Posts tagged "tenure"
July 19, 2011
Sometimes the simplest explanation might well be the most accurate.
That’s the conclusion that Ruben Brosbe, GothamSchools’ longtime Community section contributor, drew after finding out whether he would be given tenure last year.
Brosbe was at the front edge of a trend last year when he had his probationary period extended. This year, he joined a large number of new teachers when his probation was extended again. But while some teachers who did not receive tenure said they could see no justification, Brosbe concludes that he didn’t get tenure because he hadn’t yet earned it.
In the Community section today, Brosbe writes:
For a while I looked for something to blame it on, other than myself. I hadn’t taken criticism well in a meeting late the previous year. Had I poisoned my relationship with my principal? Was something written on my blog misconstrued as critical or unprofessional? Was I still red-flagged by the DOE? I thought and I thought, until I came to an important realization: I wasn’t ready for tenure.
While I know I made significant improvement in certain areas of my practice, and took some exciting risks this year as a teacher, I knew that I still had room to grow.
July 7, 2011
Under pressure from the Bloomberg administration to make tenure tougher to receive, principals and superintendents are withholding job protections from some young teachers.
Instead of simply granting or denying tenure at the end of a teacher’s third year, they are extending the probationary period for some teachers by another year.
In 2006, just 30 teachers had their probation extended. As the city has moved to toughen all teacher evaluations, that number has risen steadily, to 465 last year. Reports from teachers and principals suggest the trend is likely to continue when official numbers about the past year’s tenure decisions is released in the near future.
The reports suggest that many superintendents, who make final tenure decisions based on principals’ recommendations, are responding to a directive that teachers who score low on a new rubric not get tenure. The city urged that teachers who scored in the “ineffective” range be denied tenure and teachers who fell in the “developing” range have their probations extended.
A low score on the city’s Teacher Data Report was particularly influential, even if other information, such as classroom observations, contradicted it, principals said. The reports, which only some teachers receive, use value-added formulas to estimate teachers’ effectiveness at increasing students’ test scores, and teachers with low scores are “red-flagged” in the city’s tenure system.
Of the nine teachers Principal Joe Lisa had up for tenure this year at IS 61 in Queens, six taught in subjects without data reports and received tenure. Three math teachers had their probationary periods extended. One in particular seemed to be a shoo-in, Lisa said. But his superintendent rejected the idea of giving her tenure this year. (more…)
April 12, 2011
As schools enter the peak season for teacher tenure decisions, teachers who are up for tenure are reporting increased scrutiny from principals and superintendents.
A teacher contacted GothamSchools last week to report that her principal had surprised teachers up for tenure at her school with a request for a portfolio.
“The superintendent just informed my principal that each person up for tenure had to have an extensive portfolio demonstrating all the work they do that benefits the school,” said the teacher, who herself is up for tenure this year.
“There’s been stress, to say the least,” she said.
The portfolios are one of several ways district superintendents are soliciting evidence to back up their tenure decisions. The superintendents have always had the final say on tenure decisions, but they rarely challenged principals’ recommendations in the past. Now they’re under pressure to toughen the tenure process and deny tenure or extend probation more often. So they’re asking principals to justify all of the recommendations they make. Superintendents can ask for whatever documentation they like, including portfolios. Some superintendents are also observing classes themselves or sitting down with principals to analyze teachers’ performance.
“Superintendents have been told that nothing is a given,” said a high school principal. (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…)
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 29, 2010
Principals gave unsatisfactory ratings to 1,813 teachers, 17 percent more than in 2009, according to data the city released today. They also denied tenure to 234 teachers this year, 80 percent more than last year. And principals nearly doubled the number of teachers given an extra year before their final tenure decision is made.
In total, 11 percent of the 6,386 teachers up for tenure this year were denied or delayed, compared to 6.6 percent last year. It’s an even more dramatic jump from 2006, when tenure was denied or delayed less than 1 percent of the time.
By far, the leading cause principals cited for giving a U-rating was quality of instruction and student care. Attendance problems were the second-leading cause of low ratings, followed closely by the nebulous “personal and professional qualities.”
Still, the vast majority of teachers were rated satisfactory and received tenure after three years in the classroom. (more…)
February 26, 2010
Reports ranking teachers on how much they were able to increase students’ test scores from one year to the next arrived in principal’s inboxes this week, and this time Department of Education officials say the reports are simpler and fairer than in years past.
First released in 2008, teacher data reports have rankled teachers who object to being judged solely on test scores and confused principals, some of whom found the reports too complicated to use. The reports released this week cover 12,000 teachers and address some of those concerns. They contain less information, are easier to read, and use a new formula to calculate teachers’ value-added scores.
This year, Chancellor Joel Klein has made it clear what should be done with the data: one in ten teachers who are up for tenure will have their reports used as a criteria in their tenure evaluations.
On Tuesday morning, principals with students in grades 3-8 — the state gives yearly math and English tests to these students — were given school summary reports. Teachers won’t receive their individual data reports until next week. The vast majority work in traditional public schools, as less than a dozen charter schools chose to participate, according to the Department of Education’s chief talent officer, Amy McIntosh. (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.”
July 20, 2009
City principals rated more teachers unsatisfactory this year than they have since at least 2005, suggesting that the Bloomberg administration’s efforts to escort more struggling teachers out of the system may be bearing some fruit.
Principals gave the scarlet-letter rating to 1,554 teachers this year, up from 981 in the 2005-2006 school year, data provided by the city Department of Education show. Both the number and percentage of teachers rated unsatisfactory rose during that period, and the rise occurred for both tenured and non-tenured teachers, city figures show.
Even with the rise, the percentage of teachers rated unsatisfactory remains low. About 2% of teachers, both tenured and without tenure, received what teachers call “U” ratings this year.
Ann Forte, a schools spokeswoman, sent us the figures this afternoon.
The rise follows a concerted effort by school officials to make it easier for principals to terminate poorly performing teachers, including a new group of lawyers assigned to targeting struggling teachers, called the Teacher Performance Unit. Rating a teacher unsatisfactory is often the first step toward removing him from the school system. (more…)
June 1, 2009
A new report is urging school districts across the country to beef up their methods of evaluating teachers, which the report describes as so slipshod as to be “largely meaningless.” The report, by a nonprofit group that has clashed with teachers unions in the past, describes the poor evaluations as “just one symptom of a larger, more fundamental crisis—the inability of our schools to assess instructional performance accurately or to act on this information in meaningful ways.”
The report goes on:
This inability not only keeps schools from dismissing consistently poor performers, but also prevents them from recognizing excellence among top-performers or supporting growth among the broad plurality of hardworking teachers who operate in the middle of the performance spectrum. Instead, school districts default to treating all teachers as essentially the same, both in terms of effectiveness and need for development.
The report, conducted by The New Teacher Project, a nonprofit founded by the lightning-rod D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, calls on districts to develop more robust teacher evaluation systems that reward successful teachers and easily identify less successful teachers.
The report comes amid a growing push to improve teaching quality across the country. President Obama has said that teachers who are not helping students learn should be removed from classrooms, and even the national American Federation of Teachers union is working internally to build a new method of evaluating teacher quality.
The report bases its findings on surveys of thousands of teachers and administrators across four states and 12 school districts, plus a scouring of the districts’ evaluation records. New York City was not one of the districts studied. (more…)