Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Teach For America New York presents: A (Biased) panel discussion on the "Last In, First Out" teacher layoff policy in New York State

Julie Cavanagh was invited and then dis-invited and replaced by the UFT's Leo Casey, who will not defend LIFO but argue the case against layoffs. Look for Julie's response to the organizers later today and her in depth defense of LIFO - what she would have said if she had not been tossed off the panel. So you have Sydney from E4E, a rep from Michelle Rhee's organization, a reporter who is supposedly neutral, Noguera who can be pretty good but where he stands on LIFO might be problematical and Leo Casey.
Yes, a stacked deck, but do the people running TFA really want them to hear a real classroom teacher like Julie instead of a union official, who will try to paint the union as a reasonable reformer - or deformer?  

I love Lindsay Christ as a reporter - and she is a former teacher - but she is or has to be neutral. Pedro Noguera mostly makes a lot of sense but does often run on the edge of ed deform. But it is a TFA event which they use to politicize their members to their ed deform point of view - but then TFA is all about politics rather than education.

This event came across our radar over a week ago when a principal who was invited to defend LIFO (hey, why ask a teacher?) couldn't make it and actually suggested me as a replacement. Now would I venture onto a panel with an E4E AND a Michelle Rhee-er without bringing a knife - and probably using it?

But as TFA alumna Anna Martin says in her dynamic 3 part series:
Of course, not only Teach for America teachers come and quickly leave, but it’s hard not to see fault with a two-year sell-by date. In fact, if a corps member is perceived as effective after the two-year commitment, then they are often almost immediately recruited out of the classroom to work for Teach for America or to begin funneling into the school leadership pipeline. After my fourth year of teaching in the same school, TFA realized that I wasn’t budging and stopped hinting. Something feels wrong about an organization that draws its most talented teachers out of their classrooms to help achieve its vision.

Teach For America New York
Who Should Teach Our Students?
A panel discussion on the "Last In, First Out" teacher layoff policy 
in New York State 

Dr. Pedro Noguera 
Professor of Education - New York University

Leo Casey
VP Academic High Schools - United Federation of Teachers

Lindsey Christ 
Education Reporter - NY 1

Eric Lerum
Engagement Manager - StudentsFirst

Sydney Morris 
Co-Founder, Executive Director - Educators 4 Excellence

While most people agree we should try to avoid massive budget cuts to education, opinions vary on what teacher layoffs should look like if they become a reality-and many signs indicate that teacher layoffs in New York City are imminent for the first time in three decades. To date, much of the conversation has focused on the "if", but given the current reality, this conversation will examine the "how" by presenting and debating the merits of alternative teacher layoff proposals currently being considered in the New York State Assembly and Senate.
Time: Tuesday, April 12, 6:30p-8:30p

Urban Assembly School for Design and Construction
525 West 50th Street, 4th Floor (between 10th and 11th Avenues)

RSVP here: to reserve a seat for this event now!

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