Sunday, February 13, 2011

Our Cold-Hearted Mayor Wants To Give Teachers A Valentine Gift For The Next School Year. Eliminate Our Jobs & Hurt The Schools.

With the arrival of Valentine's Day our heartless Mayor has ramped up his rhetoric on attacking experienced teachers by imploring the State Legislature to eliminate seniority-based layoff procedure known as "last in, first out" or LIFO. His allies, the New York Post who almost everyday has an article and editorial to eliminate LIFO and that hypocrite, Joel Klein adds to the chorus to eliminate LIFO. Moreover, the Mayor not only wants to get rid of senior teachers but wants to eliminate ATRs, "U" rated teachers, and any teacher who found themselves in the "rubber room" no matter what the reason is, real or imagined. This is simply an ideological attack on teachers and is consistent with his disrespect for our union and our profession.

In addition, the Mayor4Life is also attacking our pension as well. According to his Emperor, Michael Bloomberg, no teacher would be allowed to retire and receive benefits until 65. Furthermore, the billionaire Mayor wants to eliminate the 7% interest rate to teacher TDA's. It is quite obvious that starting with his appointment of his country club buddy and flunky, the unqualified Cathie Black as Chancellor, the dramatic increase in class sizes and school overcrowding in the last couple of years, his objection to the millionaire tax that would affect his rich friends, and how he uses the recession to advance his ideological programs shows that it is not about the children when it comes to his Administration. Its about him.

This brings me to UFT President Michael Mulgrew who has finally started a public relations campaign against Bloomberg called Blizzard. However, I found it too Randi Weingarten like. Meaning it was too soft and didn't explain how to reduce class size by using the ATRs. Further, the ad should have explained that Bloomberg's attack on seniority-based layoffs is reminiscent to the abuse by Tammany Hall of the public worker which led to the establishment to Civil Service Law. Comparing Bloomberg to "Boss Tweed" would have been a very effective visual. I can only hope that this ad is only the first of many and that these ads must destroy the myth that he is the education Mayor.

What the Mayor is doing is simple senior teacher bashing and disrespect, combined with his "education on the cheap" polices.


Pete Zucker said...

Blizzard? They stole that from Dairy Queen

Anonymous said...

One sacred cow in this town, and across the nation, is the cost of social services spent on illegal and/or undocumented aliens. They have ENTIRE schools on DOE funds that ONLY have illegals on their rosters. I would think that MOST "ELLs" are illegal. So, if they receive free school services-what else do they receive for free? Scumberg would rather lay off American citizens who have contributed to their community for years, INCLUDING being taxpayers YET, ANY "transparent" discussion of the cost of illegals by government is taboo. Does this make any sense to you? In essence, Bloomberg would MUCH rather lay off a 50 yeear old teacher, so three illegals can continue to get services.

Anonymous said...

This union and the adds they are running will not make any difference. I now believe they do not want to really fight and that the game is all for public consumption. The deal whetever it is has already been decided. The day of union power and the ability to influence policies for workers benefit are dead and gone. Bloomberg & Co have won the public relations war. Cuomo Silver and the state lawmakers will now follow orders from the consensus of those in power.

Anonymous said...

Bye Bye former 3020-a inmates. Unless you were totally acquitted, your an ATR and will be fired shortly.
Unity forever!

Anonymous said...

The public does not want last in first out policy for their children. The public pays your salaries through taxes and therefore should have the final say.

Stop whining and join the rest of the country. When the private sector had massive layoffs two-three years ago, do you think they did it by LIFO? NO. Did employers use favoritism when deciding who was going to get laid off? OF COURSE YES! Where the layoffs based on performance? NO. Did good employees get laid off? YES.

Why should teachers or any other public employees be any different than the private sector? Just because that was the way it was in the past does not mean that is the way it should be in the future. Life isn't fair, so get over it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah "Anon"...we should accept getting pissed on like the rest of "The Public"...? Fuck you...if "The Public" had half a brain, or even knew what is happening to them, they would be marching in the streets, or worse ...The generic "Public" is getting treated like a used tampon in this country the last two or three years...So tampon...sorry it happenned to you...It's not happening to us...

Anonymous said...

Because there is no real way to evaluate teachers. Teachers cannot always overcome poverty, genetic or home influences and other variables.
What happens to art teachers, phy ed teachers, librarians, etc. How does the data affect them?
And then if we don't use "data" who decides who's to go? The principal-what happens if he doesn't like you but you are a good teacher?

Anonymous said...

All you teachers assume that it is easy to evaluate jobs in the private sector.

I was an accountant in the accounts payable department for a large company. How were they suppose to evaluate my performance? It is how many invoices I processed on a daily basis? Well I processed all the international invoices, many of which are not in English and there is no way I could process the invoices as fast as someone that did US (English) invoices. The type of invoices also plays a very large role in how fast they can be processed. It is not easy to evaluate anyone's performance. Very few jobs are black and white when it comes to performance evaluation.

I was laid off during a round of layoffs primarily because a new vice president of accounting was hired and a majority of his layoffs were of "old" employees and he kept a majority of the employees he brought into the company. This process in not fair but it is a reality for a majority of employees in the private sector. Favoritism in employment is a way of life.

Why should teachers (or any other public employee) have special treatment? Why should they keep their jobs just because they have the most years in a school? Are layoffs always fair? NO. But using years of experience as the only criteria to keep your jobs is NOT acceptable.

You can cry all you want that no one understands what it is like to be a teacher. You can claim that you are the most abused profession on the face of the earth. The reality is that it isn't true. You are in the same position as everyone else in the work force. There are unique things to each jobs but at the end of the day there are more similarities that difference.

Anonymous said...

To anon 9:41,

Sorry to learn your job loss, but it will be proven to be pretty hard for an accountant to be rehired if he does not know the difference between public and private sector, and has low regard to negociated contracts.
Private companies are formed to pursue profits, and public services are maintained to serve public welfare. The pursuit of profits restrains discriminations and cronism. Our contracts and benefits are not onnly binding but also were negociated in good faith.
There is no need to hire any accountant if anyone can disregard contracts at will and with impunity.

Anonymous said...

The New York City Department of Education has no money but unlike the private sector, the DOE can not go bankrupt.

Most companies that go bankrupt do it intentionally in order to restructure and shed bad contracts. I understand that there is a contract but this is a bad contract and if the DOE could go bankrupt they would just to get rid of the teacher contract.

Additionally, as a public sector employee you must understand that you are there to serve the public. As a public employee you should serve as the public wants which is NOT LIFO.

Chaz said...

Fist: Please no cursing on my blog. You and I may not like what the private sector has to say, it is their right to say it.

Second, people outside the NYC schools have no clue how the system works and why Bloomberg wants it changed. If they did they would see it is not about the children but the money and ageism.

Third, the Accountant should have filed an age discrimination lawsuit if he can show that the majority of workers were above 40 years of age.

Anonymous said...

To anon 4:12 pm.

The whole idea of having a contract is to fulfill its terms as pledged by both parties. The city does not like the contract, respect the current one as any civilized society expected to do, just renegotiate it, not to renegade.
Would you like your bank to increase your mortgage rate at will, or to revoke your license without going through proceedings even you may never use it again?

As far as LIFO goes, why not start from the very top, the committee chairpersons are purely awarded according to the seniority? Why not pick the most capable chairpersons by giving out tests? You see LIFO everywhere you look in the civil services and many private sectors as well. LIFO is one of the basical element of teh society order. People wait for their turns in everything they do

Anonymous said...

I agree the removal of LIFO should be at all levels not just with teachers.

Besides large unions what LIFO do you know of in the private sector? LIFO is a union mentality, not a society thing. Those of us not in a union are at will employees. Employers can fire us at anytime as long as there is no discrimination. They do not have to prove poor quality of work or explain why the fired someone with 10 years of experience and kept someone else with 5 years of experience.

You are correct that education is not a business but it needs to be treated more like a business. NY spends more money than most states on education but has worse results. This would never be acceptable in business.

The union will protect the sheltered way of life you teachers have at all costs. This includes at the cost of our children. You teachers will never admit this but it is true. The state is broke but as long as you teachers get your 2 percent raises and you fire the young teachers first you don't care. It is not about the children it is about savings your own jobs!

Anonymous said...

Chaz, thank you for your usual response of "you don't understand what it is like". That explanation is an easy out. Come up with real answers and don't just take the easy out.

Ms. Tsouris said...

This is why teaching jobs fall under the broad category of civil service jobs. The whole idea of seniority was to eliminate the nepotism and favoritism as it was run, say, under Boss Tweed. You can kiss all civil service ass good bye if LIFO is eliminated. It was always this way; kids still got educated, and a lot better than now. This government takeover of what was education is just one way to control the hearts and minds of the young in our country and diminish the middle class and democracy.

Anonymous said...

Funny, Princess Bloomberg used "the seniority argument" to justify the sacking of democracy in supposedly "progressive" New York City. His argument for getting a third term was that his vast "experience" in financial matters qualified him to rape the law. Of course, bieng an oligarch, The Princess got her way. NOW, the seniority argument doesn't hold any water when it deals with the masses...only for The Princess. But behavior would you expect from a Jewish American Princess...?

Anonymous said...

You can kiss the union goodbye.

Anonymous said...

The public education is not a business, and should not be run like a business.

Every business I can possibly think of takes great pain to select its clientele and to wean out the crowd who do not generate profits for it, while a public school opens its door to every child in the area.

Charter schools, parochial and private schools enjoy the advantage of student selection, which is done subtly or explicitly.

Running a school is not too different from any other services dealing with large groups of people. A few difficult kids demands more time and effort from their teachers than the rest of the class, a few deadbeat tenants create most intense headaches for their landlords, HR dept spends most of time dealing with a few disgruntled employees, and the jail system recycles a small fraction of the population.

I do agree that urban teachers are stuck with a bad product, which makes us to be on the radar. However, that does not mean a new group of teachers will do much better in a longer term as many variables which are vital to the students success are not easily controlled by teachers.

Wonder why no one blames the ones in charge such as principals, and other administrators, or mayor?

Anonymous said...

I agree that everyone from the Mayor, the Chancellor, Administration and Teachers all need to be held responsible for the performance of schools.

NYC teachers assume that the public is comparing them to the suburban schools in rich districts. That is not true. Most people do understand that there is a big difference between teaching in the south Bronx and a rich district on Long Island. The same test results are not expected for each group.

That does not mean that NYC students are performing at a level they should be, or that suburban districts are for that matter.

The education system is broken. The entire system costs to much and produces to little. Unfortunately the administration union and teachers union is busy protecting this extremely broken system. These unions in particular do not want things to change.

Chaz, you love to say that people outside the system do not know what it is like, which is probably true. At the same time I beleive those of you in the system may be to close to see what is really going on. Sometimes and outside party with no prejudgments is required to open the eyes of those of you in the system with strong judgments already formed. This includes everyone from the Mayor to the lunch monitors.

Drastic education reform is need and needed now. This education reforms needs to occur at all levels. Things such mayoral support, administration support for teachers, classroom resources, classroom evaluations, tenure, pension plans, school days (number and hours), after school support, expectations on teachers (I beleive administration does not always give clear direction on priorities), pay scales (base and performance pay), and many others all need to be evaluated for effectiveness and efficiency.

Most of you will blow my comments off and will continue to blame all issues on the mayor and administration. I challenge you to open your eyes and let go of your anger for the mayor and administration. Instead of focusing on your anger and how to protect your jobs, focus on how the fix the education system. Start with yourself as a teacher (this is the most difficult part) and work your way outward.

Anonymous said...

To the last Anon poster on his/her comments. You really DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU"RE TALKING ABOUT as Chaz alludes to. Regarding what TEACHERS are doing currently in this system, I'll highlight a few reasons why. It's easy for anyone to merely look at the "data", the favorite buzz word now of the hostile takeover crowd to make a statements like:

"The education system is broken."
The education system IS NOT, and HAS NOT BEEN broken for those students, INCLUDING NEW IMMIGRANTS AND ELLs, who apply themselves, have the appropriate work ethic, family background, AND IQ to achieve great things in this and past years WITH THOSE OLD, EVIL, UNION TEACHERS at the helm. As a veteran teacher, even in struggling schools, there were ALWAYS a percentage, albeit in the minority, that highly achieved, winning scholarships and attending top universities. If the system "worked" for these "winners" how could it have been "broken?" I know first hand of more than a handful of such cases. So how do you explain cases where there was high achievement in struggling schools? I don't have the time now to delineate fully, but some examples are from the Chinese, Vietnamese (but not limited to) and other Asian immigrant populations, where students maximized the opportunities presented by the existing educators and "system" and got scholarships to Ivy League schools. Students who came here not speaking a word of English, yet attended Ivy League schools! Why, or how did they achieve such wonders in first generation impoverished immigrant families? Was "the system broken" for these students over the last 20 years? NO! Why not? Mr. or Mrs. Hostile Takover...since you're so brilliant, I'll let you figure it out for yourself. Reasons OTHER than the obvious ones of INTELLECTUAL TALENT, DESIRE, DETERMINATION, FAMILY STRUCTURE, and more are not even ALL of the reasons, that may serve to educate the ignorant (like yourself) about the "broken system" (cont)...

Anonymous said...

You talked about the exception and not the rule. If you have "INTELLECTUAL TALENT, DESIRE, DETERMINATION, FAMILY STRUCTURE" you can always escape any poor system.

Thank you for once again proving my point. You are to close to the system to see the big picture. Your anger toward outsiders questioning the system takes over any reasonable thought.

Calm down, take a step back and open your mind. There are massive improvements that can and should be made to the education system.

Anonymous said...

(cont) Another reason for the "brokeness" of the system other than the obvious, AND MOST IMPORTANT ONES PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, like brains, sweat, tears, and support, is structural.

I'm pressed for time, BUT...let me be succint...society needs a lot more carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and masons to rebuild our infrastructure in the next few decades than half baked losers with worthless liberal arts and Humanities degress. AND, kids who have no family structure, and are out on the street day and night, WILL NEVER ACHIEVE what the aforementioned high achievers did in a few short years. The former group, will at best go to community college, and if they're lucky. continue to do high school work with endless "remedial" courses, AND STILL BE UNEMPLOYABLE in the end. This group will continue to be victimized, and used as unit fodder, and cash cows for the slick pols and educrats to use as sheep being herded from one cynical sham to another. So, Ms. Hostile Takeover...ponder that reality for a few minutes and see what you can up with as to remedies.

These unions in particular do not want things to change...

"These unions in particular do not want things to change."

What YOU, AND the "public" don't know is how much more "efficiency and productivity" teachers today produce. That evil union contract of yesteryear IS OVER, regardless of what is written on it. Teachers are up to their ears in new requirements, and initiatives, PDs, data tracings, and more. "The union" has been extremely flexible to the point of being triple jointed as far as what teachers do currently in their work day and beyond. Actually, the existing contract isn't followed or enforced, excpet MAYBE in the few instances where the chapter leader has a pair of balls. Chapter leaders face rubber rooms, and "U" ratings, for anything resembling contract enforcement. So here, and to his credit to a degree, the DOE is wringing every last ounce of productivity and efficiency from the teacher workforce, young AND old. The contract, as written, is essentially dead. However...Ms. Takeover...if the "productivity, efficiency, etc" that you opine for is a financial or ageist one...why don't you come out and say it? I have MORE reasons why you are ignorant, AND DON"T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT (to be cont...out of time)

Anonymous said...

No..."if the system is broken" IT DOES NOT WORK FOR ANYONE..plain logic...YOU , however REFUSE to factor in the MANY other factors that lead to academic failure...YOU are NOT seeing the ENTIRE picture...and you will continue to refuse to...By the way...I used the most glaring example...The system worked for MANY more students in possibly less dramatic fashion over the years...ESPECIALLY in those schools where there were certain "vocational programs" in place....nursing,cosmetology, automotive, etc,"...the system was NEVER "broken..."...and by the way....why don't you define your terms of "broken"...get specific....instead of just blasting an entire system...?

Anonymous said...

I was a teacher for 8 years in a south Bronx elementary school and am currently out on maternity leave. I agree with some of what Anon 7:04 is saying. The system can be much improved and it will take everyone from the mayor to the teachers working together to improve it.

These are a few of my concerns about administration. My administration threw every program in the book at us and expected us to do them all. There weren’t enough hours in the day to do all of these and they refused to set priorities for us. Administration also refused to assist with “problem”/ distributive students unless they hit other children. I had one student that continually yell out and run around the classroom. The parents refused to help and so did the administration. I had 21 very good students and 1 terror, the 1 terror who would take up 80% of my time. Administration’s response was that I should send him to a different classroom. That worked briefly until teachers started to refuse to take him because he would do the same in their rooms. Also, teachers get minimal equipment. There are few professions where you have to bring in your own paper, pens and pencils in order to do your jobs. It is completely unacceptable to not give teachers adequate supplies. The part that frustrated me the most was that I never got any direction on how to improve from administration. In my first few years I never was given any direction on what skills I needed to improve or how to improve them. It was learn by trial which is not the way it should be done.

The majority of teachers in my school were good teachers. Many were underachieving though due to the lack of support and direction from administration. There are great teachers that are not motivated and need the pressure to perform in order to maximize their potential. I believe this to be true for most professions. There also was always hostility and tension between administration and the teachers (and it went both ways). That is not acceptable; the two groups must work as a team to be successful. I do believe there needs to be a better way to evaluate teachers in general and to remove under performing teachers. There were two teachers that I knew of that stopped caring. Both had tenure, one had 20+ years and the other had only been teaching for 5 years. Both didn’t care, didn’t try and came in only to collect a pay check. It broke my heart when one of my good students would get assigned to one of these teachers the following year.

You are correct that many things need to be improved. Although, I beleive the work "broken" is a little harsh. We need the support of the Mayor, Administration, the teachers, the unions and most importantly from parents to make improvements.

Instead of bashing the current system, I would suggest you get out and try to make real beneficial changes.

Chaz said...

Anon 7:04

I do not discount what you say however the LIFO issue is simply a way for the Mayor to get rid of highly-paid teachers and to cast out teachers on the verge to be veste3d in his education on the cheap policy.

I'm sure you have noticed that the Mayor has not bothered to develop an evaluation procedure to e4nd LIFO. The reason is he wants Principals,under budget pressure to jettison these teachers. Ageism, discrimination, favoritism, and patronage will rule. Moreover, as Anon 10:12 stated that there are many factors such as family, peer pressure, and Administrative support, or lack thereof is really the problem.

Getting rid of LIFO without tackling the real issues is just senior teacher bashing and is part of a "children last" policy..

Anonymous said...

I do not beleive LIFO is the best education or employment policy but there are many things that needs to be fixed along with LIFO.

Removing LIFO does nothing without fixing all the other issues the education system has. The entire system needs to be studied and redone. I beleive this should include LIFO but it also must include fixes for many other issues.

Anonymous said...

Let us fix the "broken" financial system which dragged whole world into recession, let us fix a broken military which has great trouble defeating a few hundred guerrillas in sandals, let us fix the broken rail system. Why only teachers?

Anonymous said...

With all the school BloomBlack is closing, there won't be any UFT left. The City will all be no union charter schools ...
Seriously though, once lifo is removed, teachers are stuck with the assurance that no matter how good they are, once their salary becomes too high, they will be out. In most business, experience is valued. In education, experience can be an albatross! There is no other fair way to process huge layoffs than lifo.

Anonymous said...

You must have numerous years of experience and are in no danger of being laid off. If you were in danger of being laid off you wouldn't be so pro-lifo.

Is it fair because it is right or is it fair because your job is safe?

Anonymous said...

It was fair when I was a green novice with no tenure or seniority. It's the only way a union can function.
When there is a truly effective way to evaluate teachers that is not based on ridiculously race/class biased IQ tests which masquerade as ELA and math exams, perhaps lifo can be reconsidered. Right now it is the only protection senior teachers have against being "put out to pasture" because we're more expensive than a five year teacher.
I feel for my younger colleagues, I hope the DOE can avoid layoffs by eliminating half of the positions at Tweed. Do they really need people analyzing every scrap of data on ARIS looking for schools to close because they are not "performing"?
I find it reprehensible that everyone is painting senior teachers as "ineffective" and "lazy". I get to work hours before I have to. I am always implementing new and innovative ways to facilitate my students' learning. I look at my data and use it to drive instruction. I have even taught the "best, brightest and most effective" a thing or two.
Should I lose my job just because I am more expensive?
Fair is fair. Last in, first out.