Friday, February 3, 2012

Main Aim of Ed Deform? Reduce Cost of Teacher Salaries and Benefits

Another reason to come to the State of the Union Conf. tomorrow: The UFT refuses to recognize and educate its members as to what is really going on with ed deform.
Michael Solo from John Dewey HS and I were on a Brooklyn public access cable TV program last night -BRIC- (taped for later showing) discussing the issue of teacher evaluations. I had to race over there after taping a remarkable forum on charter schools hosted by PS 24 with a panel consisting mostly of people who were in our film. About 25 parents came out which was quite impressive. They got an earful. I'll put up the video but right now I am busy finalizing my presentation of the UFT 101 workshop for the State of the Union conference tomorrow (last day to register online).

Back to the BRIC show. The game plan came into even clearer focus to me as we chatted about removing half the teachers at the schools, only as principal union head Ernie Logan said, to be replaced by low-salaried newbies while the senior teachers are thrown into the ATR pool. The excuse of gaining $55 million in order to spend $180 million to cover the costs of ATRs looks insane.

But not insane if the long-term plan is to gain a massive reduction in teacher salaries and benefits. Then it all makes sense. We all know that the biggest costs in education are teacher salaries and benefits. Imagine if you could cut salaries in half. And get short-term teachers who will never get a pension. In a decade you could radically restructure the education budget so you can funnel the money saved to your favorite consultants and business partners. Give more to the Joel Klein/Rupert Murdoch tandem at Wireless Generation.

Bloomberg is a long-term investor. Use the costs of the ATRs to create outrage. Have you noticed the sleazy NY Post targeting on a few teachers? That is just the opening in the campaign. As we get closer to the summer watch Cuomo chime on about the outrage of paying these people and calling for changes in state law allowing them to end LIFO. Just watch that assault. Right now the DOE is spending money on field supervisors for ATRs. Imagine that. Subs being rated. Pleas by to the UFT to get involved result in "But no one was U-rated." Yet.

And of course, along comes their partners in crime, Teach for America. This morning's blog was triggered by Mark Naison's post below.
Teach for America and the Transformation of the US into a Low Wage Nation

More and more, Teach for America seems to be an instrument for union busting by local school districts. Here's the scenario: A local school district is having budget problems. They lay off, or fire veteran teachers, then bring in Teach for America to replace them. The school districts saves millions of dollars in labor costs, short run, and even more money in the long because of reduced pension costs. The students lose because teachers who devoted their lives to their profession, and live in the community, are replaced by sojourners trained for five weeks who rarely stay beyond their two year commitment. But the community also loses because a sector of the local labor force which has decent pay and benefits is destroyed, thereby making it easier for employers in the private sector to keep wages low. Make no mistake about it, union busting, though it may reduce the tax burden on residents of municipalities and states, accelerates the transition of the United States as a low wage nation ruled by a wealthy elite of CEO's and managers. Teach for America, by actively accelerating this transition, is doing deadly damage to the young people it is trying to help by insuring they graduate into a labor force where work opportunities, for all but a small minority, are low paying and insecure. Those young people who seek to become part of this once admirable organization need to very carefully examine what its role in the United States social and economic system is TODAY


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


  1. Very good analysis. They have their eye on the prize.

  2. This is Gospel! Thank you for stating so eloquently what those of us working as CAREER EDUCATORS in the poor communities, WE HAVE CHOSEN TO SERVE FOR LIFE, have seen happening to our schools and communities for years.
    The TFA program is brought in by school districts as part of the anti teacher/anti labor "reform" movement and is used to save on costs (especially on the back end as govt. incurs no pension costs for TFA folks because they do not stay the required 10 years to vest ). They wish to make teaching a transient profession rather than a career... The consequences for the children of our communities are of no significance to these folks..

    It is a nice resume builder for kids out of college who usually move on to other careers where they can earn big bucks within two to three years. Note Gov Cuomo's push for a 401 (k) option for State/City workers, many of these folks would probably love it as they have no intention of "teaching for America" or anyone else for more than a year or two. One of my favorite lines which I constantly hear used by those who ran from the classroom after a year or two to got to work for big $$$ "educational corporations" (TFA, Charter School entities, Educators 4 Excellence, etc..) or as highly paid administrators/consultants in the Tweed Bureaucracy is:

    "I wanted to do something in education, but not necessarily teach". That would be like me saying "I want to do something is firefighting , but I don't ever want to have to fight a fire or run into a building", or "I want to do something in health care, but never want to actually help a sick or wounded person, I just want to earn a high salary talking about and designing the policies they will have to follow and will eventually privatize and destroy the careers of those actually providing health care services to patients".

  3. This whole Race to the Top bit is a wicked scheme. The money is primarily for testing corporations, consultants and folks who will never spend time actually teaching children. So much for the hope and change I hoped for in addressing No Child Left Behind....Sadly, Obama is part of the Chicago based anti union "reform" movement and I see nothing of promise coming from him on the education front. The policies coming from Washington, Albany and Tweed are the perfect storm for destroying public education. Note that the educational bureaucracy filled by these highly paid "reformers", and corporate structure will profit handsomely. Also not the cozy, perhaps perverse relationship between major media and the new "reform" movement. Joe Williams the leader of the hedge Fund sponsored "Democrats fro Education Reform" used to work for the Daily News. His Boss Mort Zuckerman is a Charter/ reform advocate and we read constant attacks against public schools in his paper. Natalie Ravitz a short term NYCDOE spokesperson left and went to work for them immediately. Joel Klein left the NYC DOE (he took a public pension for his service though he says public workers should not have them) and went immediately to work for News Corp and the king of the anti public education media world Sir Rupert Murdoch....4 Consecutive Chancellors
    have served on waivers and have no certification to hold the job. Waivers are the rule of the day. In fact, Joel Klein Esq. also had no problem being allowed to work with Wireless generation the folks that built the ARIS data system which is owned by Murdoch immediately upon leaving City service. Public workers are supposed to wait a year before engaging in any business that does business with the City. I guess the rules don't apply to the big shots...

    And these folks claim the old school board system was corrupt?! The difference was that in the old days someone's child who became a LICENSED teacher could get a job in his or her neighborhood. Sure bad things happened in the "old days" but the costs pale in comparison to the billions lost throughout the decade long corporate raid, pillage and sacking of the public education. The difference is the white collar nature of the reformers actions as opposed to the blue collar nature that existed before. Neither is right but lets face it Wall Street Thieves steal billions and walk away looking like heroes in the media while neighborhood crooks steal a few thousand and get lampooned and tarred and feathered in the media ....

    By the way, the terms constantly used by the mayor and other "reformers" when talking about "eliminating teacher tenure" and "hiring the BEST teachers" or "new young, teachers" is code for white, Ivy league educated children of privilege. I have read that the number of African American Teachers has dropped substantially since the dawn of Mayoral Control here in NYC and don't hear much of an outcry from electeds nor the unions about this travesty...

    Is this due to many electeds having been bought off in order to grant Mayoral Control?

  4. Mark is right that TFA has become a useful instrument to undermine teacher unions in exactly the manner he describes--novie young college grads hurriedly "trained" in 5 weeks are supplied by the batchload to districts firing veteran teachers who cost more than the 2-year-resume-campers flooding in from Wendy Kopp's operation. We should begin a "Boycott Teach for America" campaign on campuses, especially those elite colleges TFA favors for recruiting. Lots of idealistic, progressive young undergrads on campus will be dismayed to hear how TFA is a union-busting fraud harmful to the public education and the low-income communities it services. Many will not want to help Wendy Kopp and her billionaire backers undermine public school teachers and students.

  5. Very good analysis but let me add this. After another 1700 teachers are thrown in the ATR pool I predict there will be magical negotiations between the UFT and the DOE on a new contract. That new contract will get rid of the ATRs in exchange for a raise. Of course the 200,000 who aren't ATRs will sell out the 3,500 who are. Bloomy looks great (he got rid of that $200 million a year "burden"), Mulgrew looks great (got the membership a raise). Someone recently made a good point on another blog, newbie teachers pay the same union dues as do veterans. As long as Mulgrew and the UFT leadership get their money they don't care where it comes from. Let's not forget that Randi Weingarten made $600,000 last year in combined UFT/AFT compensation.

    1. They won't just get rid of ATrs but give the DOE the tools to do so with some kind of hidden procedure that is not obvious. I think the evaluation of ATRs is the key. Those not hired within the year will get a U rating and then become a major target in year 2 with word going out not to hire them.


Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating). Or because your comment is irrelevant or idiotic.