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Targeting Teachers

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New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is taking steps to rid New York City schools of unsatisfactory teachers, including hiring new teams of lawyers and consultants to build cases against tenured teachers, according to a New York Times article.

The new plan, at a cost of $1 million a year, will pair education consultants with principals to help improve the performance of struggling teachers and then, if the efforts fail, work to remove the tenured teachers from the school system.

This new strategy follows last week’s release of the results from Bloomberg’s new, complex A-F grading system aimed at unearthing the city’s failing schools. About 12 percent of schools received an F; more than 60 percent received an A or B.

Randi Weingarten, the head of the United Federation of Teachers, the city’s teachers union, lambasted Bloomberg’s new pack of lawyers, calling them a “teacher gotcha unit.” Weingarten added that it encourages principals to get rid of teachers instead of working to support them.

In a typical year, only about one-hundredth of 1 percent of tenured teachers are removed for ineffective performance. New York City has about 80,000 public school teachers.

4 Comments

It's about time.

I'm a teacher, and this plan doesn't concern me because I help students advance. However, this plan does not address all of the problems in educating students, here in NYC. One of the reasons that lawyers are required to remove ineffective teachers is because of a system that has for too long tied the hands of educators. We are required to implement books, educational programs, etc... that we find sorely lacking. If I am solely responsible for the performance of my students, then I need the freedom to teach with materials I find most effective for my particular body of students. As goes the UFT mantra, "Let teachers teach!" I often have to ignore what the system would have me do in order to teach effectively.

I'm a teacher, and this plan doesn't concern me because I help students advance. However, this plan does not address all of the problems in educating students, here in NYC. One of the reasons that lawyers are required to remove ineffective teachers is because of a system that has for too long tied the hands of educators. We are required to implement books, educational programs, etc... that we find sorely lacking. If I am solely responsible for the performance of my students, then I need the freedom to teach with materials I find most effective for my particular body of students. As goes the UFT mantra, "Let teachers teach!" I often have to ignore what the system would have me do in order to teach effectively.

I think part of our (people in ed.) problem is that we have too many (experienced) teachers teaching "what" they want, "how" they want to. If you want to influence the text/material selection for your school or district, then get involved in the selection process. I've worked with too many teachers who claim their experience make them literacy, math, etc. experts, and they don't need someone telling them what or how to teach. Many are using the same lesson plans they wrote 10-15 years ago. These are the same teachers that our teaching organization protects when administration attempts to implement improvement plans or the removal of a teacher. Someone need to step up to the plate and hold teachers accountable. If we can't find ways to monitor the effectiveness of our own profession, then someone else will do it for us. You know who is effective in your building/department and who is just doing enough to pick up the check.

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  • carla: I think part of our (people in ed.) problem is read more
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  • Anonymous: I'm a teacher, and this plan doesn't concern me because read more
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