Monday, March 7, 2011

Are School Closing Choices Being Made on Basis of Costs of Teachers?

It certainly would seem to be obvious without even looking at the data. Think of the strategy. End LIFO, go after the ATRs, create lots more relatively senior ATRs by under resourcing schools selected for closing on the basis of teacher costs, create a phony layoff crisis, lay off these people and then turn around and hire lots of newbies after declaring crisis is over- exactly what Michelle Rhee did in DC, but this will be on a massive scale. For the UFT to declare victory after this onslaught will take superb PR skills, but watch them try.

Gotham reported today: The city said it wants to close two more schools, both transfer schools. (NY1Brooklyn Daily Eagle). Here's a job for an enterprising investigative journalist.

One source emailed me:
With the closure of the two transfer schools, announced yesterday, Pacific and Bronx Academy it is pretty clear that the decision to close a school has more to do with the average cost of teachers at that school than anything else. While they cite progress reports and other criteria Pacific had an average teacher salary of 78,000 and Bronx Academy, 76,000. If a correlation could be made between closing and opening schools using average teacher salaries, cost of administration one could predict which schools will be on the chopping block. The info is all on the DOE web site under Budget Summary for each school. The average teacher cost varies a little by license and there are a number of other additions and subtractions to this amount but this measure does seem predictable.
 Are there schools in the same category with lower ratings and lower average salaries that were not closed?


Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.


  1. Norm: this is very interesting, especially the timeing. My school is having its Joint Intervention Team review very soon. Our average salary is probably about $80k. There are two new schools in our building with nearly all new teachers (mostly TFA and Fellows, surprise). Those schools are worse than ours. However, the rumor is that these JIT people are coming to close US down. I am planning to leave the DOE next year and I have nothing to lose. And I'm pissed. I will keep you posted if you are interested.

  2. Oh, and I was chatting on a parenting board with another city teacher whose JIT is in May. They got their date in January, so they had a few months. We had THREE WEEKS to prepare for ours.

  3. Keep us updated. Email me offline if you want to get some info to the press.

  4. Keep us updated. Email me offline if you want to get some info to the press.

  5. I heard rumors today in my building that Cuomo is capitulating to Bloomberg, and he is heavily compromising with The Dictator as we speak, on issus on LIFO, and the layoff criteria. Anyone else hear this?

  6. So does Bloomberg's new plan for "merit" mean he'll layoff teachers every year... like the bottom 10 percent? Will this replace reverse seniority that occurs every 35 years?

  7. Don't forget that when Klein brought in Jack Welch at the beginning of his regime, Welch recommended that the DOE do what he had done at GE: fire the bottom 10% performers every years. It's in keeping with their desire to have a fearful, constantly churned, non-vested, at-will workforce.

    That their metrics are totally bogus makes no difference: they're presented with with the aura of "science," so most people presume them to be objective.


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