Sunday, January 04, 2015

NYCDOE Teacher Hiring Policies Ensure That There Will Be Little Improvement In Student Academic Achievement.

This school year, mostly due to a wave of retirements added to the normal teacher attrition rates, there were 6,000 teacher vacancies that principals needed to fill.  One would think the DOE would have encouraged the schools to interview and hire the ATRs since they represent a group of highly experienced teachers that many schools are desperate to have for their students.  However, because of how the DOE funds the schools, and the many Leadership Academy principals in the system (20%), the opposite is true.  Many schools selected the most inexpensive teachers they could find so that teacher salaries didn't eat up their tight budgets.  The few ATRs that were hired were either untenured or had less than five years in the system.

While new blood helps a school, when they are hired to fill selected positions, many schools only hire the "newbies" simply because they're the most inexpensive.  This is especially true in the small schools with Leadership Academy principals.  The problem is that these "newbie teachers" lack the characteristics of what a quality teacher has.

  • Content knowledge
  • Teaching experience
  • Classroom management
  • Overall academic ability
  • Professional certification in content specity

The students who are exposed to the "newbie teachers" find themselves as guinea pigs to the teacher's steep learning curve and can't achieve their academic potential since the teacher is learning his or her craft themselves.  In the better schools that might not be as great a problem since the students tend to be self motivated and peer pressure helps them stay on the right academic path.  However, in the struggling schools the influx of "newbie teachers" instructing academically challenged students is a recipe for disaster.  The students instantly realize the "newbie teacher" is floundering and turn off to learning as they misbehave and lack respect for the teacher. Furthermore, I have been to many high schools where teachers are not teaching in their certification area, an example is Richmond Hill where all Earth Science classes are taught by teachers without certification in the subject. Last year I was in a school that simply decided not to give a Regents in the subject rather than hiring a certified Earth Science teacher in when their teacher took extended leave.

While a quality teacher only makes about a 1% to 14% difference in a student's academic outcome (VAM), having a quality teacher is still very important for the student.  However, the present DOE policy ensures that the high poverty struggling schools will experience high teacher turnover and an influx of "newbie teachers" that will not only limit a student's academic achievement but will maintain the already unacceptably wide racial/income academic achievement gap.

What can the DOE do about this?

 First, they must eliminate the "fair student funding" that is a disaster for schools and make staff salaries units that are funded by DOE Central.  This will; allow principals the ability to hire the "best and not the cheapest teachers" for their schools.

Second, encourage principals to hire ATRs by giving them a subsidy, similar to what was done back in 2009 that allows principals the ability to pick up an ATR  at the salary of a "newbie teacher" with DOE Central picking up the rest, if the DOE refuses to eliminate the "fair student funding".  Paying over $150 million dollars annually for babysitting services does not help student academic achievement while starving schools of much needed funding.

Third, significantly reduce the DOE bureaucratic bloat that starves the schools.  A good start would be the downsizing of the Accountability and Legal departments.

Finally, reduce class sizes.  Teaching 34 students in a class is much too large for real academic achievement.  Classes should be capped at 25 and even less for the K-2 grades which is more in line with the rest of New York State..

Until the disappointing Chancellor, Carmen Farina, actually changes the DOE funding policy, don't look for any real student academic achievement and a narrowing of the racial/income achievement gap.


Anonymous said...

Ok, here's our 1st "fair funding" article of the new year. I took the "over" at 20. It's a Lock!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I like reading chaz, but i have to admit
anom 10:54 is hysterical.

Anonymous said...

The union should be pushing for your suggestions. They make sense for us, the city and the union.
As for 10:55, the joke is played out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:54

Get a life! How about writing your own blog? Oh, I forgot, you have nothing interesting to say.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, you guys are just upset cause tomorrow's Monday. I'm wiping down my Ducati up in Westchester this afternoon. I'm not worried about new teachers and fair funding. What will be will be. Stuart Scott of ESPN just died of cancer at the age of 49 and you guys are upset about fair funding and all the BS. It all means nothing, zero, zilch. Be happy. Stay thirsty my friends. I'm a KING within the DOE as a teacher making big $$$ with big benefits. 2 weeks till Martin Luther Day, another 3 day weekend. Then? Yup, it's REGENTS WEEK!!!!! WooHooooo!!!!!! Another FREE week in high schools. Then the new semester. Couple of PD days (love it) and then it's .................. Yes, it's Winter Recess!!!!! Ah haha hahahaaaa haaaaaa!!!!!!!
You guys are complaining? What???????
Marvin (Marvelous)

Anonymous said...

You forgot the most important quality that a teacher should have and its lacking in many ATRs: a positive attitude toward the kids and toward teaching. The grim-faced ATR who mentions how few years he has to retire (thank God) during the interview is basically telegraphing that he does not want the position. Have seen it several times these past years.

Anonymous said...

To 12:30,
Better hope DeBlasio doesn't open admissions in Bronx Science, I have a few friends who want a science position there.

Chaz said...

Anon 1:20

That might be true of some ATRs but not most. However, it matters little when the principal comes from the Leadership Academy. They believe, like you hat all ATRs are not good teachers to justify not hiring quality teachers for their schools.

Anonymous said...


You must be an administrator, no teacher would make that idiotic statement.

Many of the ATRs come from closing schools or survived the discipline process where an independent arbitrator found no cause for termination. Where is your outrage at teachers teaching out of license or forced to take a sixth period? How is that good for the students?

Anonymous said...

I am a 12 yr teacher but i think what you are saying and how it comes off are 2 different things. You want people to not look at ATR's the same; yet throw all leadership principals in the same boat. Its a contradiction and unfair to both groups. Enough of the group bashing and speak to specifics...

I guess this posts is post 1 of fair student funding and leadership bashing. You are on your way to overs in all lol

Anonymous said...

Forced to take a 6th period? What? Of course, teachers are getting paid for this right? You can't be "forced" to teach a 6th class for no compensation.

Bronx ATR said...

To 2:43,
All leadership principals come out of one place (no, not that place) - the leadership academy! ATRs become ATRs for any of several reasons- none of which we asked for or signed up for-- a vast difference from leadership academy principals.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:43

What you say might be true. However, in my experience I have not met one Leadership academy principal that would hire the ATRs since they are taught to be CEO's of their school and to hire new blood

Chaz said...

Anon 3:16

In many schools teachers are pressured to take a sixth period by the administration whether they want to or not.

In some schools the sixth period is put at the beginning or at the end of a teacher's schedule and paid as a coverage. After taxes it comes out to $18.

I guess some people are so money hungry they will screw their colleagues and students just for a few dollars more.

anonymous said...

No 1 20

anonymous said...

Bad attitude 1:20. You're funny We get observed by a horrible supervisor who has been sent to pile on the U's to set up termination. We are observed by this supervisor in a class we have never taught and probably have never met the kids before. We know we will get a U. So naturally we go into the class with a bad attitude right. You are badly mistaken. We go in and do what was handed down to us in the big school in whose veteran teachers made us into teachers. We do what we have always done. We do what's best for the kids and their teacher. We teach. We get the U for stupid, non sequitur reasons because the supervisor's job is to give us a U, to create a paper trail of incompetence. He has to give us a U. The bloomy administration's policies"attitudes" and people who have inexplicably remained say an ATR CANT teach. They are from a closed, failed school. No fair evaluation here. They need to get got. Man that must really affect my attitude for the next observation knowing the same thing will happen huh? Nope. The kids get our best again and again and again. These wretched people will not define our attitudes. Nor can they take away the fact that in these one day teaching gigs, kids--who know we are teaching for one day, who we are strangers to--engage in the lesson. Why would they do this for a teacher who they will never see again and whose work they know won't get towards their grade? Do they see something in us they don't see in their other teacher who passes everyone? Do they sense an old pro who would never sell out his/her integrity and instill in their students it's okay to do as little as possible because life will bail you out? Or do they simply see a good teacher who is real and knows how to get their attention? Would they respond this way to someone with a bad attitude? Can't lie to these kids. They know who you are. So the kids do the work and are engagement. Hey what just happened here besides that paper trail turning towards Palookaville? Hey we can teach. Bad attitude? What you'll know about bad attitudes? Maybe you ought to read some of the stories I teach that help kids to choose to have good tiudes

Anonymous said...

What is this 6th period stuff? Is that for middle schools or high schools? I'm an elementary teacher and we all teach 6 periods a day. If it is for the higher grades, why do some teachers get to teach less than others?

Anonymous said...

Bottom line, the students that we serve here in NYC do not need scholars to teach them but rather baby sitters. Really, we have some intellectual kids and we have some intellectual families here in NYC now but the demographics of NYC have changed. We now service immigrants who come from cultures that do not value education. Consequently, the city may only need "baby sitters" rather than scholars because the days of intellectual savvy NYC kids of irish and italians, dutch and german have now been replaced by dominicans and puerto ricans and so forth. The respect in the classroom once a noble admiration is now trash and street thugs intimidating staff and the dopey politicians who sit in their fake offices of establishment wine about how student achievement is below par. So long NYC, we hear it all the time from those who lived in NYC when NYC was a mecca, NYC now is a mecca for third world, bottom line.

Anonymous said...

hey anon 1 20... you are an ignorant self centered buffoon and you must be an immigrant who "moved" here from some third world environment and have no concept of what is brotherhood and also karma. With a statement like you made, you will be minced up by some negative karma that will destroy your mind and make sure you never make an ignorant statement like that one again. The ATR teachers are truly heroes in this assault and have been on the front lines like marines but people like you remind me of the militant groups in the middle east who are basically just animals walking around with no sense of morality or certainly no intelligence. Rot in hell one day my friend or should I say you ahole

Anonymous said...

@ 8:06 am Read my message to you and try to comprehend it. The thing that elementary school teachers DO NOT know is that they are getting screwed every single day. High school teachers work 5 periods a day. Elementary teachers work 6. Do the math!!!! That's about 20 more periods per month!!!! That's about 200 periods more per year, and so on. Additionally, regents weeks in January and June are a total joke. While elementary teachers are killing themselves in the heat in June, trying to keep kids entertained, high school doesn't even have classes. High school teachers get away with murder. My wife is an elementary teacher and cannot believe the difference with both. You are literally working an entire workday more PER WEEK. It's terrible. You have to be nuts to be an elementary teacher when in fact you can be a high school teacher doing 5 a day with 2 free weeks in January and basically the entire month of June. Oh and by the way, if I choose to do a 6th class I get paid an extra 20% of my salary which elementary teachers do for free. Insane. You guys are nuts!

Anonymous said...

The secret is out. Elementary teachers have a 6th class period each day. High school does not. How many minutes is a period in elementary?

ReadyToRetireNow said...

High school teachers teach 150 students (5 periods). Elementary school teachers, except for cluster teachers, deal with the same 30 all day. The extra prep for high school teachers could be due to all the extra students they have to prep and grade papers for. Of course, I could be wrong. Does anyone know for sure?

retired teacher said...

When I started in high school many years ago the sixth period was a "building assignment" - usually lunch duty. You could be assigned to the book room, supply room or any other mundane task the administration could think up.
Back then they still dealt with the cumulative record folders. In June you proctored, marked papers or did some mindless stupid task like seeing that the school had received the record cards for each student on the list (called List Notice) for September. It was an endless task.
Homeroom duties, or section, as it was called in some schools was an ordeal from hell. Every morning the students would report to home room. The home room teacher took attendance and handed out stuff like report cards, transcripts or notes from guidance counselors asking kids to stop by for appointments.
The homeroom teacher had to make corrections in the attendance book for latecomers. It was a never ending task. At the end of the term the home room teacher had to total up the attendance record for each kid in the homeroom.
A lot of this stuff has gone away thanks to computers but has been replaced by stuff that is not so innocuous - like circular six.
It's a new year and I have only good wishes for those reading this blog as well as all the other teachers out there who are dealing with the nasty stuff that has replaced the B of E ineptitude. Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...


As an ESL teacher, I encounter plenty of Dominicans and Puerto Ricans and others who are upstanding citizens and good students. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Anonymous said...

The "union" is not looking for suggestions. They have already figured out how to screw teachers.

Kent said...

As a long time snd now thankfully retired Teacher of Speech Improvement, gotta day- 5 or 6 period days? Where the F*** was that? With the "mandate relief" we could do as many as 8 or 10 therapy sessions a day, with 5 min tops btw sessions for drop off/ pick up.And heaven forbid you don't get around so good any more after 28 yrs. F*** the DOE + (sadly) the UFT.