Saturday, December 26, 2015
The DOE Expects Miracles But Fails To Support Teachers.
No matter where one turns to, the newspapers will blame teachers for the failure of the schools. Just look at the pounding the renewal schools are subject to and even the untrustworthy Hillary Clinton has demanded that below average public schools should close, putting teachers out of work. It matters little that many of the students enter school, especially high school with Math and English skills many grades behind. Some are functionally illiterate. Yet the mass media expect the teachers to perform miracles and close the academic achievement gap.
While its understandable that the mass media blames teachers for the student shortcomings since they are overly influenced by education reformers and don't understand how the classroom works. Its different when the DOE and school administrators expect the same thing. Many of the "ineffectives" and "developing" ratings are given to teachers of "high needs" students. Many of these students are level one with issues. Yet the DOE and school administrators expect teachers to perform miracles and raise them to a level that is unattainable. Sure, a "quality teacher", can make a differences on the margins but most student's academic achievement is based upon social-economic factors such as family, poverty, community, and friends. A teacher can contribute between 1 and 14% for any one student's academic growth. Yet the DOE and the school administration give us unrelenting professional development on how we can raise student academic achievement and when it doesn't work, the blame is put squarely on the teachers
Instead, of reducing class sizes to a imaginable size, providing students with disabilities with a self-contain classroom setting,and proper support services,, or provide the resources needed to help a student succeed. the DOE and the school administration holds teachers accountable when these students show little academic growth. They use the Danielson rubric as a punitive weapon against the teacher and any appeal of an adverse rating to the DOE is almost always found in favor of the school administration.
Nationwide there is a teacher shortage and its only a matter of time before New York City will be having difficulty in hiring certified teachers, especially in the STEM areas. Already education classes are down 50% in colleges that offer such a degree and many education graduates never see the classroom as they go into the education policy field instead of teaching. One would think the DOE would be making life easier for the classroom teacher, instead they have made the already hostile classroom environment even more toxic and in the last three years have seen a mass exodus of teachers resigning, retiring, or terminated by the increasingly difficult teaching environment in New York City, thanks to the DOE and the school administration.