Friday, January 03, 2014
The Real Story On Principals Hiring Teachers.
During the Bloomberg years one of his familiar slogans was to hire "quality teachers" for the New York City schools. Of course his idea of a "quality teacher" was very different than what most people think it is. According to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) a "quality teacher" was properly credentialed, experienced, and a deep knowledge of curriculum. By contrast, during the Bloomberg years, principals were encouraged to hire "newbies", from alternate certification programs (Teach for America or Teaching Fellows), untenured teachers, and young over old.
To ensure that principals would do his bidding, he and his Chancellor, through Eric Naldelstern's infamous 2009 memo informed Superintendents and CFNs to hire "Leadership Academy Principals" who lacked classroom experience but shared the Mayor's and Chancellor's vision. Furthermore, they implemented the badly flawed "fair student funding formula" that discriminated against older and highly experienced teachers. Moreover, by requiring school budgets to include staff salaries, principals were strongly urged to hire "quantity over quality" by making it painful for a Principal to hire the "quality teacher".
Finally, the 166 schools closed during Bloomberg's tenure and the explosion of teachers reassigned to "rubber rooms", peaking at 804 back in 2008, resulted in an ATR pool that averaged over 2,000 strong. Even when the Mayor imposed a "hiring freeze", there were loopholes large enough to drive a truck through. When ATRs did receive a "provisional position", over 90% were returned to the ATR pool the next year since the school usually didn't want to pick up the ATR's salary for the second year since it would count against the school.
Under Mayor Bloomberg and his Chancellors it was "education on the cheap" and not "children first" when it came to what's best for the classroom and the hiring practices by principals reflect this.
Update: A young Chemistry Teacher, Anna Poole, apparently demonstrated a dangerous experiment without taking proper precautions and two students went to the hospital with burns, one seriously. In Rate my teacher her first couple of years of teaching in 2010-11 she was given failing grades by her students at Bronx High School of Science (63%). The question is why did the Principal of the Beacon School pick her up if the Bronx High School of Science jettisoned her and the students rated her poorly? Could it be that she was young and cheap?