Saturday, July 15, 2017

School Scope: Erich Ulrich Loves Bo Dietl, ATRs, Charters

I wrote this column for this week's Wave but it didn't get in.

School Scope: A Bit of Riff and a Bit of Raff
By Norm Scott

Summer should be a slow season for ed news, but things never seem to slow down. Here are a few push button issues that you might want to google if interested.

DOE to place 400 teachers from ATR pool
In the old days, teachers got assigned to schools based on seniority. Now it’s a free market system. If your school is closed down or there are an excess of teachers in your license area, instead of being assigned permanently to a school, as people were pre-2005 contract, they are put in a pool and rotated from school to school. Unfairly, the entire pool has been branded in the press as incompetent. Some teachers did undergo disciplinary hearings and were fined or suspended. Some of these cases were instances where principals were retaliating against outspoken teachers or those who insisted on their union rights. (I attended some of their hearings and saw for myself from the testimony.) Due to rules instituted in 2008 by Joel Klein, known as Fair School Funding, school budgets are penalized for hiring higher salaried teachers, not only a major disincentive to hire senior ATRS, but also an incentive to pressure long-time senior teachers to retire or leave the school. The Dept. of Education has decided to start draining the ATR pool by assigning 400 of them to permanent placement in schools. If principals are charged for having to carry high salaried teachers, they won’t be very happy. Will the DOE to work something out to soothe the pain?

Charter teacher certification rules loosened
To become a certified teacher in NY State, you have to jump through all kinds of hoops and spend a lot of money. Charter schools, with their tremendous turnover rate, having to compete with public schools salaries, are having problems meeting their needs. Charters have been able to hire 30% of their teachers as uncertified but they still have to pay competitive salaries, albeit while forcing teachers to work a lot of hours. As part of the machinations going on in Albany over mayoral control and other ed issues, charters authorized by SUNY may soon be allowed to pull people off the streets to teach., even if they have not taken any courses related to educating children. (I can see them gang pressing people walking out of their college graduation.) The NY Post cheered the decision to hire unqualified people for charters. Ironically, but not surprisingly, the Post also condemned the DOE plan to place ATRs, who the Post branded as unqualified, in classrooms. One blogger was left scratching his head: “How can you support the hiring of untrained and unqualified people to teach students on one hand and then be against the hiring of veteran teachers who are properly certified and experienced? “ Read his entire post at:

It's the Attack on Unions Stupid: NY Times Doesn't Get Why Pay Lags Job Growth
“U.S. Job Growth Picks Up the Pace, but Wages Lag Behind” a recent front page of the NY Times declared. “This is not a market we have typically seen,” said Michael Stull, senior vice president at the staffing company Manpower North America. “We have not before seen unemployment drop, low participation rates and wages not move. That tells you something’s not right in the labor market.” Something's not right in the labor market? -- Duhhhh! I know I’m spitting in the wind when I say the reliance on free markets to balance workers and employers is faulty. Only organized workers in unions can redress the balance.

Eric Ulrich loves lunatic Bo Dietl for Mayor
Ulrich wrote on twitter after Republican Paul Massey pulled out: I will be encouraging the GOP to take a 2nd look at @BoDietl for Mayor. He has the fire in the belly…” Oy! I listened to Bo Dietl on Imus for years and while at times entertaining, suggesting he would make a good mayor is irresponsible, something I would not expect from Ulrich. Though he is a Republican, which automatically makes him irresponsible. But that’s a story for another day. A quick hit from Wikipedia tells us, “On May 4, 2017, the Wall Street Journal revealed Dietl claimed he was hired by Fox News network management to discredit the harassment claims by former anchor Gretchen Carlson and former producer Andrea Mackris against Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly.”

Eric is a smart politician, given he wants to run for mayor in 2021 but didn’t have the fire in his belly to take on a very flawed De Blasio ---- who even leftists like me despise. Actually there is a candidate running against de Blasio – Republican State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis from Staten Island, who apparently does have the fire in her belly. But if she does well against deB, even if she loses, she becomes a very creditable challenger to Ulrich in 2021. So why not promote a guy like Dietl who would send investigators to go after women who charge powerful men with sexual harassment, which given the firings at FOX, apparently were true?

Norm’s fire in the belly is due to acid reflux but he keeps blogging at

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