Monday, April 26, 2010

Seniority and Layoffs in The Times

There was an interesting article in the Sunday NY Times on the attack on seniority. In some ways one of the fairer ones I've read in that it presented a variety of points of view by at least quoting Arthur Goldstein on how dangerous it was to give vindictive principals the choice.
See Last Teacher In, First Out? City Has Another Idea.

Here are some key points:

...a New York Times analysis of the city’s own reports on teacher effectiveness suggest that teachers do best after being in the classroom for at least 5 years, though they tend to level off after 10 years.

“You want to keep a rookie who looks good relative to other rookies, even if it’s not that great relative to all other teachers, because they are going to turn into a really good teacher,” said Douglas O. Staiger, an economics professor at Dartmouth who has worked with the city on teacher quality studies. “The question is: Are our current methods good enough at figuring out who those teachers are? I’m not sure where you draw the line on that.”

Arthur Goldstein, the chapter chairman of the teachers’ union at Francis Lewis High School in Queens, said that Mr. Klein and his supporters were trying to pit teachers against one another.

“I understand how they feel — I lost my job four times and nobody ever helped me,” Mr. Goldstein said of the younger teachers. “I don’t have a principal who is crazy now, but I’ve had other principals who would have fired me in a New York minute. It had nothing to do with teaching — things he would take as a personal insult.”

In 2008, New York City began evaluating about 11,500 teachers based on how much their students had improved on standardized state exams.

A Times analysis of the first year of results showed that teachers with 6 to 10 years of experience were more likely to perform well, while teachers with 1 or 2 years’ experience were the least likely.

The analysis could not account for differences in the makeup of the 11,500 classrooms, like how many of them had large numbers of students with learning disabilities.

In essence, the Times' research is saying that the 6-10 year teacher are the ones to keep even if seniority rules were eliminated. Since those are in the mid-range salaries before the heavy longevity increases begin, this "research" gives principals an excuse to dump 2nd decade teachers even if they don't keep the newbies.

It was nice to see reporter Jennifer Medina interview Arthur Goldstein, who makes essential points. In 1975 13 teachers, some who started 6 or 7 years before, were excessed from my school. Most were sent to other schools as seniority bumping went on all over the place. Even out 20 year guidance counselor was sent elsewhere as my district eliminated all of them. But within a short time things evened out and those who actually lost jobs started being recalled. Many left the system but others did come back. Some got recertified in shortage areas. Don't forget that layoffs go by license.

The article talks about the young teachers who are upset at seniority rules and the organization some of them have founded.

Mr. Borock, the Bronx teacher, said that the layoffs would discourage newer graduates from entering the profession. “If you have a number of job opportunities, as many of us did, and you have a nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you could lose this job really quickly,” he asked, “why would anyone want to go into that?”

He joined a group created recently by other young teachers, Educators for Excellence, to lobby against seniority rules, taking on their own union

Let's see now. Mr. Borock has many job opportunities (in this economy? - please tell) and reports are emerging that the founders of Educators for Excellence may be leaving teaching, as 50% of the new teachers do within 5 years. So the idea that newer graduates, many of whom were driven into teaching by the economy anyway, would not do so is interesting. I can't tell you how many young teachers I hear from who are dying to get into the system. Something about health care and maybe even pensions - oh, gosh, these are not things teachers should talk about - that's stuff about "adults" and it's all about the kids.

So Mr. Borock if he's laid off should take all those job opportunities. There are plenty of people waiting to take his place when they start rehiring.

Add on
Chaz has some thoughts on E4E:
The Educators4Excellence Group Is Just A Stooge For Bloomberg & Klein's "Education On The Cheap" Policy

And as usual, South Bronx School has been going wild.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am ending my 23rd year. After 20 years 100 % of my students pasted the Earth Science regents 3 years in a row. I work hard in the school I am in doing anything asked of me. I have been out only two days (one personal). This article reeks of age discrimination. If I am every a victim of this philosophy, I guarrentee the DOE an age discrimination law suit.