Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Teacher Swap Quashed

One of the best ed reporters in the country, Barbara Martinez, has left the WSJ.  Here's what I wrote about her in May 2010 (http://edreform.blogspot.com/2010/05/barbara-martinez.html):


There are a handful of education writers who I follow closely, with Jay Mathews and Andy Rotherham at the top of list, but there's a new one you should be aware of: Barbara Martinez of the Wall St. Journal, who is part of the team for the WSJ's New York City section that debuted on April 26th (see: http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/04/the_journal_new_york_newsroom.html). 


You might think a reporter who's never covered the education beat (most of her very successful career was spent covering healthcare; see her bio at: www.anderson.ucla.edu/x30713.xml) wouldn't have much to add, but she really understands this issue deeply, in part because of her personal experience.  She was born and raised in Newark (her father was an auto mechanic) and she attended public schools until they became so dangerous that she had to attend Catholic school for high school, so she's spent many years in the belly of the beast and understands DEEPLY the horrific situation in most of our inner-city public schools.


She's already doing original research – for example, she dropped the bombshell on April 28th, Teacher Absences Plague Schools (http://edreform.blogspot.com/2010/04/teacher-absences-plague-schools.html), which revealed that 20% of NYC teachers missed more than two weeks of school last year – and 3.2% missed more than SIX weeks!


Here's her last article – yet another insightful one that reveals important information (in this case, about how "passing the trash/dance of the lemons/the turkey trot" really works).  This is the kind of crap that goes on ALL the time, whereby schools take money to "reform" themselves – but really do nothing of the sort:

When Newark's public school system accepted $5 million from the federal government last year to turn around the poorly performing Malcolm X. Shabazz High School, it agreed to replace at least half of the school's teachers, under the belief that principals could then hire better ones.

Instead, Shabazz swapped teachers with two other failing schools.

Some 68 teachers were shuffled among Shabazz, Central High School and Barringer High School, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

Shabazz, which had 90 teachers, sent 21 of them to Barringer. And Barringer sent 21 of its teachers to Shabazz, according to teacher transfer records obtained through an open records request.

"Federal money may have unintentionally funded the infamous 'dance of the lemons' that has been a harmful practice in districts for decades," said Tim Daly, president of the New Teacher Project, a nonprofit group that helps school districts recruit teachers.

"If these teachers truly were not good enough for one struggling school, we have to ask whether it is a good idea to put them in another one," he said.


Teacher Swap Quashed

Failing Schools in New Jersey Are Told to Stop Practice of Sharing Instructors


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