Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Giving cover to cowardly pols

Even among the most committed ed reformers, there is plenty of room for spirited debate, for sure privately and even publicly, as this op ed by DFER's Joe Williams shows:


With thousands of teacher layoffs coming this summer, we'd expect the state's two top education officials to make sure the losses have the least impact possible on the classroom.

After all, Education Commissioner David Steiner and Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch are the same two people who just last year courageously championed higher learning standards and improved teacher accountability to help New York win $700 million in Race to the Top dollars.

What a difference a year seems to have made.


In the last week, both have been asked to weigh in on proposed changes to the "Last in, first out" seniority law -- a law that will require New York City to lay off thousands of new teachers this year, with no regard to their effectiveness in the classroom.


Their answer: A new teacher-evaluation system they're developing will obviate the need for LIFO reform, they claim. Before state lawmakers, Steiner went as far as to call the issue "moot."


Tisch and Steiner are either misinformed or they're trying to punt on an issue that the powerful teachers union wants to go away. Either way, they're doing New York's schoolkids and talented teaching corps a terrible disservice.


Giving cover to cowardly pols



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