Monday, June 23, 2008

The Experienced Teacher - An Endangered Species

Tweed's crusade against the experienced teacher is moving full steam ahead as it appears that more teachers will be retiring or resigning from the New York City Public School system than ever before. True, the 25/55 pension change is an important factor. However, the classroom environment keeps getting worse and more teachers are tossing in the towel. Last year saw a doubling of teachers leaving the system and this year appears to be no different.

Tweed cannot be happier about how their recruitment over retention policy is succeeding beyond expectations. Teachers have to wait to November before they can even get an appointment for a pension consultation. Further, many talented and experienced teachers are now ATRs and many other experienced teachers find themselves in the "rubber room" for minor, frivolous, and false allegations.

Where does Tweed find these inexperienced and low-paid teachers to replace the experienced teachers they push out of the system? Easy, besides the truly naive college graduate there are the two year wonders of "Teach For America" and the not ready for the classroom "Teaching Fellows". In addition, Tweed runs their usual intergalactic job fair that brings teachers from Jamaica, Philippines, Slovakia, and if NASA find life on Mars, maybe even a Martian to the city classroom! Moreover, Tweed has allowed the principals to go after experienced teachers to get them off the budget. Many of the new small schools have few experienced teachers and the ones in the school are always at risk of being removed due to budget considerations.

If you were a parent, would you want an experienced teacher who knows how to manage a class, work with a curriculum, and handle student problems? Or a newbie teacher who is clueless in the classroom and must follow a steep learning curve to manage classroom issues teaching your child? A no brainer. Right? Wrong, in the wacky world of Tweed a newbie teacher is more important to the DOE than an experienced teacher. Remember, in the Kleinberg administration its all about the money and not about the students.

As for our union? Forgetaboutit! Randi has bought into Tweed's recruitment over retention policy and don't expect any help from Randi and her friends. Look for more experienced and senior teachers to find themselves as ATRs and in the "rubber room". Hence Tweed's "Children Last" program continues unabated.


17 (really 15) more years said...

So far, the only veteran teachers that they look to get rid of in my school are the ones that are in administration's way. There are any number of my colleagues with have targets on their backs because they either a) fight administration over every little thing b) are overly negative and resist every new suggestion they make or c)are in a position that they want to give to an administrator's niece/nephew/neighbor's kid.

I have learned to take their suggestions, show a willingness to at least try them, and then do whatever I think is best for the kids. If the new idea is a waste of time, I'll attempt it, and then when it doesn't work, I'll ever so sweetly go to my AP and say, "you know, I don't think I implemented this correctly- could you model it for me?" It hasn't happened yet, and they leave me alone (so far- I was my first principal's target for 6 years, and I don't feel like going back to that nightmare).

I've had 2, 3, and 4 siblings over the years- the parents like it that I'm in my building and frequently comment that I am the only teacher remaining from the original middle school staff. Change is good, but stability (especially in a school) is better.

Pissedoffteacher said...

MY AP seems to be targetting all the older teachers with verbal abuse. He has been smart enough not to put anything in writing because all are excellent teachers with not a blemish in 25 - 30 years. He is giving them undesirable progams and blaming them for poor regents results (which are not even poor). We are all hanging in in spite of this.

Chaz said...

17: With more pressure on the budget and the principal being granted almost complete power, see if that doesn't change in your school. It is now happening in many schools.

pissed off:

That's just the start. Eventually, you will see principals giving LIF, then "U" ratings, then consecutive "U"'s. Finally removal to the "rubber room". Pt's happening now.

Anonymous said...

Here's something interesting about the Teaching Fellows-they actually seem to be staying longer than anticipated. The program just seems like it might have a shot and a great many fellows are staying longer than before and lo and behold-in a letter to principals, Klein announced that he will probably be cutting funding.

17 (really 15) more years said...

Chaz- Don't get me wrong- it IS happening in my school. They even went as far as to have 2 veteran teachers (administration would LOVE to get rid of both of them) work together in a CTT class next year. They're hoping they will implode on each other- and most likely, they will.

We have a significant number of older, more experienced staff. As money gets tighter, it's going to get uglier.

Chaz said...


I agree with you on that. It is only a matter of time.

FidgetyTeach said...

It used to be that having tenure meant your job was secure and you could rest easy. Today, having tenure is a curse which makes you a walking target for principals.(especially new principals) Tenure is further exploited with a trip to the rubber room when one is still getting paid yet denied the privilege of teaching.