There are 1,200 unwanted teachers in the NYC Absent Teacher Reserve, costing more than $100 million annually.
According to a New York Daily News editorial, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña are looking for ways to decrease the number of teachers in the reserve:
Mayor de Blasio seemed to indicate he would like to return many of the teachers to the classroom, saying, “if there were such a plan, it’s something I would approve.” Later, his press office said “the notion that we are going to force teachers on principals or schools is unequivocally false.”
The mayor must hold firm on that point. Otherwise, he would dump teachers of poor quality on unlucky students and schools , undermine the authority of principals to build their own staffs and give UFT President Michael Mulgrew an unwise and underserved benefit.
On Thursday, NYC Councilwoman Maria Carmen del Arroyo led a rally outside of the Girls Prep Bronx Charter School, vowing to fight for its stay.
According to a New York Post article:
Bronx lawmakers threatened to mount an all-out war Thursday if Mayor de Blasio tries to block the expansion of a high-performing all-girls charter school in their borough.
“The mayor of the city of New York has to understand that the state Assembly and the Senate have the power to eliminate the charter of the city and make another city,” Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo said at a rally outside the Girls Prep Bronx Charter School.
“We have the power. Therefore, he has to work for us,” she added.
Girls Prep, with 372 students in K-5, shares space with MS 302. It is looking to add grades 6-8 at nearby MS 301.
Teachers and parents have expressed several complaints regarding the implementation of the Common Core standards. Fighting the Common Core will slow down the advancement of our education system.
According to a Newsday editorial, these complaints are causing a moratorium of the Common Core standards:
State Education Department Commissioner John B. King Jr. is standing firm on implementation of new academic standards. But the allies who helped him adopt the new curriculum, testing and teacher evaluations law -- members of the state Board of Regents and leaders in the State Senate and Assembly -- are now defecting as they confront a grassroots revolt.
Their fear has them saying implementation must be slowed or postponed. In fact, most of these changes can't be slowed or postponed. The only alternative would be outright reversal. And none of the critics have provided a good plan to teach and test the students, and evalute the teachers, if the Common Core policies are reversed.
The editorial goes on to argue that the Common Core is the first step towards improving the education system and should not be slowed down:
After 11/2 school years with Common Core, there is, in most cases, no reason to go back or slow down. Giving the tests but not evaluating teachers on them would be a step in the wrong direction, and a violation of what the state promised the federal government it would do in return for $700 million in grant money.
Even worse, slowing or halting Common Core and standards-based evaluations would slow the movement toward the education system our kids need. That's the goal, even if it isn't the most popular topic in this fight.
The Common Core standards have been strongly opposed by teachers and some parents, causing legislators to support halting them for two years. This action will slow down education reform that is already long overdue.
According to an editorial piece in The Buffalo News, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has called for a two-year delay on the Common Core standards. While implementation of the standards has been complex, halting them will prevent necessary education reform and students will continue to be unprepared for college:
The Common Core was designed to fix education. It is not a perfect system, but it’s the system currently being used to strengthen education in the state. If the need weren’t so urgent, it would be fine to take a few years to decide how to proceed, and then a few more years gradually rolling out new standards. However, the need is urgent and it would be wrong to sentence children to two more years of substandard education. Instead of starting over, we should be working to improve it where possible.
Parents Transparency Project founder Campbell Brown and NY Daily News reporter Corinne Lestch discuss issues with the Absent Teacher Reserve in New York City.
The Absent Teacher Reserve currently holds 1,186 teachers who have lost their daily teaching positions.
According to a video on My Fox NY, Brown states that many teachers have been in the reserve for up to five years despite there being multiple job opportunities for them. Brown argues that there should be a time limit for how long teachers stay in the reserve.
New York City is considering a plan to send 1,200 former teachers back into the classroom on a full-time basis. About half of these teachers were removed for wrongdoing or received "unsatisfactory" ratings - the other half worked in closed that eventually closed or taught a subject no longer offered in the classroom:
City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña has had internal discussions with her staff about placing most of the 1,200 educators in full-time teaching jobs even though about half have disciplinary histories or unsatisfactory ratings, sources said.
The move would be a sharp reversal of a policy instituted under Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2005 to have the teachers rotate as subs instead of foisting them on principals who didn't want them.
According to the New York Daily News, reassigning these teachers will save the city millions of dollars:
But moving the teachers back into classrooms would save the city an estimated $100 million a year — money that could be allocated elsewhere.
In New York City and many other cities, there is a political divide in the public school system. While many liberals support traditional neighborhood schools, conservatives seem to support the charter school movement.
According to New York Magazine, one reason for the political divide is the enforcement of teacher accountability in charter schools:
Moderate liberals and conservatives want to expand and empower the public schools that admit everybody by random lottery. The lefties want to preserve geographic-based restrictions.
A major reason for this is obviously that charter schools are more aggressive about creating accountability standards to promote good teachers and coach up or replace bad ones. This puts them at a crossways with teachers' unions and their allies, which defend paying teachers by seniority and subjecting them to minimal performance accountability.
In response to reports stating that New York City was considering a plan to rehire 1,200 former teachers, Mayor Bill de Blasio clarified that principals will not be forced to hire these teachers.
According to a prior New York Daily News story, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña has discussed putting the 1,200 teachers, some of whom have prior disciplinary issues, back to the classroom. Mayor de Blasio said the unassigned teachers are an issue that must be addressed, but there is not yet a plan for dealing with them.
The New York Daily News reports:
Fariña's staff is still working on an implementation plan to address the problem, a source told The News on Thursday.
But de Blasio's spokeswoman said it was "ridiculous" to suggest that Fariña would ever twist principals' arms.
New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña defended the Common Core curriculum in a meeting with a group of PTA presidents earlier this week. The curriculum, she argued, was solid - instead, the implementation of the curriculum had been the major problem:
"Testing itself is not the issue," she said, when asked about the controversy over increased standardized testing. "I do think Common Core is the way to go. ... It hasn't been implemented well."
According to Capital New York, Fariña wants to create a team that will help struggling school principals get their schools up to speed with the new Common Core curriculum.
Fariña also said she wants to reduce reliance on testing, which features more prominently in the Common Core curriculum over the old status quo:
Fariña did tell the crowd she was looking for ways to reduce reliance on testing to determine grade promotion. She said she had already assembled a group internally at Tweed to discuss the issue.
Tyniera Hogan, a public school parent of two, discusses how the Common Core standards will help her children succeed in college.
In her opinion piece for Times Union, Hogan shares that she was failed as a student by the New York City public school system:
In the 10th grade, I transferred from Martin Van Buren High School, a New York City public school, to Half Hollow Hills High School in Dix Hills in Suffolk County. What I was learning in one school was completely different than the other. I was overwhelmed and I eventually dropped out that same year. I went to an alternative school and graduated with a GED.
I enrolled at Katharine Gibbs College, but I wasn't prepared for college-level courses. I was forced to take a remedial math class, so I essentially had to pay to re-take a high school-level class.
Hogan goes on to discuss why the Common Core is necessary in preparing her children for college:
Not going to college is not an option in my house, so I want to know whether my kids are actually ready for college. That's what the Common Core will do — provide a clear set of standards so I can know whether or not my kids are making the grade.
With the Common Core standards, there's hope they can get on track. I understand that it's difficult for parents to hear that their child is not on track. I would rather know now, when I can do something about it, than to have it be too late. I don't want them to follow along the same path I did. I want them to get high school and college diplomas.