Posts tagged "human capital"
September 17, 2012
In the 2011-2012 school year, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott vowed to push forward an array of policy changes — from the way teachers are hired and fired to the ways schools prepare boys of color for graduation and college. So how did they do?
We’ve rounded up all of last year’s policy promises and checked up on the city’s progress on each. Today, we’re looking at proposals to bolster teacher quality, a longtime pet issue for the Bloomberg administration.
We found that the city has fulfilled one promise completely, to create a new Teaching Fellows program just for middle schools, but several others fell off the radar or were pushed to the margins by ongoing negotiations over new teacher evaluations. Each promise is in bold, followed by an explanation of how far the city has come toward meeting it.
In future posts, we’ll tally the city’s progress on creating new schools, engaging parents, helping high-needs students, and improving middle schools.
- The city will adopt new teacher evaluations that adhere to the state’s new evaluation law. (When: Many times)
Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock should know the answer: not yet, despite one close call and a helping hand from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. City and union officials are meeting regularly to negotiate an evaluation deal, this time in hopes of meeting the state’s January deadline. They say they are “optimistic” and “hopeful” they’ll reach an agreement in time to qualify for state funds.
- Teachers with top ratings on teacher evaluations will get a $20,000 pay raise. (Bloomberg’s State of the City speech, January 2012)
The city still has not adopted new teacher evaluations, so the proposal is moot. But the teachers union, a longtime opponent of individual merit pay, quickly passed a resolution opposing it, so its future prospects are not bright.
- The city will repay up to $25,000 in student loans of teachers who are in the top of their college classes. (State of the City) (more…)
August 17, 2012
The city’s two-year-old crackdown on “tenure as we know it” continued this past year with nearly half of the teachers up for tenure not receiving it.
Just under 4,000 teachers were up for tenure in the 2011-2012 school year, fewer than usual because hiring restrictions sharply cut the number of new teachers in 2009. Of them, 55 percent received tenure and 3 percent were denied it, effectively barring them from working in city schools. The remaining portion — 42 percent — had their probationary periods extended for another year.
The extension rate was slightly higher than in 2011, when 39 percent of teachers up for tenure had their decisions deferred under a revamped tenure evaluation process. But it is five times the extension rate from 2010, which was the first time that the city used the deferral option in large numbers.
Mayor Bloomberg vowed in 2010 to move toward on “ending tenure as we know it,” a change he favors because teachers who do not yet have tenure can more easily be fired.
Last year, Chancellor Dennis Walcott predicted that more teachers would be denied tenure this year.
UPDATE: But the denial rate for teachers in the tenure pool for the first time actually fell. Last year, 104 teachers eligible for tenure for the first time were denied it, for a denial rate of 2.2 percent. This year, that rate was 1.9 percent, meaning that just 42 teachers up for tenure for the first time were told they could not continue to work in city schools.
The Department of Education’s chief academic officer, Shael Polakow-Suransky, said today that the department had no firm goals for how many teachers should receive or be denied tenure.
“This is not about hitting some numerical target at all,” he said during a call with reporters. “What we’re asking principals to do is treat this as a big decision about: Is this teacher ready for lifetime guarantee of employment?” (more…)
August 15, 2012
Later this week, when the Department of Education announces the number of teachers who received tenure last year, it’s likely that the tenure rate will be lower than ever.
It used to be that virtually all teachers who completed their third year were awarded tenure, which confers added rights. But ever since Mayor Bloomberg vowed to end “tenure as we know it” in 2010, fewer teachers have gotten tenure each year. Last year, fewer than 60 percent of teachers up for tenure received it; most of the rest had their probationary periods extended, sometimes for a second time.
But for a group of teachers who were told earlier this year that their tenure recommendations were being rescinded, there is better news. They’ll be receiving tenure after all.
In June, GothamSchools reported that tenure-eligible teachers working in some struggling schools were having their probationary periods extended, even when the superintendent, who is supposed to make the final call, agreed with their principal’s recommendation for tenure. (more…)
May 17, 2012
Even without a new teacher evaluation system, New York City will ramp up efforts to weed out teachers who “don’t deserve to teach,” Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today.
In an early-morning speech to the Association for a Better New York, a business and political group, Walcott said the city would adopt new policies to insulate students from teachers deemed “unsatisfactory” under the current evaluation system. Under the new policies, no student will be allowed to have a teacher rated unsatisfactory multiple years in a row, and the city will move to fire all teachers who receive two straight U ratings.
“If we truly believe that every student deserves a great teacher, then we can’t accept a system where a student suffers with a poor-performing one for two straight years,” Walcott said. “One year of learning loss is bad enough — but studies indicate that two years could be devastating.”
The policies would go into effect if the city and union do not agree on new teacher evaluations by September, when the new school year begins. Under the existing evaluation system, two consecutive U ratings can trigger termination proceedings but do not have to. Two “ineffective” ratings on teacher evaluations now required under state law would automatically trigger termination proceedings.
Walcott also announced that the city would capitalize on a clause in its contract with the teachers union to offer a resignation incentive for teachers who have spent more than a year in the Absent Teacher Reserve, the pool of teachers without permanent positions. Buyouts would have to be negotiated for each teacher, and Walcott promised that the incentives would be “generous.” The move represents a shift in approach for the Bloomberg administration, which has previously sought the right to fire members of the ATR pool.
Walcott’s complete speech, as prepared for delivery, is below. We’ll have more on his proposals later today. (more…)
May 11, 2012
The city might have agreed to temporarily halt hiring decisions at turnaround schools because of a union lawsuit, but it is still moving forward with other massive changes for those schools.
This week, the Department of Education announced new names for the 24 schools set to undergo the overhaul process and continued making leadership changes in them. It also posted job descriptions that will be used to decide which teachers are picked to return in the fall.
The job postings could be the most crucial step toward shaping what the schools will look like in September. That’s because of a requirement of the 18-D process, the process embedded in the city’s contract with the UFT that the city is trying to structure rehiring. (The union’s lawsuit argues that 18-D does not apply to the turnaround schools.)
Under turnaround, every teacher at each of the schools will be “excessed,” but all who want to may reapply for their jobs. 18-D mandates that replacement schools hire back, in order of seniority, at least half of the teachers who apply from the previous school — provided that they are qualified.
The job postings are where those qualifications are set. Principals of the turnaround schools, who have been attending weekly planning workshops, devised them and union officials reviewed them before they were posted, a union official said. (more…)
April 5, 2012
Replacing teachers at the remaining 26 turnaround schools could cost the city as much as $60 million, according to a new analysis released today by one of the city’s most vociferous opponents.
The report, released by the Coalition for Educational Justice in advance of an organized student and parent protest at City Hall, also took aim at the process the Department of Education used to assessed many of the schools that remain on the turnaround list. A dozen schools are doing well enough on their annual progress reports that they cleared the city’s own closure benchmark.
The CEJ cost analysis found that up to 849 teachers in the 26 schools could be replaced in order to qualify for federal school improvement grants, which require that no more than 50 percent of teachers can be retained under the turnaround model. The analysis omitted teachers who were hired in the last two years because they are likely to be exempted from the total pool of teachers that must reapply to their positions.
The final figures will almost certainly be less than CEJ’s projections because DOE officials have begun telling principals they won’t be on the hook any specific number of teachers.
The report details the salary and tenure profile at each of the 26 schools. For instance, teachers at John Dewey High School, where college-readiness rates exceed the city average, earned the highest average salary, $82,641, and just 7 percent of its staff was hired in the last two years. At Banana Kelly, where more than half of its teaching staff joined the school in recent years, just one teacher would need to be removed at the school to qualify for the funds. (more…)
March 21, 2012
A slightly improved fiscal picture and a higher-than-usual number of anticipated vacancies mean more new teachers are likely to enter city classrooms this fall.
Two groups that prepare new teachers, the national nonprofit Teach for America and the city’s own Teaching Fellows program, both say they are planning to boost the number of recruits that they direct toward city schools. Together, they are anticipating hiring about 1,100 new teachers — far fewer than in their heyday but up by more than a third since last year.
The groups are by no means the only source of new teachers for city schools, whose principals also hire teachers trained through traditional certification programs and teachers who are already working in other districts. But their anticipated enrollment represents a barometer for evaluating the city’s teacher hiring climate, which for years has been dampened by restrictions introduced in 2009.
Then-Chancellor Joel Klein introduced the restrictions as a way to cut costs when economic recession kicked in and the city’s fiscal picture dimmed. They have not been lifted, but over time the Department of Education exempted some subjects and geographic areas and now says on its teacher hiring page that restrictions f0r the 2012-2013 school year “are unavailable at this time,” suggesting that principals might well face different or fewer constraints when filling open positions this year.
Why the change? One big reason is that the city’s finances are on the upswing: Unlike in recent years, Mayor Bloomberg is not threatening teacher layoffs this summer, saying that the city’s improving fiscal picture does not warrant them. In addition, the city is planning a massive organizational change, “turnaround,” at 33 schools that could free up as many as 1,700 positions for new teachers — many of which would fall under an exemption in the existing hiring restrictions. (more…)
March 2, 2012
The city has begun telling principals at some of the schools slated for a controversial overhaul process that they won’t be part of the changes.
The city is moving forward with plans to overhaul 33 struggling schools according to a federally prescribed school improvement strategy known as “turnaround.” Turnaround requires that schools replace at least 50 percent of their teachers, revise their curriculums, and get new principals.
The federal regulations make an exception for principals who have been in place less than two years or who arrived three years ago as part of a deliberate effort to overhaul their schools. Those principals are allowed to stay on.
That means that about half of the principals at the schools slated for turnaround are likely to keep their jobs — and half will have to go. Some have already started getting the bad news.
“Most principals found out that they would be leaving as of June 30 and they’re concerned to keep up the progress that the school has made,” said one of the principals who is being removed. “It’s a very upsetting thing because we’ve worked very hard to make progress in our schools.” (more…)
October 31, 2011
In the last month, nearly 10 percent of teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve have found new positions, according to data the Department of Education released today.
The hiring took place during a time when the department shuffled teachers in the ATR pool to new positions every week, under the terms of an agreement with the teachers union.
The city and UFT say the agreement is meant to match more teachers with open positions. But at a union meeting for ATRs last month, some teachers speculated that the weekly assignments were intended to frustrate ATRs into resignation.
Numbers from the first month have not borne out that theory. Of the teachers who left the pool, 172 found new positions, 11 took a leave from the DOE, and 18 exited the school system entirely. Altogether, nearly 750 teachers have exited the pool since mid-August, when the city said 1,940 teachers were without permanent positions.
The new numbers show that the pool of teachers without permanent positions has settled at roughly the same size every year for three years, even though principals faced with shrinking budgets have cut jobs each summer. There are currently 1,200 teachers in the ATR pool, 77 fewer than last year at this time and 47 fewer than in November 2009. (more…)
September 6, 2011
The Department of Education could potentially be doing more to help teachers whose positions have been eliminated find new jobs.
That’s one conclusion of an audit conducted by Comptroller John Liu of the DOE’s efforts to help members of the Absent Teacher Reserve, the pool of teachers whose jobs were lost to budget cuts, enrollment changes, or school closures. The audit concluded that the vast majority of ATRs — 95 percent — are working full-time in teaching jobs, but that the department doesn’t maintain data sufficient to conclude whether its efforts to help the teachers find permanent positions are paying off.
“Without such information, we believe that DOE is significantly hindered in its ability to evaluate the success of its efforts in helping ATR teachers find permanent positions,” the report concludes.
The audit is not meant to dictate policy and is intended only to draw attention to what the report said was an information gap within the DOE on the ATR pool.
But an unwritten conclusion also seems to be that the city is wasting money by hiring new teachers when ATRs are licensed to do the job. (more…)