Posts tagged "tenure"
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…)
June 8, 2012
Some teachers this week are getting bad news about what they thought was already a done deal: their tenure.
Teachers come up for tenure, which confers stronger job protections, after three years. In their third year, their principals recommend a tenure decision to the superintendent, who has the final say on whether to approve, deny, or defer tenure.
But some teachers whose principals had already received superintendent sign-off found out this week that those approvals had been rescinded, according to principals, teachers, and union officials. The teachers are instead being offered an extension of their probationary periods, some for the second time.
The scenario has played out at multiple schools, according to officials at the United Federation of Teachers, who said the schools all seemed to have low scores on their Department of Education progress reports.
The reversals appear to mark a new phase in the Bloomberg administration’s campaign to make tenure tougher to earn — or, as Mayor Bloomberg put it in a 2010 vow, “ending tenure as we know it.” Last year, the city aggressively cut down on the rate of tenure approvals, instead extending the probationary period of 40 percent of teachers up for tenure, up from 8 percent in 2010, and many principals said their superintendents had rejected some of their tenure recommendations. (more…)
August 3, 2011
Less than two years after pledging that he did not want to end tenure, Mayor Bloomberg struck a different chord today.
“Do I think it’s needed at the public school level? No,” he said today.
The statement came days after Bloomberg’s most recent escalation in rhetoric against tenure protections. During his weekly radio address last week, he said tenure is a vestige of the McCarthy Era of the 1950s, when teachers were persecuted for their political views.
But until today he had not said outright that he opposed tenure’s existence for public school teachers. In fact, in a Nov. 2009 speech at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., he declared, “Let me be clear: We are not proposing an end to tenure.” Last year, Bloomberg promised “to end teacher tenure as we know it,” but by making it tougher to achieve, not doing away with it. That vow appeared to bear fruit this year when the number of city teachers awarded tenure fell dramatically.
Bloomberg was responding to a question I asked about what protections he thinks teachers should have given that Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott made clear that people who observe cheating should report it. (more…)
August 2, 2011
For at least the sixth straight year, principals rated more teachers as unsatisfactory.
Last year, 2,118 teachers received unsatisfactory ratings, setting them along a path that could lead to termination. That number, making up 2.7 percent of all teachers, was 16 percent higher than in 2010 and more than twice the number of U-ratings handed out five years ago. In the 2005-2006 school year, just 981 teachers received unsatisfactory ratings.
About 80 percent of the teachers who received unsatisfactory ratings were tenured, according to Department of Education data. And about a quarter — 511 — received the scarlet rating last year as well.
The numbers suggest that principals are responding to the city’s sustained push to usher more weak teachers out of the system, and the city says 86 of the U-rated teachers have already resigned, including 41 who were denied tenure. But they hardly reflect a sea change in the way that principals rate teachers.
For that, the city is counting on a new teacher evaluation system that will do away with the binary satisfactory/unsatisfactory rating choice altogether. State law now requires districts to enact evaluation systems that use student test scores as a component and sort teachers into four categories from “highly effective” down to “ineffective.” (more…)
August 1, 2011
Two teachers say their experiences facing harassment after engaging in union activity are the surest sign that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is wrong about the need for tenure.
On Friday, Bloomberg said during his weekly radio appearance that tenure is a vestige of an earlier time, the McCarthy Era, when teachers and others were persecuted for their political views. In the Community section today, Peter Lamphere and Rachel Montagano argue that teachers can still face unofficial sanctions for their politics or identities, making tenure just as vital now as it was in the 1950s.
In February, Lamphere wrote in the Community section about his experience receiving unsatisfactory reviews for the first time after lobbying against an administrator at the Bronx High School for Science. Montagano is currently embroiled in a battle of her own to keep her job at MS 216 in Queens, where she faces incompetence charges leveled for the first time after she stepped up her union leadership.
As two New York City teachers who have both been targeted with unsatisfactory ratings because of our union activity, we know from firsthand experience that tenure is one of the few protections for whistleblowers and teacher advocates. (more…)
July 29, 2011
Far from living up to its promise, the city’s tenure reform in fact amounts to a quota system for teacher evaluations, UFT President Michael Mulgrew said today.
Mulgrew was responding to comments made by Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott during Bloomberg’s weekly radio address this morning. They said they expect the number of tenure denials to rise next year.
Mulgrew questioned how they could predict more denials when evaluations for teachers up for tenure next year have not yet happened. He said that Bloomberg’s comments signal that the city has set up a quota system for teacher evaluations rather than using them as a tool to help educators improve.
“If it’s more about setting up a set of numbers for political reasons … then what they’re doing is wrong,” Mulgrew said. “If they’re already predetermining they’re setting this up with quotas, that’s absurd.”
The number of teachers who receive poor ratings could change when an evaluation system mandated under state law goes into effect. That is supposed to happen in September, but first the union and the city must agree on the system’s terms.
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…)
July 27, 2011
All indications suggest that the city is pleased with the results of its concerted effort to make tenure more difficult to receive.
Mayor Bloomberg is announcing details about how many teachers received — or didn’t receive — tenure this year during a midday press conference today at Tweed Courthouse, the Department of Education’s headquarters. In the past, the city has released tenure details by email. The fanfare comes on top of reports from teachers and principals that tenure was awarded far less readily last year after Bloomberg vowed to make the protection tougher to receive.
For many years, receiving tenure has been an almost automatic step that happens at the end of a teacher’s third year in the system. But as part of a sweeping bid to toughen teacher evaluations, the city unveiled a new tenure evaluation rubric last year. The rubric separates teachers into four categories and the city told principals to recommend tenure only for those falling into the top two.
At the end of the year, principals said the new evaluations had made it difficult for them to recommend tenure for some teachers they felt deserved it, particularly if a teacher’s value-added Teacher Data Report, based on student test scores, said he was below average. (more…)