Tuesday, December 22, 2009
My Response To Mayor Bloomberg's Speech On "Rubber Room" Overcrowding, the ATR Crises, And Tenue. Part 3: Tenure
This is the last part of my responses on Mayor Bloomberg's Washington D.C. speech on the "rubber room', ATRs. and tenure. In my previous responses I discussed what Mayor Mike and Chancellor Klein wants to obtain from teachers in exchange for the "City pattern" despite no other union agreeing to "givebacks" for the same "City pattern" Their demands are to fire all "rubber room" teachers, give ATRs a one year time limit, and as for tenure? They want none. What Bloomberg and Klein want is what no self-respecting union can never allow.
Bloomberg and Klein want to use student test scores to determine tenure and the right for principals to layoff teachers as they please rather than seniority. Both proposals require State legislative action to occur and the State teachers union (NYSUT) will never allow this to happen. Moreover, I do anticipate our own union (UFT) will never agree to these outrageous demands anyway. In fact, even the ATR one year time limit is a backdoor attack on tenure and a further reason that our local and State unions will not give one inch on anything that affects tenure.
Any changes to tenure is non-negotiable even if some well meaning bloggers think it is okay to strengthen tenure provisions. I might even agree with a blogger that a strengthened tenure process for "newbie teachers", with reasonable benchmarks, might actually work better than allowing principals to make tenure decisions based upon their likes or dislikes. However, any change to the tenure process, no matter how well meaning and fair, put the tenure issue on a slippery slope for more and significant erosion of teacher tenure rights. Remember, Tweed not only wants to reduce retiree health benefits and pension costs but to encourage senior teachers to resign by making the classroom an unceasingly hostile work environment. Therefore, there should be no retreat on the tenure issue. The same goes for the seniority issue where many principals would jettison senior teachers in a moment if they could pick or choose who gets laid off. For the DOE and their principals it is not what is best for the students it is about their control and budget or I know it as "education on the cheap".
When it comes to the tenure issue, I agree with our union that this issue is non-negotiable and no change in the tenure process is possible since it will lead for demands for further and more serious attacks on teacher tenure in future contracts.