Friday, January 27, 2012
What Happens When A Restart/Transformation School Becomes A Turnaround School?
As everybody knows, the UFT and DOE failed to reach agreement on the "teacher evaluation system" based upon the appeals process. The UFT wants an independent Arbitrator to hear the "evidence" that the Principal rightly labeled the teacher "ineffective" While the DOE wants the appeals process to be decided by the Chancellor. Good luck to that. Caught in the middle is the 33 Restart/Transformation schools, many of them the large comprehensive high schools that the City has threatened to make "Turnaround Schools". This would allow the City to recoup $58 million dollars from the federal government that has been withheld by the State Education Department (SED). For the teachers in the 33 schools what will happen?
First, the 33 schools will no longer exist as is. Long Island City, Newtown, Bryant, Grover Cleveland, Richmond Hill, John Adams, Flushing, and August Martin High Schools in Queens will no longer exist. Instead all the schools will be renamed to reflect the themes that the Administration wants. Interestingly, unlike other "Turnaround Schools", the City schools will probably retain the old Administration and only get rid of the teachers.
Second, the schools will offer a maximum of 50% of the teachers at each school their jobs back. Yes, a maximum and some schools can offer only a minimum amount of teachers their old positions. The minimum number is as yet undecided by the DOE. You might think that this would open up opportunities for other teachers in the system to apply for the many openings. However, the DOE has decided to offer 40% of the open positions to teachers outside the school system or as you know them as the "newbies". Cheap and clueless in the classroom teachers who are in for a "culture shock" as the real world is very much different from the perception they are expecting. Unlike the new small schools who can limit or even exclude students with disabilities and English Language Learners, these 33 schools will keep the existing population and will not be able to exclude undesirable students as the small schools do.
Third, the teachers not selected will be excessed and become ATRs. It is expected that 1,750 additional teachers will be excessed and add an equal amount of ATRs as provisional appointments end and more budget cuts (6% for the 2012-2013 school year), it is very likely that there could be almost 4,000 ATRs in the New York City School System at a cost of $300 million dollars! That means for the measly $58 million dollars the State is withholding, it is going to cost $300 million dollars to keep all the teachers in the ATR pool. Unbelievable!
Finally, the DOE will use the ATR crises as a rallying point to try to defang the teachers' union and demand that the ATRs should be given a time limit. "No ATR time limit, no contract" will be the City's motto until the Bloomberg/Walcott Administration is removed from the scene. I hold UFT Michael Mulgrew to his promise not to give up the ATRs in any contract negotiations. Remember the DOE created the ATR crises, it is up to them to p,lace the ATRs in the vacancies throughout the school system.