Monday, July 07, 2014
Memo To President Obama. In New York City Its Not About Hiring Quality Teachers But The Cheapest Teachers For The Schools.
Today President Obama has finally decided that all school districts must have an "educator equity plan" by April 2015 that requires all States and school districts to place "quality teachers" in front of the classroom. This long neglected part of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires that all classrooms have an equally high percentage of "highly qualified teachers", regardless of income or racial composition. This long neglected provision of NCLB allowed school districts to hire whom they pleased and in many "high needs" communities that meant hiring uncertified or alternate certification instructors who lasted a year or two and then left the school. Teacher turnover is a serious problem and negatively affects student learning as many of these teachers are hired simply because they are cheap and its not children first but money first! It now appears the Obama Administration will no longer give waivers to this part of NCLB as it has previously. However, time will tell if they don't bow to political pressure from Teach For America and education reform groups who depend on an influx of poorly trained and unqualified "newbie" instructors to fill the schools. The Federal Department of Education's website has the entire initiative called "Excellent Educators For All".
That brings me to the New York City DOE who has long practiced "education on the cheap" policy and with their perverse "fair student funding" requirements forces schools to hire the "cheapest" and not the "best teachers" for their schools. This is in apparent contradiction to the new imitative. Will The Obama Administration penalize the City for their policy that fosters teacher inequality in the schools or will they ignore the blatant violation of the educator equity plan of the NCLB as they have been doing for a decade? Furthermore, how can the City explain the hiring of uncertifed TFA and Fellows for these schools while "highly qualified teachers" as defined by NCLB , languish in the ATR pool being used as glorified babysitters?
It will be interesting to see if the Obama Administration is serious about the teacher inequity problem and refuses to give waivers to States and school districts from the educator equity plan as they have been doing previously. If the President follows through on his initiative then the DOE must rethink how they fund schools and eliminate the "fair student funding" that hinders the hiring of "highly qualified teachers" for the schools most in need of these teachers. Only time will tell if the enforcing of the educator equity plan under NCLB will actually happen. If it does, I'm sure the DOE will try to tiptoe around the educator equity plan and maintain their "education on the cheap" policy at the expense of the poor and minority students of the affected "high needs" schools.