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Teaching Profession Opinion

Joel Klein Blames Idle Teachers for $4 Gas, Subprime Crisis

By Eduwonkette — May 07, 2008 2 min read

Forget Secretary of Education - this guy should be running the Fed. This morning, the Daily News reported that “Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said the teachers union - and policies that keep instructors from their classrooms - bear some of the blame for next school year’s budget cuts.”

You’ve got to give the man props for having the cojones to craft a budgeting rule that creates disincentives to hire teachers from closing schools on Monday, spend $80 million on a data warehousing system that doesn’t work on Tuesday, hire a legion of PR and executive staff at McKinsey prices on Wednesday, pay for British quality review evaluators to fly across the pond on Thursday, and on Friday, blame the freaking teachers union for his lack of fiscal discipline and America’s economic downturn. Those are epic cojones, really.

So if we could get back to the real issues - I’d like to know the answers to these questions:

1) What percentage of ATRs are carrying full loads but haven’t been formally hired? Now that the UFT has established that many ATRs are serving as regular teachers, a third party needs to formally study this question. I do wonder why these data weren’t collected and analyzed as part of the original report.

2) How do budgeting rules affect experienced teachers’ odds of being hired? Yesterday, Daly clarified that some excessed teachers are on local budgets (34% of the 2006), but there are good reasons to believe that it’s the younger teachers who are on local budgets. As I understand it, here’s the budgeting rule: If the teacher comes from a closing school, the ATR goes on central payroll. If a school is simply deciding that it wants to close down one of its programs, or its student enrollment goes through the ordinary dips, the ATR remains on the school’s budget.

In a comment, Daly reported that senior ATRs are more likely to come from closing schools - it follows, then, that experienced teachers are more likely to be on the central budget. If experienced teachers are more likely to be centrally financed, this may explain, in part, why they are more likely to remain in the ATR pool.

If, as TNTP report said, we need a solution “that recognizes the value, commitment and service of New York City’s teachers,” we first need to understand why experienced teachers are more likely to remain in the ATR pool. More hard numbers on these issues would be a good start.

Image credit: Gotham Gazette

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