dues colected will have little or no effect on union contributions to politicians since COPE funds are unaffected by Janus.  Therefore, any future contract negotiations with the City should not be significantly affected by the UFT receiving less union dues, despite the scare tactics the union leadership will employ on their members.

When the UFT comes knocking at your door and tells you what Janus can do to the union's power and our benefits, TAKE WHAT THEY SAY WITH A GRAIN OF SALT.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Tier VI Teacher Retirement Game Is A Sucker's Game.

The Tier VI retirement game is based upon reasonably conservative assumptions on how difficult it is for a Tier VI teacher to reach their goal of full retirement benefits.

The Tier VI teacher retirement game requires one dice (die) and depends on the law of probability.  Based on the assumptions used for the game, only 9.2% of all Tier VI teachers will be able to reach the goal of full retirement benefits.  That's one out of every 11, not good odds.  The assumptions used in the Tier VI retirement game are as follows:

The first  step is to reach the 10 year vesting period necessary to receive a pension.  Based on the Manhattan Institute report on Fairer Pensions, only 33% of all New York City teachers (Mostly Tier IV) will last long enough in the New York City Public Schools to be vested for a pension.  This is a conservative assumption since the study was done before the New York State Teacher Evaluation System and the use of the Charlotte Dainelson rubric that is used as a weapon against teachers. Other cities report percentages in the teens and that will probably be the value for Tier VI teachers in the future.

Next, for those 33% of Tier VI teachers that are vested, the next goal is obtaining retiree health benefits,  To achieve retiree health benefits the Tier VI teacher must have 15 years in the system,  Since this is only 5 years over the pension vesting period, I assumed that only 17% of Tier VI teachers will not achieve that goal.

To get to the maximum percentage (1.75%) to calculate the 5 year Final Average Salary (FAS), the Tier VI teacher must have a full 20 years in the pension plan.  Otherwise the FAS is calculated using a 1.67% factor rather than the 1.75% factor once they completed their 20 year of service.  According to various studies, only 67% of the teachers (Tiers 1 thru 4) actually reach the 20 year threshold if they had completed 15 years This is true in New York City where veteran teachers are targeted.  Therefore, in the Tier VI retirement game I conservatively used 67% of the Tier VI teachers who reached 15 year of service will last another 5 years to the 20 year goal of maximum percentage when calculating their five year FAS.

Finally, to reach full retirement benefits and a maximum pension, the Tier VI teacher must reach 63 years of age.  Otherwise they are subject to an age reduction factor of as much as 48%!  Only 50% of Tier VI teachers who meet the  above criteria will reach full retirement age.

Is it any wonder that a Tier VI teacher has the odds stacked against them as they strive for full retirement benefits?  If you play the game you only have a 9.2% chance of achieving your goal and that's probably close to what will happen as the Tier VI teacher moves closer to retirement in in the year 2032 and beyond.

The bottom, line is for Tier VI teachers, reaching full retirement is a sucker's game.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Mayor Bill De Blasio Is More Like Michael Bloomberg.When It Comes To Education Policy.

When Bill de Blasio was a candidate for Mayor he positioned himself as the anti-Bloomberg.  His campaign promise was to reduce class size, bring respect to the teaching profession, and  no more closing schools.  To be fair, Bill de Blasio did live up to his promise in limiting charter, schools, appoint an educator as Chancellor, and to cooperate with the UFT on a new contract,  However, in the first term Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed a Joel Klein Deputy Chancellor (Carmen Farina) who turned out to be more the problem then the solution as she kept 80% of the Bloomberg era policymakers and picked Superintendents on who they knew rather than what they knew.

Ask the teachers in the trenches if the classroom environment is different now then under Michael Bloomberg and their answer is a resounding no!  Class sizes are far too large, Charlotte Dainelson is still used to evaluate teachers, and 3020-a charges against educators remain high and essentially unchanged, when compared to the third term of the Bloomberg era.

In addition, the "gotcha philosophy" is still the theme of the day and the DOE still goes after veteran teachers, either by their fair student funding policy or by Charlotte Danielson as administrators used the rubric as a weapon to force senior teachers to either retire or face 3020-a charges. The ATR pool continues to exist with 1,300 ATRs still without a classroom, despite candidate Bil de Blasio's intention of placing them in vacancies when he became Mayor.  Finally, the racial/income achievement gap is as large as ever.  Another example of Mayor Bill de Blasio becoming more like Michael Bloomberg is he forced one of his PEP appointees to resign after she voted not to close two Far Rockaway schools.

In some ways the Bill de Blasio administration is worse.  He allows cellphones in the schools despite evidence that student cellphone use reduces academic achievement.  He also limited student suspensions and is a supporter of restorative justice instead.    The result is the most students feel less safe in the schools. The lax student discipline code is a disaster.  Read the NYC  kids pac report for all the promises that Mayor Bill de Blasio broke in the 2016 Mayoral report card..

The bottom line Mayor Bill de Blasio is becoming more like Michael Bloomberg and that can only increase he already low morale of the classroom teacher and hurt the students down the road.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Will The New Chancellor Eliminate The Bloomberg Ideology That Permeates The DOE?

Starting in April, the new Chancellor, Richard Carranza, will take over the New York City school system.  Obviously, any substantial changes will have to wait till the next school year,  Hopefully, he will do what Carmen Farina failed to do and that is to "clean house" at the DOE.  Carmen Farina was as much the problem rather than the solution as she retained 80% of the Bloomberg policymakers.  Already, Carmen Farina has transferred her close friend and failed Renewal Superintendence, Amiee Horowitz. to a position she will still oversee after her retirement. I can only hope that the new Chancellor will get rid of the many Bloomberg era policymakers that has made the DOE the enemy of the classroom teachers.

In particular, Mr. Carranza should eliminate the destructive Fair Student Funding formula that discriminates against veteran teachers.  Worse yet, the schools are only funded at between 88% to 90% of their fair funding while the DOE's Central Bureaucracy was cited by Controller Scott Stringer for increasing their expenses by 24% since 2012, while teacher overhead increased by only 12%.

Bring back unit based hiring that will encourage principals to hire veteran teachers without being penalized in their budget while eliminating any financial advantage to hire "newbie" teachers as it is presently.

Eliminate the ATR pool by allowing ATRs first choice in vacancies in their district.  No teacher outside the district can be hired until all ATRs in the district are placed.

Reduce class sizes and ensure properly certified teachers are teaching in their content specialty.

Have a "zero tolerance policy" on academic fraud and eliminate the "double standard"when disciplining teachers and administrators.

Finally, the new Chancellor should reach out to the teachers and not just the union leadership as Carmen Farina did.  The new Chancellor should allow teachers to teach the way that is best for their students and not be micromanaged by administrators.  Furthermore,  eliminate the Charlotte Dainelson rubric for evaluating teachers and reduce observations from 4 to 2 a year.  Finally, eliminate the useless and worthless PD that makes Monday and Tuesday a living hell for teachers.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Carmen Farina's Flunky, Amiee Horowitz, Gets A New Job.

Amiee Horowitz a close colleague of Chancellor Carmen Farina was rewarded by the outgoing Chancellor by being appointed to lead an initiative to help schools who share buildings.  To me it appears the Chancellor, in trying to protect her close fried, and decided to have Amiee Horowitz work on the initiative that Ms. Farina will be involved in after she is no longer Chancellor.  You can read the Chalkbeat article Here.

Why do I think as I do?  Let's look at all the negative issues associated with Amiee Horowitz.

First,  as the District 20 Superintendent she tried to railroad an untenured teacher who reported Regents cheating.  Instead of simply discontinuing the teacher, Amiee Horowitz tried to file a C-31, a license re vocation.  You can read the teacher's story in my article on cronyism over competence.

Second, under Amiee Horowitz, a Renewal School, Flushing High School was caught in a massive Regents cheating scandal.  What did Ms. Horowitz do?  Nothing, nothing at a;;.  you can read the sickening details Here.

Third,  as the supervising Superintendent of the Renewal Schools she put many of her friends in administrative positions, many of them failed principals and administrators. In fact, the Renewal program was top heavy with administrators while the schools continued to struggle academically,  You can read it here,

Finally under Amiee Horowitz, the Renewal Schools ended up hiring "newbie" teachers, rather than experience educators and the academic results were predictably poor.  The post is Here.

Just like a "bad penny" Amiee Horowitz continues to show up in high level DOE positions at the expense of real education experts.   Here are more stories about Amiee Horowitz.  Here and Here.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Why Many UFT Members Are Conflicted About Paying Dues. However, ATRs Are Not.

New York City Educator wrote on his blog why we all should be paying union dues when Janus is settled.  He correctly points out why union representation is important and despite the arrogance of the union leadership, we must stand together.  I considered myself a loyal union member and help other members with their issues.  However, its hard to be loyal to a union who's leadership cares more about themselves and political favors than the members they are supposed to represent.  As an ATR I am furious how we are treated as second class citizens and if you came out of discipline, an untouchable,  Moreover, the ATRs have no chapter representation and cannot request a change of schools.  Finally, there is no mutual consent as the ATR cannot refuse an assignment.  Let's not forget the field supervisors as well.

The DOE treats the ATR as if they are "bad" or unwanted teachers as the DOE fair student funding policy makes hiring veteran ATRs financially unappealing.  The union leadership, rather than pushing the DOE to eliminate this unfair policy, looks the other way.  Notice how the ATR issue wasn't addressed by the UFT on negotiating the next contract?

When three out of four union members didn't even bother to vote in the last union election,  How many will voluntarily pay their union dues?   60%, 70% or 80%?. Who knows?  However, when it comes to the ATRs   I suspect the majority will refuse to pay their union dues since they feel the union leadership has failed to properly represent them.

While NYC Educator is right that we need a union to protect our hard won gains, the problem is that our union leadership does not deserve the respect from the members, especially the ATRs who have been betrayed time and again by the self-serving Unity leadership.

Read ATR Adventures blog for how most ATRs feel about the union leadership.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

How Safe Is Our Schools? Not Safe At All According To The NYPD.

In the first semester of the 2017-18 school year saw a spike in arrests summonses, and use of restraints by the NYPD in the New York City school system.  The Daily News article reported that the major crimes in the schools increase was 8% over the same period in the 2016-`17 school year.

The figures published Friday show reported incidents of major crimes in the public schools, such as larceny, arson or robbery, rose to 163 in the period of October through December 2017.  That's up from 151 in the same period in 2016.

Obviously, the weakened student discipline code, the emphasis on restorative justice and reduced suspensions have empowered misbehaving students to commit offenses that require NYPD intervention.  Mayor Bill de Blaio may claim the schools are safer but with arrests up and students feeling less safe, the opposite is true. 

Are the New York City school safe?  Not according to the NYPD statistics.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Bloomberg Small Schools Are Doing A Disservice To Self Contained Special Education Students.


There have been pros and cons when breaking up large comprehensive high school and make three to six small schools on the campus.  The pros would be closer relationship between students and staff, assuming staff stays at the school which is problematic.  A higher graduation rate (but not college readiness) and a more focused student centered environment.  The cons are limited course curricula, high teacher turnover and usually an inexperienced teaching staff in low income communities, and .lack of resources for the neediest of students.  However, the biggest negative are those Special Education students who need a self-contained environment.  Be it 12-1-1 or 8-1-1.  Instead most of the Bloomberg small high schools have no self-contained classrooms and these Special Education students are dumped into a ICT classes with class sizes as high as 34 students.

The DOE will claim that they are mandated to put Special Education students in the "least restrictive environment" but many students need a self contained classroom, where he or she gets more intensive academic and behavioral support.  This is just another example of the DOE's "education on the cheap" policy at the expense of the Special Education student.

Ask any teacher at the high school level how many potential self-contained Special Education students will pass the end of year Regents.  How about close to zero!  Yet, the Bloomberg small schools dumped these high needs students in ICT classes of up to 34 students.

The villain is the DOE and their "no excuses" philosophy when it comes to the teacher evaluation system and combined with their "education on the cheap" policy and you have a recipe for failure and that's what happens in school after schools in the small school universe in New York City.

The bottom line is that the DOE treats self-contained Special Education students a disservice when they dumped them in ICT classes.  For these "high needs" students the DOE's child last policy hurts their academic achievement.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Will The DOE Protect "F" Status Field Supervisors From ATR Lawsuits? Maybe Or Maybe Not.

It has come to my attention that a teacher, who became an ATR, filed a lawsuit against the Principal and the Principal's Advisor.  Of course the Principal was protected as a DOE employee from personal liability.  However, the DOE appointed advisor was not an active employee but was defined as a consultant.  The result was the Principal's advisor was not protected by the DOE from liability.  The result was the consultant had to hire his own lawyer on his own dime.  Moreover, he ended up paying the teacher $25,000 and his own lawyer as well..

This brings me to the field supervisors (assassins).  Most of the field supervisors are retired Principals or Assistant principals.  The are hired on an "F" status basis and are considered contract employees.  Therefore, its possible that if the ATR, who feels they were unjustly evaluated by one of these "F" status field supervisors, if the ATR files a lawsuit its possible that the "F" status field supervisor would not be protected from liability by the DOE.  If that is the case, then the "F" status field supervisor would have to hire their own lawyer.

I cannot say for sure that is the case, but based on the Bronx case it might be worth the effort to sue the "F" status field supervisor and see if the DOE decides to protect them.  Ir the DOE does not protect them from liability, the result would be the eventual elimination of the "F" status field supervisors since the money they receive is not worth the risk of a lawsuit.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

How Will The Union Leadership Respond To The Janus Decision?

Before the end of the school year it's expected the Supreme Court in a 5 to 4 decision will rule in favor of Janus and dues will become voluntary not mandatory.  The result will be that approximately 20% of the teachers will refuse to allow the union to take out their dues from their paycheck.

The union leadership wants to get the State Legislature to allow for the State to work out a mandatory dues program but with the State Senate controlled by the Republicans, that seems to be wishful thinking.  Without State intervention, the union has developed two strategies to encourage members to pay their dues.  The first, is a door knocking campaign that will have loyal members of the "Unity caucus"  knock on every members door to exchange personal stories about how the union helped them to convince the member to pay their dues,  The second,  is to establish membership meeting at every school to tell active school staff why it's important to continue to pay dues to keep the union strong and effective.

In Michigan, when the State eliminate the mandatory dues for public sector unions, the dropout rate was 20%.  Despite a strong effort by teacher unions to get members to pay their dues, still 18% dropped out.  Obviously, the Michigan law is much more relevant to what will happen in New York State than what happened in Wisconsin, where union collective bargaining rights were eliminated that resulted in reduction of teacher benefits and limited pay raises amd have caused a severe teacher shortage in the State.  You can read my post on Why New York State Is Not Wisconsin.

One group the union will most certainly lose are the ATRs.  While they amount to only 2% of all teachers, they are a vocal group.  Moreover, many ex-ATRs still harbor resentment to the union leadership on how they were treated by the union during their time being excessed.  Finally, all the teachers who were forced out of the closing schools to look for new positions were not happy with the union's inability to fight the DOE by taking action.  Instead the union acquiesced to the DOE school closing policy.

Another group that might not pay voluntary dues are the veteran teachers who know how the union leadership has allowed the DOE to impose policies that discrimate against them, like Fair Student Funding and tight school budgets that penalizes principals who hire veteran teachers.

Maybe after the Janus decision the union will start to treat their members as customers and provide them the services they pay for rather than looking at them as a nuisance since they are required to pay their dues.  How much will the union downsize after the Janus decision?  Only time will tell but downsize they must since a 20% cut in dues will require many jobs to be eliminated at the union.

Note:  An audit done by Comptroller Scott Stringer  found that the Department of Education escalated their spending on its Central Bureaucracy and was put on his "watch list".  Here is what he said.

Stringer red-flagged the school system, where he found central administration staff has soared by 24 percent since 2012 — double the 12 percent rate of teachers.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

What Grade Would You Give Chancellor Carmen Farina?

Chancellor Carmen Farina told the news media that she would give herself a grade of "B+" for achievement and an "A+" for effort..  She pointed out her success in increasing the bogus graduation rate, the implementation of the pre-K program, and increased parent engagement.  The Chancellor also claimed how she went to numerous schools and reached out to teachers.  Moreover, she is pleased of the work she has done as Chancellor.

I for one maintain that her overall grade is a "D" for disappointing.  Here is why.

  1. Carmen Farina retained 80% of the Bloomberg policymakers at the DOE and few of the destructive Bloomberg policies were changed.  Fair student funding, 3020-a charges, and large class sizes continued to exist with the new Chancellor.  Let's not forget Charlotte Danielson, recession era school budgets, and the ATR pool remained under her administration.
  2. She curried favor with our disconnected union leadership but treated veteran teachers with contempt.  She stated that when she visited schools, she was looking to identify "bad teachers" and told principals how to start a paper trail to remove them.
  3. Chancellor Carmen Farina failed to remove the 400 principals she claimed should not be running their schools and allowed the DOE "double standard" to continue when disciplining principals.
  4. Her insistence that teachers be subject to 90 minutes of useless Professional Development and her failure to reduce paperwork hurt teacher morale.
  5. Carmen Farina's greatest failure is that she allowed the teachers of the system to look at the DOE as the enemy not as a partner when it came to education.
Overall, while Chancellor Carmen Farina did some good things, like requiring more school experience for Leadership Academy principals and her opposition to charter schools.  Her many faults and failures earn her a grade of "D" for disappointing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Principal Quality Is A Major Factor Why Schools Struggle Academically.

When I was a student I used to buy Marvel comic books and "Archie" for my younger sister   One of the characters in the Archie comic book was the Riverdale high school Principal, Mr. Weatherbee. In the comic book Mr. Weatherbee was looked at as the instructional leader of the school and was highly respected for his integrity by both staff and students.

Mr. Weatherbee was a composite of the many old time and long-term educators who started out as a teacher for a decade or more and worked his way up to eventually become a Principal.  Mr. Weatherbee was educationally, .all knowing and mentored his staff. He was highly respected head of the school.

Fast forward to the present day New York City schools and few principals followed the path of Mr. Weatherbee.  Over 25% of the present day principals are graduates from the infamous "Leadership Academy" and until 2015, many graduates had minimal.classroom teaching experience and quite a few never achieved tenure as a teacher.  Even when Chancellor Carmen Farina changed the rules and required that educators have a minimum of seven years of school experience (from three and not necessarily in the classroom).  However, there were exceptions and people already in the program were grandfathered in   Therefore, a greater percentage of newly minted principals running their schools came from the "Leadership Academy".

These "Leadership Academy" principals, were accepted in the program based upon who they knew, not what they knew.  It was not uncommon that the teacher was accepted to the "Leadership Academy" by a recommendation of a Superintendent or a DOE official at Tweed.  The result was these principals didn't think of themselves as instructional leaders but as the CEO of their school.  Many practiced a top down management approach and collaboration with the school staff was seen as an inconvenience and a bar from implementing polices that the Principal wants to employ.

 These "Leadership Academy" principals were known to bully staff and were encouraged to run the school as they pleased by the DOE.  Is it any wonder that New York City has over half the State's 3020-a cases when New York City teachers make up only 30% of all teachers in New York State?
While there are many factors why schools struggle academically.  Poverty, segregation, teaching experience, and student discipline policies.  A major factor is also poor administration and the Principal. Maybe the new Chancellor will release the fatal flaw in improving academically struggling schools.  The poor quality of recently appointed principals from the "Leadership Academy".

Saturday, February 17, 2018

To Join The ATR Class Action Lawsuit It Has Been Extended To February 28th.

The potential class action lawsuit against the DOE for their discriminatory treatment of the ATRs has been extended to February 28th.  To join the lawsuit it cost $250.  Attorney Bryan Glass has agreed to file the lawsuit and he has an excellent reputation.  Mr. Glass has worked for both the DOE and NYSUT as an attorney both prosecuting and representing teachers at their 3020-a discipline hearings.

The class action lawsuit will show that the DOE discriminated against veteran excessed teachers by implementing policies that penalized schools who hired a veteran teacher.  Providing field supervisors who gave out bogus observations on ATRs who were assigned classes where they didn't know the students and had no ability to affect their grades . Refused to allow ATRs who came out of discipline to be hired by a school, despite being found innocent of the major charges against them.  Made it difficult for ATRs to apply for per session grading and other activities. 

You can read the summary at Glass Krakower​ LLP

The link can be found Here.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Why New York State Is Not Wisconsin.

The UFT leadership has been using scare tactics that if Janus is upheld by the Supreme Court, our collective bargaining rights and pensions could be in danger.  They point to what happened in Wisconsin in 2011 as the example.

Wisconsin passed Act 10 that eliminated all union negotiating rights, except for raises limited to the inflation rate.  That meant that all other issues like health benefits, job protections, and work rules were non-negotiable,  The result is that union power was significantly eroded and despite still being able to negotiate limited raises, the raises have been smaller and even making teaching jobs non-competitive and resulted in high teacher turnover.  You can read what ACT 10 did to educators Here.

Wisconsin's Act 10 eliminated collective bargaining and saw a significant reduction in union membership.  One study showed a reduction of 40%!  Since Act 10 allows members to "opt out" of paying union dues and many members did so.

By contrast, New York State is a union friendly state and collective bargaining will still be in force, regardless of the Janus decision.  While theoretically if the Republicans somehow take over all three branches in New York State, and try to change the rules is always possible.  The likelihood of this happening is slim since the State Assembly has always been dominated by the Democrats. Moreover, any changes in the State Constitution will have to wait another twenty years for the next Constitutional Convention.  Finally, any legislative changes would also be subject to court challenges that could ne tied up in the courts for years.

The bottom line is that what happened in Wisconsin will not happen in New York State, regardless of the Janus decision.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Flushing High School, How The DOE Destroyed A Potentially Great Neighborhood School.

Very soon, the entire staff of Flushing High School will reapply for their jobs thorough the 18D process that is simply a fig leaf for the DOE and Principal to choose who they want.  Not what's best for the students of the school.   The 18D process usually includes a committee that consists of three DOE employees, the Principal, a representative from Tweed, and another DOE representative, either from the Superintendent's office or an assistant principal from the school.  The other two come from the UFT, usually the District Representative and another from the Borough office.  The result is usually a 3 to 2 vote with the DOE holding the majority.

Because of Fair Student Funding and recession era school budgets, the 50% of staff members selected usually consists of the cheapest teachers and most of the lower paid employees like paraprofessionals, school aides, and support service personnel.  The only veteran teachers selected are the lead teacher of each subject area, while the rest are usually not selected.  The result is the majority of teachers selected are usually untenured and the rest will be new to the system.  Most veteran teachers will be jettisoned to the ATR pool.  The result is far less than 50% of the teachers will find themselves back at the school in their position next year.

The DOE decided that teachers are the blame for the poor results at Flushing High School and not the administration or the students.  Flushing High School has had six principals since 2011 and each one of them had issues.  One was  arrested with drugs near the school.  Another was found guilty by a jury for sexual harassment and retaliation, a third alienated the entire staff and fled to the suburbs.  The only one that lasted more than a year was removed for trying to interfere with teacher surveys and stopped a student newspaper from being published.  Let's not forget some of his questionable academic policies.   His claim to fame was calling the principal's job at the school like the "hunger games"You can read some of the issues with the previous principals Here, Here, and  Here.

 When it comes to the school, the student body is unrepresentative of the community.  Flushing High School is in the middle of Flashing's Chinatown and the neighborhood surrounding the school is 85% East Asian.   However, the school's student body is 80% Black and Hispanic with Asians only representing 17% of the student body.  Eliminate the South Asian students and the East Asian percentage is probably in the single digits.  I taught at the school in the 2011-12 school year and it was a real hellhole.  Read my post HereThe majority of Black and Hispanic students that go to Flushing High School live many mikes from the school and can take up to two hours to arrive at the school from Southeast Queens or Elmhurst.  Showing up late or not at all is a common problem at the school.  Combine that with the large "high needs" population and it's no wonder that the academic problems persist at the school.

How does the DOE expect the school to improve with a relatively inexperienced staff and the same student body?  The answer is they don't.  The DOE just wants to reduce school salaries and push veteran teachers out of the system.  It's not about what's best for the students.

Friday, February 09, 2018

The Racial\Income Achievement Gap Is As Wide As Ever

New York State and City published the latest graduation rates for the 2016-17 school year and both inched higher.  More about the bogus graduation rates is in a later post.   This post will concentrate on the racial/income achievement gap which is unacceptably wide.

The latest data from the New York State Education Department found that the academic achievement gap between White and Asian students and Black and Hispanic students was 20%,  Moreover, graduation rates for English Language Learners, who are mostly Black or Hispanic and low income, actually declined.  The schools with the lowest graduation rates in the State were in low income urban districts who tend to have a high percentage of "high needs" students, primarily low income Black and Hispanic students.

In another report the older a student gets, the wider the racial achievement gap.  A study reported by Chalkbeat found that while Black and Hispanic student started out slightly behind their White and Asian peers, the achievement gap became larger as the students went into higher grades.  In particular Black boys fell furthest behind and girls did better than boys.

The report came up with the following conclusions:

  • Black and Hispanics started out behuind.
  • Black students lost ground as they got older.
  • Hispanic students did slightly better.
  • By eigth grade Asian students did the best.
  • Black boys came out on the bottom.
  • Girls did better than boys.
Looking at the data is disturbing and for Black boys it seems the school to prison pipeline is not just a saying but a reality as Black boys struggle through high school and never acquire the necessary skills to be successful in higher education or the working world. Is it any wonder that the minority communities have trouble becoming financially independent and keeping the family intact. The bottom line, after two decades of trying to eliminate the racial\income achievement gap, little progress has been made in doing so and that means poverty in the low income, minority communities will continue..

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Our Disconnected Union Leadership Praises Chancellor Carmen Farina. What Were They Smoking?

It.s obvious that our disconnected union leadership does not listen to the classroom teacher and the hostile environment we operate in under the DOE.  In the latest edition of the New York Teacher, the union's propaganda newspaper,  their editorial page praises Chancellor Carmen Farina for her bringing back sanity to the New York City schools.  Moreover, the editorial goes on to say she brought "dignity" and "respect" to teachers.  Finally, the editorial goes on to say that the Chancellor urged collaboration within and across schools.  If you read the editorial you would be led to believe that Chancellor Carmen Farina was the solution to the Bloomberg appointed Chancellors.  The truth is that Chancellor Carmen Farina was part of the problem and not the solution Let's look why.

First, Chancellor Carmen Farina retained 80% of the Bloomberg policymakers and kept most of the destructive DOE programs intact, like Fair Student Funding, Charlotte Danielson, and the ATR pool.

Second, class sizes actually rose under Chancellor Carmen Farina and she funded schools at 87% to 90% of their fair funding.

Third, she failed to remove vindictive and or incompetent principals while teachers facing 3020-a hearings were as high as during the Bloomberg era.

Fourth, by her own admission when she visited schools, she was looking for poorly performing teachers.  Furthermore,  under her veteran teachers are targeted for removal and termination.

Fifth, She has made ATRs who were disciplined second class citizens.

Finally, Chancellor Carmen Farina has allowed the DOE Central Bureaucracy to remain bloated as schools scrounge for resources.

From a vantage point of the classroom teacher, Carmen Farina was just a continuation of the destructive policies from the Bloomberg Administration.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Will There Be Another ATR Buyout? Yes, No, Maybe.

Now that we are in the second semester of the 2017-18 school year and yet  another ATR incentive has been a failure.  The latest published data showed that only 41 ATRs were placed in vacancies, out of 1,202 at the start of the school year. While a few more may have landed permanent positions since December, the percentage of ATRs being offered a vacancy is in the single percentages.  The question is with the previous failures of the ATR incentives and the inadequate buyout packages, will the DOE propose another ATR buyout at the end of the school year?

Over the decade, the ATR pool has slowly been drained, from 2,400 at it's peak in 2008 to 1,200 this school year.  This draining is due to two primary reasons.   The first was that few schools actually closed in the last four years under Mayor Bill de Blasio and second, the average age and experience in the ATR pool is in their 50's and with eighteen years of experience.  This places them near retirement age and experience, especially the 25/55 option that many applied for.  Therefore, over the years many ATRs retired and few were replaced in the pool.  This allowed the DOE and UFT to falsely claim that they were making progress in reducing the ATR pool.  The truth is far different.

Sure two ATR buyouts resulted in approximately 220 ATRs who took the bait but almost all of the ATRs were retiring anyway!  The only way to really drain the ATR pool would be to eliminate Fair Student Funding and take staff salary considerations out of the hands of the principals.  Better, yet bring back the hiring policy that was in existence for decades that gave excessed teachers first dibs on vacancies and allowed for bumping of untenured teachers.

Back to any potential ATR buyout.  There could be one since the ATR pool is expected to swell with the closing of 14 schools and the merging of five other schools.  Moreover, two large high schools will be sending a significant number of teachers into the ATR pool as they are forced to reapply for their jobs.  The last thing the DOE and UFT want is an increase in the ATR pool. A buyout might help eliminate any increase in the ATR pool.

On the other hand, there might not be an ATR buyout since the two previous buyouts failed to significantly reduce the ATR pool.  Furthermore,  both organizations will not count ATRs in provisional positions as ATRs, even that they will be back into the ATR pool at the end of the school year.

Maybe, if a new contract is hammered out by the end of the school year, a new ATR buyout might be included in it, or maybe not.  Only time will tell.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Bogus High School Graduation Rates Are Nationwide.


It's common knowledge that the New York City's high school graduation rates are bogus and few students make it through college or obtain high paying jobs that can support a family.  Unfortunately, the bogus graduation rates are not confined to New York City.  It's a nationwide problem.  Take Washington D.C.  public schools for example.

On Oct. 28, 2015, the D.C. Public Schools district put out a statement lauding itself with this headline: “DC Public Schools Continues Momentum as the Fastest Improving Urban School District in the Country.”  That tale is looking a lot less remarkable in the wake of revelations that educators and administrators, feeling pressure from their bosses to boost graduation rates and student performance, allowed many students who did not have the requisite qualifications to graduate. An example is Ballou High School.

 A city study — undertaken after media reports revealed the situation — found that more than 900 of 2,758 students who graduated from a D.C. public school last year either failed to attend enough classes or improperly took makeup classes. At one campus, Anacostia High in Southeast Washington, nearly 70 percent of the 106 graduates received 2017 diplomas despite violating some aspect of city graduation policy.

This was the result of the education reform movement that pressured school administrators to commit academic fraud to show the "miracle"   Reformers refused to admit, at least publicly, that there are no “miracles” in education. Student success takes hard work by young people and their teachers and parents, and it takes work not just around school policy but also with housing and health and fiscal and transportation policy.

In Washington D.C. like all urban school districts, standardized test scores — which are highly correlated to Zip code and family income — did indeed dramatically rise over the past decade. But officials didn’t like to mention that proficiency rates of D.C. students would still be considered failing in a high-performing district or that a wide achievement gap persists between white students and black and Hispanic students. Some in the District also say that test scores rose because the percentage of white students — who traditionally do better on standardized tests — has grown in District schools in recent years.

In Washington D.C. there was a cheating scandal and academic fraud goes hand in hand with education reforms and while scho0ol districts nationwide report higher graduation rates, the "miracle" is just a mirage as these students drop out in college do to their lack of educational ability.

You can read the Washington Post article Here.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Fair Student Funding Shortchanges Schools And The DOE Does Norhing About It.


One of the great policy disasters that the DOE has implemented is the school-based Fair Student Funding policy.   The immediate effect was that principals were incentivized to hire "newbie" teachers rather than hire the best teachers for their students.  While sixty school districts across the country use some version of the fair student funding policy, only New York City makes it school based.  The others implemented it District wide and is not school based.  By making it District wide, no one school is penalized for hiring veteran teachers.

New York City's school based fair student funding is also the reason that veteran teachers are being targeted by principals as teacher salaries make up the bulk of a school's budget.   Eliminating a high salaried teacher and replacing her with a "newbie" can save the school $50,00 or more and lower the average teacher salary for the school the next year, with the savings going into the principal's budget.  Moreover, under school-based fair student funding teacher longevity raises are not factored in and once a teacher completes ten years, the school must swallow the raise in their budget.  That's why veteran teachers become a target for termination.

Finally, most schools do not receive their fair share of funding, averaging between 87%-92% of the money they should be receiving.   That's another reason that principals are looking to remove veteran teachers from their budget.

Charkbeat wrote an article that lays the blame on everybody except the DOE in using the fair student funding formula in the first place and you can read it Here.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

How Much Income Do You Need In Retirement?

Most people believe that they must save enough money to replace 100% of their pre-retirement salary to achieve a secure retireent income.  The truth is that the recent retiree only needs a percentage and is based upon their last year's salary.  This is called the retirement replacement ratio.

Empirically, your replacement ratio is inversely related to your pre-retirement income. The higher your income before retirement, the lower your replacement ratio. Social Security serves as the counterbalance, covering a larger proportion of post-retirement income for those who made less pre-retirement. This makes sense, as people with higher paying jobs had proportionally more of their income going to retirement, job-related expenses and taxes before retirement, rather than necessities.

Marlena Lee at Dimensional Fund Advisors found median replacement ratios by income level:  The table below shows the replacement ration, based upon the pre retirement income.

Salary............Replacement Ratio...........Retirement Income





*The $119,472 was used since it represents the maximum teacher salary as of June 2018.

Obviously, if a teacher reaches his or her full retirement age, they will have a pension, social security, and TDA savings that , combined, will exceed the retirement replacement income. The reason the retirement replacement income is less than the final salary is that the retiree no longer pays Social Security and Medicare, communing costs, and , everyday job expenses like clothing, food, and materials.

Sounds like teachers should have little problem having a secure retirement income,  However, remember,NYC teachers  who reach full retirement age is the vast minority, even just reaching vesting time to qualify for a pension is difficult with only 33% of Tier IV NYC teachers reaching that mark. I suspect for Tier VI teachers it will be significantly lower.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

It Appears The DOE Is Trying To Push Veteran Teachers Off Payroll By Claiming They Committed Major Misconduct In A Probable Cause Hearing.

Over the last fifteen years the DOE's Office of Legal Services has slowly expanded the "probable cause" actions of major misconduct that can take teachers off the DOE payroll. Originally, it started in the terrible 2003 contract that allowed the DOE to demand a "probable cause" hearing in front of an arbitrator for teachers accused of sexual misconduct and corporal punishment that seriously injured a child that usually led to the student going to the hospital.  As the years went by and new contracts were negotiated, the major misconduct, category was expanded to include most felonies and criminal actions. Now, it seems the DOE's Office Of Legal Services is trying to expand the major misconduct definition further to include any corporal punishment that resulted in a child being bruised, scratched, or hurt. Even if the school nurse was not contacted!

The DOE's overreach by including actions not covered under the major misconduct provisions in the contract, just to  get teachers off payroll has not been challenged by our union and this is just another example of our union leadership failing to protect their members  while allowing the DOE to target veteran teachers by any means possible.

Here are the three section of the contract dealing with the probable cause provisions,  21g-5, 21g-6, and 21g.

5. Serious Misconduct 
The parties agree that certain types of alleged misconduct are so serious that the employee should be suspended without pay pending the outcome of the disciplinary process. Serious misconduct shall be defined as actions that would constitute: • the felony sale, possession, or use of marijuana, a controlled substance, or a precursor of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia as defined in Article 220 or 221 of the Penal Law, or • any crime involving physical abuse of a minor or student (crimes involving sexual abuse of a minor or student are addressed in paragraph 6 below.), or • any felony committed either on school property or while in the performance of teaching duties, or • any felony involving firearms as defined in Article 265 of the Penal Law. If an employee is accused of committing serious misconduct, the employee shall be removed from payroll for a term not to exceed two (2) months after a finding by the “probable cause arbitrator” that there is probable cause to believe that the actions alleged were committed by the employee and that they constitute “serious misconduct” as defined above. Probable cause exists when evidence or information which appears reliable discloses facts or circumstances making it likely that such conduct occurred and that such person committed the conduct. To establish probable cause, the investigator assigned to the matter must be present and testify under oath before the arbitrator. The Board may also be required to produce signed statements from the victim or witnesses, if any. Thereafter, the Respondent shall have an opportunity to respond orally to the offer of proof. The arbitrator may ask relevant questions or may make further inquiry at the request of Respondent. The hearing shall not require testimony of witnesses nor shall cross-examination be permitted. Said probable cause hearing usually shall not exceed one half of a hearing day

One arbitrator, agreed to by both parties, shall be assigned to hear all probable cause matters for a period of one year. If the parties cannot agree upon one arbitrator, each party shall select one arbitrator who together will select the probable cause arbitrator. Should the Board meet its burden of establishing probable cause of serious misconduct, the employee shall remain suspended without pay during the pendency of the disciplinary action, but in no event shall such period exceed two months except as set forth herein. The parties expect that these cases shall be completed within two (2) months. However, where it is not possible to complete the hearing within the two (2) month period despite the best efforts of all parties, and where the arbitrator believes that the evidence already presented tends to support the charges of serious misconduct, the arbitrator may extend the period of suspension without pay for up to thirty (30) days in order to complete the proceedings. If the Respondent requests not to have the case proceed for a period of thirty (30) days or more and that request is granted, during the period of this adjournment, the Respondent shall remain in non-paid status. As noted above, however, the parties are committed to having these cases heard in an expeditious manner. For this reason, absent extraordinary circumstances, arbitrators are not to adjourn hearing dates. While suspended without pay pending the arbitration hearing on serious misconduct charges, the Respondent may continue his or her existing health coverage, except that in no event shall the Respondent be entitled to continue his or her existing health coverage for more than six (6) months while on non-paid status except at the absolute discretion of the Chancellor. In the event that the Respondent is exonerated of all serious misconduct charges, the employee shall be restored to his or her position and be entitled to receive back pay and be made whole for the amount of time he or she remained off payroll. In the event that the arbitrator finds the employee guilty of the serious misconduct and imposes a penalty less than termination, the arbitrator shall decide whether and to what extent a reinstated employee shall be entitled to receive any back pay for the time the employee was suspended without pay. The parties agree that these types of cases shall receive the highest priority, and, upon the Board’s request, hearings may be held on such matters during any days previously committed by a rotational panel to other employees, as set forth above. In other words, hearings for serious misconduct take precedence over other disciplinary matters, and the Board may require adjourning other cases previously scheduled before the assigned arbitrator during that time frame in order for that arbitrator to hear serious misconduct cases within the two-month time frame.

6. Sexual Offenses Involving Students or Minors 
A tenured pedagogue who has been charged under the criminal law or under §3020-a of the New York State Education Law with an act or acts constituting sexual misconduct (defined below) shall be suspended without pay upon a finding by a hearing officer of probable cause that sexual misconduct was committed. A rebuttable presumption of probable cause shall exist where the Special Commissioner of Investigations (“SCI”) substantiates allegations of sexual misconduct, or a tenured pedagogue has been charged with criminal conduct based on act(s) of sexual misconduct. 117 A report from the Chancellor’s Office of Special Investigations (“OSI”) substantiating allegations of sexual misconduct is relevant evidence of probable cause but does not create a rebuttable presumption of probable cause. In §3020-a proceedings, a mandatory penalty of discharge shall apply to any tenured pedagogue a) found by a hearing officer to have engaged in sexual misconduct, or b) who has pleaded guilty to or been found guilty of criminal charges for such conduct. The §3020-a hearing should be completed within two months, but the suspension without pay shall be extended one additional month if the hearing has not been completed, unless the Board has received an adjournment or otherwise delayed the proceeding. The suspension without pay shall also be extended until a criminal action is resolved and any §3020-a proceeding is also completed. If the §3020-a hearing results in a dismissal of the charges or if the criminal proceeding ends in an acquittal or dismissal (and the Board has decided not to prefer charges), the pedagogue shall be entitled to back pay with interest for the entire period of the suspension without pay. For purposes of this section, sexual misconduct shall include the following conduct involving a student or a minor who is not a student: sexual touching, serious or repeated verbal abuse (as defined in Chancellor’s Regulations) of a sexual nature, action that could reasonably be interpreted as soliciting a sexual relationship, possession or use of illegal child pornography, and/or actions that would constitute criminal conduct under Article 130 of the Penal Law against a student or minor who is not a student. A letter of agreement dated October 2, 2005 regarding sexual misconduct is attached in Appendix G.

7. Other Felony Offenses 
Tenured pedagogues who have been convicted of, or who have pled guilty to, any felony not addressed in paragraph 5, above shall be suspended without pay pending the final outcome of the Education Law §3020-a disciplinary proceeding. The §3020-a hearing should be completed within two months, but the suspension without pay shall be extended one additional month if the hearing has not been completed, unless the Board has received an adjournment or otherwise delayed the case.

Leave it to the DOE to try to terminate as many veteran teachers as possible and by any means necessary. while our disconnected union leadership does nothing about it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Michael Mulgrew Finally Admits That Carmen Farina's Failure To Clean House At The DOE Is A Problem.

In last night's Executive Board meeting, UFT President, Michael Mulgrew, finally admitted that the middle management at the DOE is problematic and none of them are capable of being selected as the new Chancellor.  It took almost four years for our UFT President to acknowledge that the middle management at the DOE is a problem.  Maybe if Michael Mulgrew had pushed Chancellor Carmen Farina to "clean house" back in 2014, there would have been better collaboration between teachers and the Central Bureaucracy at the DOE.  If you have read my previous posts, Here and Here, you would read that Chancellor Carmen Farina had retained 80% of the policymakers at the DOE.  No wonder the DOE continues to be looked as the enemy by teachers.

Realistically, the middle management at the DOE still runs the operation.  Instead of collaberation, its confrontation,  paperwork reduction has been a mirage as mandates are sent out to schools for more data mining and accountability while they are not held accountable themselves. Finally, they divert much needed resources from schools who are funded at 87% to 90% of their fair funding while the Central Bureaucracy remains bloated with high priced consultants, questionable programs that have little educational value, and programs that incentives principals to "hire the cheapest and not the best teachers" for their schools while having the largest class sizes in the State,

Too bad it took four years for our union leadership to realize that the main problem is the DOE middle managers.  Most educators knew this in 2014.  Read nyc educator and ICEUFT blogs to read what Michael Mulgrew said at the Executive Board meeting.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Two Simple Charts That Compare Tier IV and Tier VI Pension Plans.

 Most New York City teachers are either part of two pension systems.  For teachers who were hired before April 1, 2012, they are under the Tier IV pension system.  The remainder, who were hired after April 1, 2012 are under the vastly inferior Tier VI pension system.  Because of the UFT contract, few, if any New York City teachers are under the Tier V pension plan.  However, teachers hired after December 10, 2009, while under Tier IV pension plan, have some aspects of Tier V.  See my post that explains this in more detail.

Both charts take into account an age reduction factor and its obvious under the Tier VI pension plan the age reduction factors makes for a greater reduction of a pension under Tier VI than Tier IV.  Moreover the Final Average Salary (FAS) is five years for Tier VI members rather than the three year FAS for Tier IV.  The use of a  five year FAS has the effect of lowering the average FAS for the Tier VI member.  Finally, full retirement age is 62 years for Tier IV members and in quite a few cases, as low as 55 years of age.  By contrast, tier VI members must reach to 63 years of age and there is no program that allow Tier VI members to retire early, unless they take a steep age reduction factor that will greatly reduce their pension.

For example if we take a Tier IV teacher that retired after 25 years of service.  He would receive 50% of his FAS.  On the other hand, the Tier VI teacher would only receive 43.8% of his five year and lower average FAS.   Even at 20 years, the difference is significant,  The Tier IV teacher would receive 40% of his three year average FAS, while the Tier VI teacher would only receive 35% of his average five year FAS, While reaching his or her full retirement age one year later.  Of course, I suspect that few Tier VI teachers in New York City will be vested, least not to make it to their full retirement age.  Maybe one out of seven or eight (12% to 14%) would be my best guess.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Ballou High School Where The Graduation Rate Was All Smoke And Mirrors.

Ballou High School in Washington D.C. is a school with a deep poverty minority student body and has historically struggled academically, with a low graduation rate.  However, in 2017 Ballou High School dramatically improved their graduation rate and every graduate was accepted to college.  The school's success became a national sensation of how real education reform can improve even the worst academically struggling school.  However, NPR did an expose of the 2017 graduation class and found some very disturbing issues that questioned that success.

Unexcused Absences:
The majority of graduating seniors in 2017 missed more than six weeks of school due to unexcused absences.   Moreover,  33 students had unexcused absences of 90 days or more ot of 180 school days.  Of the 164 graduating seniors in 2017, only 23 students had less than 30 unexcused absences. The Washington D.C. public schools policy is that if a student misses class more than 30 days, the student should fail the course.  If the District followed it's own policy than 141 graduating seniors should have failed the courses and not graduate.

High Teacher Turnover:
Ballou High School suffered the highest teacher turnover in the City with 25% of the teachers leaving the school by the end of the 2016-17 school year, many of them in the middle of the term.  Most of the teachers who left cited low morale, administrative pressure to pass undeserving students, and poor student discipline.According to an internal memo only 57 seniors were on track to graduate in April.  The remaining 107 seniors were given massive amount of credit recovery and projects to meet their graduation requirements, despite the fact that many students did not qualify for credit recovery since they didn't bother to show up to their classes.

College Ready:
While its true that all 164 2017 graduates were accepted to college only 16 actually enrolled.  The main reason was the dismally low test scores. Only 9% passed the English test and 0% passed the Math test. Even the students realized that they were unprepared for college.

The Principal of the school has been reassigned and the school district has launched an investigation but will anything change?  Probably not, once the media scrutiny disappears.  Ballou high school will continue to graduate unprepared students where the graduation rate is all smoke and mirrors.

Monday, January 15, 2018

How Much Should A NYC Teacher Be Saving Yearly For Retirement?

Being a NYC teacher can result in a very comfortable retirement, if the teacher invests wisely and makes it to full retirement age.   We have a pension, a 403(b) plan, and Social Security.  All three are exempt from New York State and Local taxes.  Assuming a teacher works 25 years and retires at 62, they will receive 50% of their Final Average Salary (FAS), less if they select a spouse to get part of the pension (about 40%).  NYC teachers will also get Social Security, starting as early as 62 (reduced benefit).  The combination of the two will probably account for 50% or more of the teacher's retirement income.  The remaining 50% will come from the teacher's various savings accounts.  For NYC teachers that may be primarily their TDA,

A July 2011 study by Financial Researcher Wade D. Plau showed that if a person saved an average of 16.62% of their salary annually, that person will have saved the equivalent of 50% of his or her necessary retirement income. Add that to our pension and Social Security and the NYC teacher can expect to achieve a 100% replacement income in retirement  Therefore, if the NYC teacher can last to their full retirement age of 62 or 63, they can expect a financially conformable retirement.

Of course there are a couple of cavorts.   First, how many NYC teachers will reach their full retirement age?  According to a study which I used in a previous post, only 33% of Tier 1-IV teachers in NYC reached that goal.  With the punitive teacher evaluation system and Charlotte Danielson being used to determine teacher effectiveness and the vastly inferior Tier VI pension plan, the percentage of teachers reaching their full retirement age is probably closer to the teens for newer teachers.

Another issue is the improving economy.  Fewer college graduates are going into the low paying education field and even less want to be a classroom teacher. Moreover, many existing teachers leave the high stress classroom environment for greener pastures, be it to the suburbs or outside of the education field.  Finally, the poor quality of NYC school administrators and the lax student discipline rules makes teaching in the NYC classroom a hostile environment.  Consequently, few newer teachers will stick it out for the long term despite the rewards of a comfortable retirement 20 to 30 years down the road.

The bottom line, if you can make it to full retirement age, the NYC teacher will have a financially comfortable retirement but realistically we are talking about the minority of teachers that can stick it out and are  smart enough to save at least 16.62% of their paycheck.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The DOE's Double Standard Continues - The Case Of Principal Emmanuel Polanco of JHS 80.

Susan Edelman of the New York Post penned a scathing article about how Principal Emmanuel Polanco has bullied the students and staff and that under his administration one teacher was quoted as saying.   “It’s not about the kids,” she said. “It’s about administrators who lie, cover-up the violence, and don’t provide proper supervision.”.

This is the same Emmanuel Polanco, who had limited classroom experience but was promoted to principal through the Leadership Academy program who made a racy video, ending with him in bed with a women.  What kind of role model is he?   As expected, the DOE buried the investigation and quietly allowed Mr. Polanco to continue to run his school.  Please read my previous post for the link to the video and Mr. Polanco's alleged misdeeds.

Now it seems that Mr. Polanco is being accused of bullying students and staff.  This explains why the majority of teachers are untenured, strongly suggesting that the school suffers from high teacher turnover.  Moreover, Mr. Polanco  has allegedly shoved a student against a stairway wall and jabbed his fingers into the student's chest.  He and or his administration also authorized that the student be handcuffed, behind his back,  by school safety when he questioned a procedure during a fire drill.  Mr. Polamco was also accused by others as well.

From what I have read and heard Mr. Polanco has apparently violated Chancellor's regulations A-420, corporal punishment and A-421 verbal abuse.  Yet, Mr. Polanco remains Principal at the school.  If Mr. Polanco was a teacher he would have been removed from the school and sent to a reassignment center waiting for his 3020-a charges.  However, Mr. Polanco is a Principal and the DOE presumes him innocent as they continue with their investigation which has probably been predetermined to find him innocent or if substantiated, will be once again buried as he remains Principal.  In other words, the DOE's "double standard" when disciplining teachers and administrators continues.

How bad is JHS 80 in the Bronx?  They have dismally poor test scores in English and Math and just read the letters to the New York Post that a teacher encouraged her seventh grades to write.  The letters contain numerous misspelled words, poor grammar, and vulgarity.  You can read them Here.

Update:  The City Council is now investigating the Principal and the school and wants to know why the DOE closed the investigation of Mr. Polanco's actions.