Per this post a commenter asks what I think of this whole debate about the excess teacher issue in New York City. I thought earlier posts made that clear, but if not then several things:
*On the data The New Teacher Project does seem to have much the best of it. I am pretty sure that this age-discrimination suit the UFT has filed will fail and nothing has emerged that challenges either their core findings or the core issue here, at what point will we stop paying people who cannot find jobs?*
On the politics of it all, it looks like neither UFT head Randi Weingarten nor city officials really want a big fight about this right now so I suspect it will carryover to the next round of contract negotiations and a lot of variables about what that looks like. But I don’t think this is a public fight the UFT wants or can win against an administration that actually wants to run an efficient school system and decides to push the issue when the contract is renegotiated. Even if this were only an $18 million problem, that’s $18 million that could be used to pay teachers more, give more sabbaticals, or offer more training. As soon as more attention is paid to all that, the game is up.
A common complaint from activists in New York City is that because TNTP does business with the city they are tainted and can’t be trusted. But, while that seems obvious, it’s actually not how this works in practice. TNTP does business with a lot of cities and also puts out reports that officials in a lot of cities hate and grumble mightily about. Their report on how lousy urban HR departments are, for instance, was a big hit with that crowd…How they survive is their brand and reputation for solid work. As soon as that is gone, they are done and they know that and behave accordingly. By going in the tank their value would go down, not up, and they can’t afford that.
Besides, one of the things that TNTP does for the city is provide support for teachers in the excess pool and help them try to find jobs. So, even accepting the idea that they cook the books to support themselves, then they wouldn’t be putting out ideas for how to shrink their client base would they?