Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Schools Brace for Teacher Cuts

Martinez's article yesterday put a human face on the insane system of laying off teachers solely by seniority, focusing on one outstanding young teacher who will (of course) be the first laid off in her school:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to cut more than 6,400 teachers and bump up the size of classes has principals and parents in the hardest-hit districts worried that tough-fought gains will be erased.

Even though every school will lose positions, some schools—especially in the Bronx—will see more faculty turnover because they have a higher percentage of low-seniority teachers. Some of their slots will be filled by teachers with more experience.

…In a memo to principals yesterday, New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein complained that the seniority requirement "fails to consider school needs as well as differences in teacher effectiveness." He suggested laying off the 1,600 teachers who received "unsatisfactory" ratings last year first, something not allowed under current contract rules.

…Jessica Stillman, 24, a third-grade teacher at the school, recalls a young boy who started off the year throwing chairs and storming out of her classroom.

To gain his trust, and help him avoid the home life that contained "things that an 8-year-old should never be exposed to," she asked him to stay after school to be her helper.

To get him to practice writing, she pretended she needed his help to write notes to other teachers. At times, she would catch glimpses of a troubled home life. A conversation about favorite snacks revealed that he sometimes had only a bag of Cheetos for dinner.

Early in the school year, 28% of Ms. Stillman's students scored proficient in English on a New York City diagnostic test. In March, 77% did.

Ms. Stillman will be the first teacher to be laid off at P.S. 277


Schools Brace for Teacher Cuts

Bronx Will See Most Turnover as Principals, Parents Fear Gains Will Be Reversed



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