Sunday, June 15, 2014
The Open Market System Ensures That Deep Poverty Schools Can't Retain Great Teachers.
The Open Market Transfer System (OMTS) allows teachers to transfer from one school to another without the consent of the Principal from April to the first week of August. During that time if a teacher decides to move from one school to another, the Principal cannot stop the teacher from leaving. According to the highly suspect UFT claim, 4,000 teachers use the OMTS to move from one school to another. Most of the teachers that do obtain a position through the OMTS are the younger, less experienced, and of course, less expensive teachers. Especially if they have not achieved tenure yet. For the highly experienced and senior teachers the OMTS is simply a "farce". Since few schools will expose their tight budgets to hire a senior teacher, no matter how much it may benefit the school's students.
However, one of the more disturbing aspects of the OMTS is that this program allows the continuous movement of potentially "great teachers" from deep poverty schools to a more hospitable classroom environment of a diverse and middle class school. In other words, the OMTS contributes to the high turnover rates that "hard to staff" schools are experiencing and no measly $5,000 bonus is going to help retain these potentially future great teachers in a school with a reputation of student behavioral issues and administrative ignorance. This is especially true, where the school is run by a "Leadership Academy Principal" and who dictate rather than collaborate with his or her staff..
The OMTS, along with the destructive "fair student funding" results in serious teacher inequality in the New York City schools. While poverty and teacher retention are the major issues in the deep poverty schools, the DOE's policy of encouraging teacher transfers and straitjacketing schools to hire the "cheapest" and not the "best teachers" for their schools hurts the deep poverty schools the most. The DOE policy perpetrates the teacher inequality issue by placing many an experienced "quality teacher" to languish in the ATR pool while the deep poverty schools are forced, by their budget considerations, to hire "newbie teachers". Is it any wonder that these schools struggle? Even when a "newbie teacher" shows real promise, the OMTS will ensure that these future "great teachers" will be great at another school and not at the deep poverty school that so desperately need the best teachers for their struggling students..
Just a word of caution. If you are offered a position in another school before the school year ends, please don't inform the Principal or he and she can make it difficult for you until the last day of school.