Thursday, May 7, 2009

Klein Gives Up the ATR Ghost

The bad economy has accomplished what rallies and UFT ineptness has not. The NY Times is reporting Joel Klein has ordered principals to hire ATRs before any new teachers. Thanks for listening Joel to the demands of the Grassroots Education Movement a week before our rally. Now it's time to restore teacher seniority rights. We'll send you a list of our other demands. Or just look outside your office next Thursday.

The rub in the Times report is this statement:

Anticipating significant budget cuts to New York City schools in the coming year, Chancellor Joel I. Klein ordered principals on Wednesday to stop hiring teachers from outside the system, a move that will force them to look internally at a pool that, according to an independent report, includes many subpar teachers.

The report, released last year by the New Teacher Project, which recruits and trains educators for school systems, estimated that the pool cost the city $81 million over two years.

Independent? The New Teacher Project is independent? What are people at the NY Times drinking? Have they looked at the funding sources of the New Teacher Project, founded incidentally by anti-union attack dog Michelle Rhee? Did the Times think to report on the amount of contracts the NTP gets from Klein to train new teachers, funding they may now lose if there are no new teachers to be hired? Is there just a tad of a conflict of interest with this "independent" report?

Timothy Daly, who runs the New Teacher Project, said he was worried that principals would no longer be able to find the best fits for their schools. “Schools are going to have great teachers who they would like to hire, who they won’t be able to hire,” Mr. Daly said. “It can’t be best for kids.”

Sniff, sniff. I'm weeping. Sure Tim. It's all about what's best for the kids.

Shame on reporter Javier Hernandez and the editors at the Times and for tainting 1100 ATRs. But we always knew they had a dog in this race.

Maybe GEM should march on to the NY Times after finishing up at Tweed on May 14.

UPDATE from Eduwonkette posted at Gotham Schools:

A point of clarification on this point from the New Teacher Project’s report that you cited, i.e. “By September 2007, unselected excessed teachers from 2006 were six times as likely to have received a prior “Unsatisfactory” rating as other New York City teachers.”

If you read the footnotes in their report, 81 percent of teachers in the ATR have never received an Unsatisfactory rating. Only 6 percent of all teachers in the ATR - about 14 teachers - have received an unsatisfactory rating more than once in their careers.

Beyond these facts, I have no idea to what extent this pool represents great or terrible teachers, and the important point to remember is that no one really knows. It’s not reasonable or fair to indict the entire group based on the very misleading “six times” TNTP sound bite. If someone else applied this kind of statistical discrimination to other groups - for example, by establishing the probability of an outcome like incarceration or welfare receipt by gender, class, or race and characterizing the entire group - we would all be up in arms.


Paul A. Moore said...

Norm, your point about the "bad economy" is an important one to consider as we seek an effective defense of the public schools.

Myriad measures are being taken right now that were nearly unthinkable just months ago and all throughout the glory days of the rise of the Global Economy. The state of New Mexico has abolished the death penalty and ten other states are likely to follow suit. Restrictions on travel to Cuba have been lifted and the decades old trade embargo is crumbling and will soon end. The state of California is seriously contemplating the legalization and taxation of marijuana. Many states are turning to legalized gambling, or greatly expanding it, in a desperate bid to raise revenues to provide the most basic social services.

Joel Klein in NYC and Michelle Rhee in D.C. are just two examples of bureaucrats tasked with destroying the public schools by the Business Roundtable that are now clearly in retreat. Their nefarious work had enjoyed nearly limitless funding until the "bad economy" appeared. Bill Gates suffered an $18 billion decline in his mad money for bashing the public schools. $40 billion is still a lot of money but its getting close to the point Gates has to begin seriously considering his own survival. Eli Broad's fortune was built in home building and AIG insurance. He's in more trouble than Gates.

The point is this is no time to be giving the privatizers aid and comfort. This is no time for alliances with Bloomberg/Klein, or Fenty/Rhee, or Gates/Green Dot, or Kopp/Teach For America, or Spellings/Duncan, or Ruby Payne/Al Sharpton. Their movement is losing steam and they will ultimately pass into history. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to drive them and all their schemes--the
business model for schools, charters, vouchers, data driven instruction, merit pay, standardized testing, and most perversely of all, paying students to consume the corporate version of education--out of our schools and away from our students.

Paul A. Moore

Chaz said...

Let's hope it is true this time.

Under Assault said...

Couldn't agree with you more about the Times slamming ATRs: They just couldn't resist on the front page blurb:

"Klein has ordered principals to hire from an internal pool that is said to include sub-par teachers." As if the Times or any other firm doesn't have some people in their employ who is functioning under par. Big deal.

Heck, even the DoE keeps sub-par people on staff — like every administrator who's spent few days as a teacher in a NYC classroom. Totally non-qualified for the job and thus by definition "sub-par".

Also agree on what you say about Tim Daly and teachers "best fit" for schools. Read: cheap and untenured. "Best" nearly always boils down to pliable and intimidated. Let a teacher show a little moxie and independence and all of a sudden the fit ain't so good anymore.

Liars and charlatans. All of them.

Under Assault said...

Previous post: embarrassing grammar, sorry. Bad online editing.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the principals will give jobs to the ATRS. Most of them think they are attached to the public school buildings.