Sunday, May 04, 2008

Tweed's Children Last Program Continues As DOE Is Winning The Recruitment Vs. The Retention Battle

During the administration of Bloomberg and Klein there has been a major effort to push highly-paid veteran teachers to retire or resign. In the last year there was a doubling of veteran teachers leaving the system and it appears more are to follow. Whether it is the elimination of the seniority transfer system, the "fair student funding" program, the increased time and duties in the classroom, or the 25/55 pension sweetener, it seems obvious that more veteran teachers are going to leave. While I am all for the 25/55 pension sweetener, this will further encourage many of the highly-paid "boomer" teachers to put in their papers and retire. In fact, if you try to get a pension consultation, you need to wait to October to get one. This certainly indicates that many teachers may be leaving the system at the end of the school year or after they finish summer school this year. Unfortunately, this plays right into the policy of DOE recruitment over retention.

Every right-thinking educator knows that a quality teacher is the most important requirement for student learning in a classroom. Quality teaching only comes with a decade or more experience and these teachers are the very ones that are retiring or resigning, leaving the newbie teacher who must go through a learning curve before they can be a quality teacher. However, almost 50% of the newbie teachers leave the New York City school system by their fifth year, or before they can achieve the necessary experience to make a difference in the classroom. Why would the DOE not encourage retention over recruitment? It's all about the money. The lower-paid newbie teacher doesn't qualify for a pension until five full years are completed. Further, if they leave the system in their 20's and 30's they will take their money out of the pension system. In addition, they don't qualify for lifetime health and welfare benefits unless they have completed ten years in the system and can't collect these benefits until they are 55 years old.

Is it any wonder that Kleinberg allows a new teacher job fair before excessed teachers are placed? Or that the DOE runs an intergalactic job fair rather than filling in classroom vacancies with ATR's? You would think that the DOE wants what's best for the students. Guess again, the DOE is not looking for quality teachers, just cheaper teachers with disposable benefits when they get fed up and leave the system. As for the students? It's still "children last" when it is all about the money.


Anonymous said...


After reading most of the ed blogs over the last year or so, there is no doubt in my mind that yours is the best.

I think your analysis of the individual issues and your understanding of the total picture is never wrong.

Keep up the good work. I hope more people are reading your blog.

Chaz said...

Thanks for the compliment. I hope I don't disappoint you in my upcoming blogs.

Anonymous said...

I simply cannot understand how they sleep at night. I guess it's easy when you have no conscience...

ed notes online said...

When you say "Every right-thinking educator knows that a quality teacher is the most important requirement for student learning in a classroom" you are echoing what Klein and all the ed reformers are saying in their attempt to place the blame on teachers.

I feel low class size is the most important requirement for student learning, especially for struggling students who are forced to learn in classes much more crowded than wealthy kids - why do parents spend so much on private schools if not for low class sizes?

I know highly qualified teachers in elite private schools who say they would drown in a public school setting.

The Teacher Quality advocates like Klein use the argument to claim they can't reduce class size because they cannot find a quality teacher for all the classes. This is bogus.

Reducing class size will lift almost all boats and raise the general quality of teachers across the board (other than the roughly 5% of total nincompoops.)

Also, I don't agree that it takes a decade to become a good teacher. From what I saw, about 3-5 years pretty much was ok.

But beyond this point, the "quality teacher" issue is so dependent on many other factors that go beyond class size.

17 (really 15) more years said...

When I was on the UFT consultation committee and was monitoring the vote for the 2005 contract, I was scolded by our CL for "electioneering" (apparently, some of my collegues complained to her that I was explaining why the contract was a bad idea). I told her, "I'll see you when everything that we gave up comes back to bite us in the ass".

As always, you cut straight to the heart of the issues affecting those of us who actually intend to remain in the system.

Chaz said...


I do believe that class size is important but having a quality teacher is just as, if not more important. Anyway Kleinberg's definition of a quality teacher is a lower-paid teacher. For most people that does not translate as quality.

You are probably right about five years of experience but most teachers still need some polishing after three years.

Both lower class sizes and a quality teacher is what is necessary and I don't see that happening under the Kleinberg administration.

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