Tuesday, June 23, 2015
The City's Use Of Uncertified Teachers Results In Poor Student Academic Achievement And That's A Crime.
This week I was grading the Earth Science Regents for many of the schools in Queens. During the grading, I observed two very important things. First, approximately 33% of the graders were not certified in Earth Science yet they were selected to grade the Earth Science Regents and were even selected for per session grading. Second, many of the schools graded that had poor Regents results had one thing in common. Few of the school's students had a certified Earth Science teacher instructing them! By contrast, schools that had a full complement of Earth Science teachers showed a much higher Regents passing percentage. That got me thinking if some of these graders, who were uncertified in Earth Science, did not properly credit some student answers because of the grader's lack of knowledge of the subject and this resulted in the student received a failing 63% or 64% on the Regents rather than a passing grade of 65%? The question is how can the use of uncertified teachers instructing and grading students be condoned by the DOE leadership in their "children first" policy? The simple answer is the DOE doesn't care.
An organization that really believes in putting student first would demand that every teacher be certified in the subject they are teaching in. A teacher who has deep curriculum and subject knowledge is a prerequisite for real student academic achievement. Moreover, a certified teacher provides the necessary information for a student to fully understand and not memorize subject material as is done in too many schools. However, as I have traveled through the Queens high schools, I saw schools like Martin Van Buren, Richmond Hill, Long Island City, Newtown, and Bryant high schools without a certified Earth Science teacher on staff. Further, many other schools had uncertified teachers teaching nearly full Earth Science schedules rather than hire the Earth Science teachers available in the ATR pool.
Many of the Bloomberg small schools had not emphasized Earth Science and pushed students to take Chemistry and Physics instead. The result was disastrous as many students failed the higher level and much harder Sciences and eventually these schools had the teachers teaching Earth Science. Now that many of these schools have Earth Science, they have not hired certified Earth Science teachers to teach it. The DOE allows this by accepting the false claim that there are no Earth Science teachers available. True, few newbie teachers are certified in Earth Science but in Queens alone there are 6 experienced Earth Science teachers in excess but because they are expensive, no school is willing to pick up their salary, thanks to "fair student funding".
When I hear that the disappointing Chancellor, Carmen Farina, wants "effective teachers in the classroom" I can only laugh because under the DOE its hiring the "cheapest and not the best teachers" that count and its all about the money and not what's best for the children's academic achievement that is most important. Until this policy changes the New York City schools are doomed for failure.