Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Surgeon's Knife


Looks like I'm going to lose my bet that the teachers' contract would be announced right before Thanksgiving. Unless you let me count Thanksgiving, 2o10.

Mayor4Life Bloomberg launched an attack on the UFT today, asking for the moon and trying to run an end-around through the state legislature. He wants to tie test scores to tenure, have the right to fire ATRs and in the event of layoffs, to get rid of teachers based on test scores rather than seniority. (All of you who believe that good teachers with high salaries won't get laid off, raise your hands.)

Luckily, Michael Mulgrew and the Unity Crew wisely decided to tacitly support mayoral control and sit on the sidelines during the mayoral election. If they hadn't, the mayor might be calling for more serious concessions, such as water-boarding teachers based on test scores.

I'm sure the ed blogosphere will be buzzing with analysis of this latest assault on teachers, so I won't go too deeply into it here. But I did find an analogy by Bloomberg rather telling:

"...Mr. Bloomberg said that banning the use of student achievement in tenure decisions is “like saying to hospitals, ‘You can evaluate heart surgeons on any criteria you want — just not patient survival rates!’ ”

Any doctor will tell you that some of the best heart surgeons around have some of the worst survival rates because they take on patients in the most desperate situations. What teacher will want to take on the most challenging students, knowing that by doing so, they are risking their careers? Bloomberg, who knows as much about education as my dog (sorry, Spot) obviously can't see that.

5 comments:

NYC Educator said...

I love it when people who make many times my salary compare me to other people who make many times my salary.

Ms. Tsouris said...

Do they measure financial advisors and stockbrokers by how much money clients make from investments? This war on teachers is very disturbing and is just more of the corporate fascism that pervades all levels of government now. This tenure crap is coming right from Obama's corporate idiot Secretary of Education Duncan and the new corporate ninny who is Commissioner of the State Department of Education, Steiner. Bloomberg is of course jumping on this career ending bandwagon. I'd like to know how they'll measure special education teachers.

A Teacher In The Bronx said...

What about mayors who own large companies and allow sexual harassment of women, what should be done with such people?

Christopher Chiang said...

It is worth mentioning that teacher performance models look at student growth, and not some across the board comparison. Given diminishing returns, teachers working with youth who are behind can make quicker growth. I've taught at both ends, so I am only speaking from my own experience. Who can argue that students behind require more work from their teachers, so why do we complain to paying those teachers more?

Ms. Flecha said...

I think your point is very well said because I think you have teachers who prefer to teach those who have to work hardest, or have more obstacles than others to overcome in order to achieve what they hope to. I personally got into teaching to work with ESL students -- new immigrants and "lifelong ELLs" who simply should not be tested using the same exact methods and standards as native speakers. These students should not be evaluated on test scores alone, and neither should their teachers.

But business and administration-oriented people like the mayor will never understand what it means to be an educator and, therefore, will never truly be able to evaluate us.