Posts tagged "teacher tenure"
July 29, 2011
Mayor Bloomberg escalated his critique of teacher tenure on his weekly radio show this morning, calling tenure outdated and questioning whether it should even exist.
Bloomberg was discussing the latest tenure data, which were released Wednesday and showed an all-time high number of teachers whose probation were extended rather than receiving tenure. He said he’d continue to comply with the laws that required him to award tenure, but wouldn’t like it.
“The state law has tenure, whether you like it or not. We have to work with that,” Bloomberg said. ”It may have been necessary in the McCarthy era or maybe even today at the university level. But in public education you’re not writing papers about things that are very controversial, which was the idea of tenure: to protect your ability to do that.”
Bloomberg launched the last school year with a pledge to overhaul the way tenure is granted, and he previously has criticized tenure as being too “automatic.” But he has never called for an outright end to tenure; indeed, in a 2009 speech at the Center for American Progress, he declared, “let me be clear: We are not proposing an end to tenure.” (more…)
July 27, 2011
In a stark departure from tradition, more than 40 percent of city teachers up for tenure this year did not get it.
Just over 5,200 teachers were up for tenure this year. Of them, 58 percent received tenure and 3 percent were denied it, effectively barring them from working in city schools. The remaining portion — 39 percent — had their probationary periods extended for another year.
The number of extensions inched up in 2010 to 8 percent, but skyrocketed this year after the Department of Education revamped the tenure evaluation process in an effort to make the protection tougher to receive.
Yet the rate of tenure denials actually fell slightly from last year, from about 3.3 percent in 2010 to 2.7 percent in 2011, or 151 teachers, despite Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s insistence that the figures were the first step toward “ending tenure as we know it.”
The numbers, which Bloomberg touted at a press conference today, confirm anecdotal reports pointing to a sharp rise in the number of probation extensions under the new system. Before last year, that option was rarely used and the vast majority of teachers received tenure almost as a formality.
But last fall, Bloomberg vowed to make tenure a reward not for time served but for pushing students forward. In December, the city unveiled a new evaluation rubric for teachers up for tenure and said that teachers falling in the bottom two categories of four should not receive tenure.
“Tenure ought to be reserved for only the best teachers, and unfortunately, as we all know, for far too long it has been awarded primarily on the basis on longevity, not performance,” Bloomberg said today.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said today that he expects the number of tenure denials to rise next year. (more…)
March 21, 2011
As principals’ tenure decisions come under harsher scrutiny than in the past, one principal has found a new way of proving that his teachers deserve the honor.
Last year, when Fortunato Rubino, the principal of a high-performing Williamsburg middle school, wanted to grant tenure to one of his teachers, his superintendent wouldn’t sign off because the teacher had a low effectiveness rating. Scenarios like this are becoming more common as the DOE tries to make tenure tougher to earn and asks superintendents — who have the final word on tenure — to consider teachers’ value-added scores. These scores measure how well a teacher’s students performed on the state math and reading tests compared to how well a predictive model thought they would do.
So this year, when six of his teachers are up for tenure — including the one who didn’t get it last year — Rubino plans to introduce his own evidence.
During a visit to his school I.S. 318 this morning, I watched Rubino pull three DVDs out of his briefcase — each carefully marked with a teacher’s name. For all six teachers who are up for tenure, Rubino has filmed a lesson and burned the videos to DVD for his superintendent to watch. He told me he’d spent the weekend going through the videos to make sure each showcased his teachers at their best. (more…)
December 13, 2010
Although principals won’t get their first look at the city’s new tenure rules until tomorrow, one principal I spoke to today has high hopes for the new system.
For years, tenure has been treated as a formality, the principal said, so some school leaders put little effort into thinking about whether it should be granted. The new rules may prompt them to take the process of granting tenure more seriously, she said.
“I think the new system is probably not such a bad thing,” she said, telling a story about how her school had been hurt by what’s known as “tenure by estoppel.”
Tenure by estoppel, which is part of state law, means that a teacher can get tenure after a certain period of time if her principal never makes a decision.
In this person’s school, there was a teacher who had been given an extra year of probation and was up for tenure, which the former-principal knew she hadn’t earned. (more…)
December 13, 2010
For more than 6,000 teachers, the path to tenure this year will be different and, the city hopes, tougher.
City education officials announced a new rubric today that will guide principals as they make tenure recommendations this year. The “effectiveness framework” places teachers in one of four categories: highly effective, effective, developing, and ineffective, based on students’ tests scores, classroom observations, parent feedback, and other factors. No single element is meant to be weighed more heavily than the others and principals still have the ability to pick and choose what goes into their final decision.
Principals will be encouraged to give tenure only to teachers they believe are effective or highly effective, city officials said today. Teachers who are “developing” will have their probation extended, giving them another year in which to improve. This extension can occur again and again until a principal makes a final decision or the teacher leaves the job.
In the past, granting tenure meant checking a series of boxes in an online form. Was the teacher dressed appropriately? Check. Did she have good classroom management? Check. Principals who wanted to deny tenure had to offer a brief justification, but granting it didn’t require a principal to give her rationale for doing so. (more…)
December 10, 2010
City officials are planning to unveil a new evaluation system for un-tenured teachers and have enlisted the help of a prominent educator.
The Danielson Group — run by Charlotte Danielson, the creator of a widely-used taxonomy of teaching called the Framework for Teaching — is consulting with the Department of Education to create measures of good teaching tailored for the city.
Sources said the new evaluation system will be used for probationary teachers — those who typically have fewer than three years experience — and will guide principals in making tenure decisions. The new evaluation system has yet to be unveiled to teachers and principals, but DOE officials have shown it to network leaders, who will be charged with training principals in its use.
Meant to be in place by the time tenure decisions are made this spring, the new framework is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s push to make tenure more difficult to attain. In a speech delivered on NBC in September, the mayor said that tenure should not be a “formality” for teachers and vowed that this year, principals would use a new evaluation system. (more…)
September 27, 2010
In his first major education policy announcement for the new school year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg this morning vowed a renewed attack on seniority laws that protect veteran teachers and a change in how teachers are awarded tenure.
He made the remarks on NBC, which is dedicating this week to school reporting in a project called “Education Nation.”
The attack on seniority laws came as city officials made a dire budget prediction for next year, saying that they will likely have to lay off public school teachers as federal stimulus funding runs out. Under the current state law, teachers with the least seniority would be the first to lose their jobs — a policy known as “last in, first out.” The mayor and Chancellor Joel Klein oppose this policy, but their effort to change the law, which the teachers union does support, went nowhere last year.
Today, the mayor said he would try dismantling the policy again before the city confronts an expected $700 million budget hole and possible layoffs next year.
“It’s time for us to end the ‘last-in, first out’ layoff policy that puts children at risk here in New York — and across our wonderful country,” Bloomberg said on NBC. ”How could anyone argue that this is good for children? The law is nothing more than special interest politics, and we’re going to get rid of it before it hurts our kids,” he added.
Teachers union officials immediately squashed any possibility that they might partner with the mayor. (more…)
July 21, 2010
City principals say they’re pretty darn happy with their jobs, according to the results of the city’s annual survey for principals. They gave high marks in virtually every area, including the one the city might have wanted them to endorse less enthusiastically — their ability to root out and deal with poor teachers.
The city’s current teacher tenure policy is a pet peeve of Chancellor Joel Klein, who argues that student performance, not just years in the classroom, should determine whether a teacher gets and maintains tenure. And Deputy Chancellor Eric Nadelstern has said that two-thirds of the city’s teachers may need improvement.
But principals said they already have the tools they need to help struggling teachers.
A total of 85 percent said that they were given good enough “support and information to address low-performing employees.” And 93 percent of principals who responded to the survey reported that they either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I am given sufficient support and information to guide tenure decisions.” Neither of those rates have changed since March 2008.
Regardless of principals’ views, the teacher evaluation and tenure system is set to change. Under a deal struck between the state and teachers unions this spring, student test scores will begin to factor in teacher evaluations beginning in the 2011-12 school year.
Around 84 percent of the city’s 1,532 principals responded to the survey, which the city has given each fall and spring since November 2007. The city’s full report on the survey results is below: (more…)
February 11, 2010
Department of Education officials debuted a new tenure process today will affect only one in ten teachers up for tenure this year, but for the city’s teachers union, that’s one too many.
Answering Mayor Bloomberg’s demand that test scores be used in tenure decisions this year, the department has broadened the criteria that principals use in evaluating teachers to include teacher data reports. These reports rank teachers based on their students’ scores on the state’s math and English exams and compare them to others teaching similar students over several years. Department officials say the reports will only be used to alert principals to teachers who are at the top and bottom of the rankings.
When Chancellor Joel Klein first introduced the data reports in 2008, he made an agreement with former United Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten that the reports would not affect tenure evaluations or teacher pay. Today Klein doubled back on that agreement, sending a letter to principals that said including the data reports would make tenure more “meaningful.”
January 29, 2010
New York State’s Race to the Top application is nearly a printer-jamming 1,000 pages, but a quick skim of the documents offers some insight into how the state is presenting itself and its proposals to judges in Washington.
Throughout the fight over whether and how to lift the state’s charter cap, state education officials and the Board of Regents advocated for more than doubling the number of charters allowed in New York. Lifting the cap would not only improve the state’s chances at winning federal money, they said, it had become necessary as New York was closing in on its 200 school limit.
In December, Chancellor of the Board of Regents Merryl Tisch told GothamSchools: “My opinion is that the charter cap is now at a place where it will prevent us from opening great charter schools.” Yet the state’s application paints a distinctly different picture of the charter cap’s effect: (more…)