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Arbitrator blocks Bloomberg's "turnaround" plan to close 24 NYC schools, re-hire half the staff.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-30-12 03:55 PM
Original message
Arbitrator blocks Bloomberg's "turnaround" plan to close 24 NYC schools, re-hire half the staff.
Edited on Sat Jun-30-12 03:56 PM by madfloridian
In other words the arbitrator blocked the "turnaround" of these schools. Turnaround is one of the models that allow districts to receive Race to the Top money. Race to the Top is the policy of the Obama administration.

So correct me if I am wrong. Sounds to me like an arbitrator just blocked part of the policy of the Department of Education. The state was following the turnaround model to get money from the federal Race to the Top fund. Will it matter? Will anyone in authority pay attention? Or is the policy already set in concrete whether right or wrong.

From the WSJ blogs:

School Closings Blocked by Arbitrator

An arbitrator has blocked New York Mayor Michael Bloombergs plan to close 24 low-performing public schools and reopen them with half of their original staff.

The ruling issued Friday was a big blow to the mayor, who announced the school closings in his State of the City speech in January after a dispute with the teachers union over new teacher evaluations. He had been trying take advantage of a federal program that pays for efforts to improve schools.

..The city claimed it had the authority in its contract with the teachers and principals unions to close the schools and only re-hire half the staff, sending the remaining teachers into a pool of substitutes that rotates throughout the school system.

The city will appeal to the Supreme Court. The program Bloomberg was trying to take advantage of was Arne Duncan's Race to the Top.

Trouble is the firing and rehiring is already well underway, so the ruling may be small comfort to teachers there after all.

The city is well into the process of restaffing the 24 schools. Earlier this month, it gave notice to more than 3,600 people teachers and administrators that they had to re-apply for their jobs if they want a permanent position on staff.

Here is more on the process of receiving Race to the Top funds, from the NY state education website.

Attachment B USDOE Description of Four Turnaround Models

Districts that have schools that have been identified as persistently lowest achieving will be required to select one of the four models and submit an intervention plan to the Commissioner for approval. These same models must also be used by districts in the event that New York receives Race to the Top funding. These models all include elements of intervention strategies that have already been implemented in New York State. Below are the models as described in the Race to the Top application:

(a) Turnaround model. (1) A turnaround model is one in which an LEA must--
(i) Replace the principal and grant the principal sufficient operational flexibility (including in staffing, calendars/time, and budgeting) to implement fully a comprehensive approach in order to substantially improve student achievement outcomes and increase high school graduation rates;
(ii) Use locally adopted competencies to measure the effectiveness of staff who can work within the turnaround environment to meet the needs of students,
(A) Screen all existing staff and rehire no more than 50 percent; and
(B) Select new staff;

Sounds like an arbitrary cut off number, 50%. It certainly has nothing to do with good or bad teachers. It only has to do with power.

Has it gone so far now down the reform road that it doesn't matter what courts or arbitrators say about any of it?

Pay no attention to my rant, just another of my "one-note" postings. One would think it would raise alarm that one of the main tenets of this administration's education "reform" was called so much into question. I wonder if it does raise any alarms at all.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-30-12 11:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. Here's more about the atmosphere of suspicion and fear caused by turnaround policy.
I never thought in my wildest dreams that our own party would be doing this to experienced teachers. It is a hostile environment. Could someone tell me if they will care more about such disruptive reforms after the election? Will people feel freer to speak? Or not?

Hubby and I are planning to vote for Obama as president. I don't know what else we could do and not harm the country. But there's a hardness in my heart this time. I think our nation has turned into one that disrespects education and also looks down on teachers. I think Reagan started it. I think it is coming to fruition now.

From Gotham Schools blog:

Job interviewsand protestscontinue at turnaround schools

Each committee asks each teacher five to 7 questions, according to teachers at several turnaround schools. Questions range from, How do you differentiate instruction for special education students or English Language Learners, to, How have you implemented the Common Core in class? Kearns said. Ann Looser, the chapter leader at Lehman, said she has been preparing for the worst.

Im giving out my email a lot more, and getting way more requests for references. The kids keep asking us, are you going to be here? Im looking at other jobs right now, she said, shrugging. Everythings getting phased out, phased in, or co-located.

Martin Haber, a teacher from Dewey, told me he decided he would not interview for his position after he received a letter from the schools new principal, Kathleen Elvin, saying he would likely receive an unsatisfactory rating this year because he had too many absences. Deweys longtime principal, Barry Fried, was ousted mid-year.

I know Im going to be out of there, because of my age and because of my salary, he told the assembled protesters. Its a disgusting, demoralizing process.

Parents are learning that good established teachers are arbitrarily laid off. Being a good teacher is not what it is about. It's about cheaper teachers. It's about teachers who are more compliant and who don't speak out much.

Here is a comment from a very angry parent.

As a parent I am outraged by this whole process. My daughter will be entering her senior year at a "turn-around" school and no information has been disseminated to the students or parent as to their future. Good teachers are being sacrificed along with those students who are reaching the end of their high school education. And the worst part is my questions are being evaded by the Administration at her school. Who thought up this absurd program? Has any school succeeded?

I say to that parent that this is the policy of our Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. It's wrong, and it's dangerous.

Another very astute observation in the comments:

Actual requirements for turnaround school teaching positions: Young; untenured; familiar enough with current buzzwords to get by; willing to work ten or eleven hours a day; willing to work weekends and several weeks during the summer; willing to be a parent to students to make sure they attend school, arrive on time, and behave properly.

Older teachers, those with families, and teachers with other responsibilities need not apply.

We heard from someone in the Florida Democratic party for the very first time today. The woman asked my husband if we wanted to work locally for the campaign of Obama. There was no mention of Bill Nelson. My husband said we would vote for Obama, but that his wife was extremely angry about the dismantling of public education.

Her answer was that Obama's education policy was the best ever.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-30-12 11:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Careers boiling down to 5 to 7 questions asked by a committee.
What about years of evaluations and success in the classroom? But then as I say it is all about power.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-01-12 10:30 AM
Response to Original message
3. If they could offshore teaching, they would. Firefighting and law enforcement, too.
However, they can't, so they do what, in their disgusting minds is the next best thing. They privatize them.

And, by "they" I mean politicians of both parties, or, in Bloomberg's case, all parties.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-02-12 08:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Outshoring will be next. Will happen soon.
I'm so angry at how fast it is all happening.
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Me. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-01-12 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
4. Hallelujah
I can't wait for Bloomberg's stolen term to be over though I wonder if he's going to try and steal another one
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-02-12 03:39 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Now, now. It's not stealing if you pay for it.
How many terms will he have? Maybe as many as he wants.
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