Friday, March 14, 2014
The Contract, Teacher Retention, And The Upcominig Teacher Shortage.
Lost in the million dollar propaganda blitz by Eva Moskowitz and her allies in the Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo is the coming shortage of teachers as many veteran teachers are expected to retire in the next five years and the new State requirements to be a teacher will discourage many would be teachers from joining the profession. It certainly doesn't help when the ed deformers continue to demonize teachers and want teaching to be a stopgap job as it is in the charter schools. Presently NYC teachers are subject to an evaluation system that can lead to "ineffective ratings" and eventual termination based upon "junk science", where too many teachers leave the system, and as the recession continues to wane, fewer people will be interested in going through the increasingly difficult requirements to be certified by the State.While the New York City school system continues to have a teacher attrition rate of close to 5,000 annually, the new contract, whatever it will be, will probably increase the attrition rate as many veteran teachers take the money or service credits and leave the system for good. To stem the ever increasing teacher attrition rate the City realizes they must not only raise teacher salaries to competitive levels but reduce the hostile classroom environment that existed under the Bloomberg/Klein/Walcott administration and still exists now. Only a combination of factors that includes significant pay hikes, classroom improvements, and teach respect will keep the veteran teachers from leaving the system. A real balancing act to say the least.
That brings me to the contract being negotiated by the City and our union. The New York Times reported that the De Blasio Administration has suggested a 9 year contract with the retroactive raises spread out for the nine years of the contract. The good news is that we get our full "retroactive raises", the bad news its in drips and drabs and a few of us will be dead before we see it in our pension. I prefer the City proposal to the PBA and exchange retroactive pay for service credit. The problem giving service credit to teachers is the difficulty to hire enough certified teachers to replace them and the City would probably rely on Teach For America and Teaching Fellows to fill the gap. Having an influx of these untested and poorly trained "newbie teachers" is not conducive for improved student academic achievement. Retaining veteran teachers not pushing them out should be the main objective for the City. Therefore, the contract being negotiated will probably be what the New York Times reported. However, I do hold out some hope that the "retroactive raises" are only stretched out three years not nine. Also maybe a limited "buyout option" that gives a person an extra two years of pension credit if they retire within a given time period.
I don't believe there will be an ATR pool next year as both the City and union needs the teachers back in the classroom to reduce class size and to provide the ever increasing ICT classes a second teacher in the classroom. Furthermore, the ideological reason to waste 160 million dollars annually left with Bloomberg. To achieve this it will require the elimination of the "fair student funding" formula and an immediate hiring freeze until all the excessed teachers in a district is placed. Finally, I do believe the City and union will agree to a more reasonable teacher evaluation system that will make it less time consuming and appropriate for both the teacher and the administrator.