Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Endgame

I believe the main goal of BloomKlein and the deform movement is to change teaching as we know it. They'd like to end tenure, longevity pay, and pensions. They'd like a longer work day and year. They'd like to eliminate traditional public schools and replace them all with charters--schools that they can dole out to their pals like Eva Moscowitz as rewards for loyalty. They'd like to have a transient work force, comprised primarily of Teach for America type recruits who'll work hard for a few years and then move on to greener pastures.

Let's suppose they achieve that goal. My question is: Who will they get to teach the children?

I think it's a reasonable question. It wasn't all that long ago that the DOE held recruitment fairs in foreign countries. They could not get enough bodies to fill all the classrooms. Of course, a few things have changed since then. Salaries are higher, but not much higher (if at all) than the inflation rate. What has really changed is the economic picture in this country. Now that unemployment is high and college grads are having a tough time finding work in their chosen fields, teaching for a few years seems like a good career move. So, for now anyway, there are a lot of bodies available to fill classrooms. Short-sighted thinkers like Klein probably believe this situation will last forever, but I don't.

Teaching has always had a (very) few good things going for it (I'm leaving out the existential rewards of teaching the children themselves): a shorter work day relative to other jobs, more vacation time, and job security. There are a lot of negatives to teaching, as well. Lack of respect, poor working conditions (trailers, etc.), low pay considering educational level, all make teaching a job you have to love or leave.

The negatives are all still there. The problem is that if the deformers have their way, the positives will slowly evaporate as well. They'd like to make the school day and year longer, and take away job security. Given that, who would want to become a teacher?

The deformers may be deluding themselves that they can have such a revolving door policy, but they simply can't. According to a Times article, it's been found that about 85% of TFA candidates leave by the end of the 4th year of teaching. That means in a fully TFA-staffed DOE, of the 80,000 teachers needed, 68,000 will leave every four years. And that would mean that the DOE would have to replace 17,000 teachers every year. The DOE couldn't fill that many vacancies in these awful economic times; how on earth could they fill them when times get better and companies start hiring graduates again?

So what is the DOE's endgame? I know they want to destroy the union, but the reality is that career teachers stabilize the system because we stay in good times and bad times. The city has already tried recruiting in foreign countries, and that was when there were about 6,000 vacancies due to retirement incentives. The DOE will have to start recruiting on Uranus to fill 17,000 annual vacancies.

As for me, my endgame involves retiring by the time all of this happens. Of course, that may be Bloomberg's strategy as well. Destroy the system, and then leave it to the next mayor to pick up the pieces.

11 comments:

NYC Educator said...

It makes me very sad to read this. But I agree with every word.

Michael Fiorillo said...

Destabilization and destruction are the explicit intent.

Klein was hired, not because of his record as CEO of the communications conglomerate Bertelsman (which was poor), but because of his stint as a Deputy Attorney General under Clinton. He oversaw the government's anti-trust case against Microsoft.

His hiring was based on the right-wing trope that public education is a "government monopoly," that has to be "broken up."

An odd contradiction, no? Since when have these folks previously been opposed to monopolies?

The deformers flatter themselves by calling up the old cliche of "creative destruction." Teachers, students, parent (but unfortunately not AFT/UFT leaders) experience the truth of what's happening to their schools, and know better.

Given that purpose, he unfortunately has been quite successful, and what might otherwise be seen as incompetence is instead heavily dosed with malice and sociopathic behavior.

Clix said...

Do you know the turnover rate for non-TFA teachers in NYC?

Anonymous said...

Do you know what type of candidates the DoE can recruit on Uranus?

Assholes, like Bozo the Klein.

Angry Nog

Math Teacher said...

And people like me who really want to teach and is not a TFA student, cannot be hired do to hiring restrictions imposed by Joel Klein for past 2 school years.

Anonymous said...

Great piece. And I agree. It's one more sign of how crazy these people are. I think we're living through a mania... Just like "tulip mania", the internet stock bubble of late 90's, subrime housing loans more recently, etc...

Question is who will be left when they wear themselves out. They'll also have a couple of problems they're not thinking about.

The lynchpin of their rationale for all of this is test scores.

What happens when neither the NAEP or International scores are raised by all of this teaching to tests that bear no relation to them? And what happens when the mainstream media tires of cheering on the Charter school crowd because they realize it's impossible to keep running the same kinds of stories forever? And Charter schools have more and more scandals...

I wonder how this will play out...

ed notes online said...

BloomKlein don't want to destroy the union. The UFT is too useful to them. It sells their programs to the membership and serves to undercut any militancy.

If there were no UFT we might actually see a strong union movement get started instead of a dues sucking structure that undermines the members.

They are an important partner for the ed deformers who want to - and have done to a great extent - is destroy the union's ability to function at the school and citywide level to protect teachers.

Thus part of the endgame is to have a head - Unity/UFT without a body.

Queens Teacher said...

What BloomKlein have done to our schools will take generations to fix.

Anonymous said...

Bloomklein's principal academy is churning out so called leaders to carry out their agenda of slicing off a percentage of teachers each year for economic reasons.Isn't that strategy part of a business model? These principals are using dirty tactics and lies to destroy a teacher's professional stability and the union itself is "in on it."

Folks, we were sold down the river by our very own union when the right to grieve observations and letters to our personnel file was negotiated away. Now teachers can only attach a response....... Cmon....that's stripping a person defenseless! Then by the time the principal has loaded up the personnel file with adverse reports, by the time you are given an unsatisfactory rating and attend the hearing process, you are doomed. Why are you doomed? Because the hearing process is unfair and the arbitrators are in on it too. They too want to oust you out of the system....especially if your salary is high.....

Thanks a lot Randi Weingarten..... you may have gotten our salaries raised, but then once we are fired, the higher salary means ZERO.....As long as the union runs around fighting for every other purpose, they are ignoring the most important need of all......protecting a teacher's personnel file. The very right to protect ourselves as teachers was stripped away, and is now being abused by principals.

We are at the height of corruption......goodluck teachers!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: July 13, 2010 8:43 PM

"The lynchpin of their rationale for all of this is test scores."

Much is coming out about those flawed and fraudulently low-bar exams:


http://gothamschools.org/2010/07/12/what-it-really-means-to-score-proficient-on-new-york-tests/

http://www.ny1.com/content/news_beats/education/122034/study--state-math--reading-test-scores-flawed/

And I wouldn't call it a lynchpin, though I take your point. I'd call it a poor bad-faith excuse, or a cover.

Anonymous said...

Fraud Fraud Fraud


http://gothamschools.org/2010/07/19/at-long-last-state-offers-evidence-that-test-standards-are-low/