Friday, March 11, 2016
Fair Student Funding Hurts High Poverty Schools And Forces Their Principals To Hire "Newbies" To Stretch Their Budget.
Back in 2007 Chancellor Joel Klein, with the enthusiastic support of Deputy Chancellor Eric Nadelstern and his education deformer friends proposed an entirely new way to fund schools. It was determined upon a weighted average, based upon student needs that has been used in many different parts of the country. However, the New York City version was so very different, instead of being used citywide or District wide, as was employed elsewhere, the DOE's "Fair Student Funding" (fsf) was school based. The result was that it forced principals to hire the "cheapest and not the best teachers for their school" If New York City had used the fsf like the rest of the country, there would be no financial incentive for principals to hire the "cheapest" teachers since the fsf is based upon the District or Citywide.average salary. and most principals want experienced teachers.
To make matters worse, 94% of all city public schools are underfunded, based upon the fsf, with the average school getting only 86% of their allocated fsf as found by the Independent Budget Office. Because of the "hold harmless" provision, it turns out that most of the schools that are in the higher income areas have the most experienced teachers and are more likely to get their full fsf, while high poverty schools, with high teacher turnover, are getting shortchanged by as much as 18% of what they should be allocated for under the fsf.
More interestingly, has been our union's muted response to the DOE's unfair fsf allocations and in particular their acceptance of the school based fsf in the first place that created the ATR fiasco, with 2,197 educators without a permanent position. While both Randi Wiengarten and Michael Mulgrew has occasionally complained about the fsf, most knowledgeable education observers strongly suspect that our union leadership was complicit in allowing the DOE to impose the destructive school based fsf.
Obviously, the proper thing to do is make the fsf citywide rather than school based and eliminate the financial incentive of hiring the cheapest teachers. Better yet, eliminate the fsf altogether and maybe, just maybe, high poverty schools will obtain and more importantly, retain experienced teachers for their schools.