Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Indypendent Featuring MORE Steering Committee's Michelle Baptiste: Cuomo, Corporate Reformers Take Aim at Experienced Educators

32,000 teachers have left city schools to take their talents elsewhere or have exited the profession altogether since 2002. Among mid-career teachers with six to 15 years of experience, the number of resignations per year leapt from 500 to 900 between 2008 and 2013... 
While the UFT ignores, the Indypendent takes on the issue of principals from hell.

Brooklyn elementary school teacher Michelle Baptiste got in trouble with her principal when she used her after-school hours to meet with families of troubled children instead of entering her students’ standardized test results into an Excel spreadsheet. Photo: Alex Ellefson

Issue # 204
When discussing how to improve public education, Governor Andrew Cuomo likes to complain about how difficult it is to fire “bad teachers” and the need to reduce job security for classroom educators. He is not alone in this. The Partnership for Educational Justice, a well-funded nonprofit fronted by former CNN host Campbell Brown, is pursuing a lawsuit in a Staten Island court that seeks to scrap teacher tenure protections. Both New York City tabloids, meanwhile, never miss a chance to promote a lurid teacher sex scandal and then denounce the teachers union for protecting the right of the accused to a fair hearing.

But what if the real teaching crisis in New York is not the inability to get rid of bad teachers, but the failure to keep experienced and highly capable teachers and allow them to do their jobs?...
Baptiste told The Indypendent she had been too busy meeting during after-school hours with the families of troubled children in her class — including some who did not have stable housing — to keep on schedule with entering data, which she described as “garbage.” Still, she recognizes her actions put her career in peril.
“If you get enough of these letters in your file, you can be brought up on charges of incompetence and you can lose your livelihood,” said Baptiste. She has switched to teaching second grade, where students are tested less frequently.

Principals From Hell

“My assistant principal was absolutely disgusting. I walked in on him cornering a special education teacher in the library,” Thurman told The Indypendent. “He would even eye students who came into his office. I started encouraging teachers, who started coming to me, that I could be a witness for them, but as a young teacher there’s so many fears, not just sexual harassment.”

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