Excess Of NYC

This Daily News editorial pretty much gives the flavor of where things are today on the teacher debate in Gotham. But, rumors are flying about some sort of UFT data doomsday weapon that will undo the TNTP analysis. Readers anxiously await!

Incidentally, why does this issue matter? Because given the trajectory of contract/policy reform this will become an issue in other places, too, albeit on a smaller scale of course.

Also, Eduwonkette, who is quite close to all this so pay attention, raises two issues here that bear mentioning. First, she points out that many of the teachers in the excess pool have never had an unsatisfactory evaluation and puts the data in raw numbers rather than ratios and percents. That’s true but not an especially powerful point because most teachers don’t, even in the lowest-performing school. This TNTP report on Chicago (pdf) offers one look at that and by all accounts NYC is not materially different. Second, she raises the age-discrimination issue. At the top level it’s a real one but there are relatively straightforward mechanisms, even in a weighted-student-funding system, to guard against that. My prediction is that the UFT suit on that will be unsuccessful and instead that a deal can be struck there anyway. Interestingly, however, despite these few qualms Eduwonkette fails to rise to the defense of the UFT on this one…the doomsday weapon could be the last hope!

She also mentions (or says that “we might expect”) that young principals prefer to supervise young teachers. I’d be very interested in seeing some actual data or evidence on that. Generally, when you talk to them, what good principals say they want is, not surprisingly, good teachers. Because of hiring rules in a lot of places you often see a trend where a principal prefers to take their chances on a new hire rather than someone from the excess pool just as a matter of probability, and while that might look like an age bias in the data it’s not the same thing. Some evidence that disentangled those things to see if there truly is an age preference would be very interesting.

2 Replies to “Excess Of NYC”

  1. Tell Eduwonkette to look more closely at the data. Teacher age adn length off experience are negatively correlated with student achievement. There’s a reason younger principls want younger teachers. And it’s not age discrimination.

  2. I disagree.

    Instead of looking at aggregate data showing older teachers to be less effective, go to any district in Westchester County and observe the 28-year old teachers who’ve replaced all of our experienced teachers. (You’ll have to observe them walking to their cars in the parking lot since no one over the age of 17 gets inside a classroom.)

    Ed schools stopped teaching direct instruction sometime in the 1980s (see Slavin’s textbook on this). New teachers have learned only constructivism; they haven’t even been taught basic classroom management skills.

    No one over 30 gets a job in Westchester these days unless there’s absolutely no one else to hire. I personally know of two superb middle-aged teachers, both with stellar recommendations from principals, colleagues, and students who were denied work in my own district in favor of new teachers with poor skills.

    One was told that in order to work in our $22,000 per pupil funded school district he would have to take a pay cut to a 5th year salary. He is now retired from the public school system & teaching in a private school.

    The other was a high school math & physics teacher our district refused even to interview.

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