Thursday, February 11, 2010

Joel Klein Honors New Teachers!

In an email today, Joel Klein laid out his plan to make tenure more difficult to achieve. His three part plan includes: Rigorous review, Transparency, and Accountabilty. To boil it down for you, he proposed using test data, having principals talk to new teachers about how their test data isn't good enough, and having principals evaluate test data.

Klein claims that new teachers will not be evaluated on test data alone. That would be insufficient, he says. Now let's all try really hard to imagine the scenario in which a teacher with promise but below average test scores will be granted tenure. No, I can't imagine it either.

In exchange for this new review, which is most likely against state law and the spirit of the contract, Klein promises to "do more to honor the achievement of earning tenure." In Kleinspeak, he means that he considers evaluating teachers by test scores to be an honor. How he will do more is anyone's guess. Perhaps he will honor new teachers whose student portfolios are thicker than the Queens white pages, or whose TANs have their own gravitational pull. I also suspect learning to kiss the ass of your principal will become one of the biggest honors of all. If you can give your principal a prostate exam with your nose, tenure is yours.

For the record, I am not, in theory, opposed to making tenure a more challenging process. New teachers should be of the highest quality we can find, and those who can't cut it should be fired. Still, it's pretty easy to see who's cutting the mustard and who is not. And judging new teachers on test data that even the state of NY, who make the tests, have said is faulty borders on lunacy.

Let's face it--this isn't an honor, it's a power grab. Probably a third of new teachers leave of their own accord before three years are up. Of those that remain, Klein wants to get rid of anyone who doesn't meet his standards, whatever those may be. I get the feeling that few will make it, and Mayor4Life and his stooge will get what they have always wanted: a transient, temporary work force of young healthy people who will demand little in the way of health care, who will command the lowest salaries, and who will contribute to the retirement system with little hope of ever making it more than three years.

Oh yeah. And they won't dare ask for help from that pesky union for fear of their jobs. Don't you feel honored?


NYC Educator said...

The truly bizarre aspect of this is that under current law, he doesn't actually have to keep anyone. However, this will give him a reason to vilify current teachers. They only have tenure because the process wasn't rigorous enough, despite the fact that he could've basically denied it to anyone for any reason--or indeed for no reason.

Mr. Talk said...

That's a great point, NYC. Since principals can already fire untenured teachers at will, there has to be more here. I'm afraid that Klein will try to make this a stepping stone to evaluating tenured teachers in this manner, as well. Nothing saves more money than dumping senior teachers.

Anonymous said...

Since many of the Leadership Academy Principals(LAP)are non-educators or have taught for less than 3 years, there have been issues raised about their inability to understand the lesson observation process and their tendency to terminate nontenured teachers for frivolous, irrational reasons. Therefore, I assume that KnuckleheadKlein is providing ammunitions to his LAP dogs so they can terminate teachers based on those criteria of plausible reasons for not granting tenure.

So let's see how much more pumping up the scores so inflation of the graduation rate, the passing of ill-prepared students through the ever popular social promotion, the credit recovery wildfire, the and the accumulation of credits for students having a pulse can occur while Klein is at the helm of our school system.

We are at the brink of the collapse of our school system if the union leadership does not take a strong stand!

Abladerunner said...


Anonymous said...

There will just be more cheating and conniving on the state tests in order to raise the scores.
I agree that the system is about ready to implode.
Lucky I have only a few more years...

Anonymous said...

The LAP dogs are trained to deny new teachers tenure. It is sad that they are put in this position with so little teaching experience. My principal cannot model a lesson or strategy to help new teachers.
I often wonder who polices these LAP dogs. Many are in violation of federal, state, and city ordinances. For the past 3 years my principal shows up for work only when she wants to. There are many visits from the Office of Special Investigation but nothing gets done regarding her lack of attendance. Her superintendent and the Special Commissioner of Investigation office are aware of her collecting a pay check even though she is never in the building. We are Far Rockaway. Parents and teachers are wondering when things will change. We became an A school because of cheating on the state exams...guess that's what Klein and Bloomberg honor. We need to get back to the business of educating the children. Mayor4Life and your stooge Klein, wake up. Our children deserve much better. We need the best teachers. We also need good administrators who are accountable to other than themselves.