With the school year officially over and all the data been collected, school performance has dropped. NY state has seen a drop in not only performance rate, but graduation rates as well. NY has had declining scores for the past decade yet standards have slowly declined to offset these declining scores. Yet with all these measures for teacher performance and teacher restructuring, school performance has still slowly declined.
Mayor Bloomberg’s announcement that nearly 2,200 early career teachers were denied tenure this year is good news for city children. It means that when they arrive in class in September, it is more likely than in the past that at the front of the room will be a competent, capable instructor.
It’s been a long time coming.
Practically from time immemorial, tenure has been treated as a God-given right to any teacher able to stick it out for three years on the job. As recently as 2006-07, 97% magically “earned” it.
And once the teacher slid into that exalted status, there was practically nothing he or she could do to get fired – virtually everyone got rated “satisfactory,” and the few who didn’t hung on through a disciplinary process that took years.
Bloomberg vowed to change all that last year, forcing principals to openly evaluate young faculty members and attest that each was worthy of the honor, even as the city and state were working on building new, robust, performance-based assessments for the teaching corps at large.
The result: This year, of more than 5,200 teachers up for tenure in the city, just 58% got it.
Fully 39% had the decision put off for a year. They’re on notice from their supervisors to perform better next year, when the same – or tougher – standards will apply.
And 3% of the total pool had tenure outright denied – a worthwhile signal that is sure to ripple throughout the schools.
None of this is happening at principals’ whims. Under the new process, they must rate teachers on a four-point scale in three areas: teacher practice, student learning and contribution to the school. They are to use classroom observations, student work, state exams, attendance and feedback from students and parents. To get tenure, teachers must rank in one of the top two categories in all three areas for at least two years.
In other words, pass the extended pass-fail tryout that is their first few years on the job.
Which encourages principals to share in the responsibility – another very healthy side effect.
Congratulations to those who sailed through, many of whom are already doing outstanding, deeply rewarding work. To those who didn’t, let this be a lesson learned:
The school system – and the taxpayers and parents who make it go – do not owe you a job with lifetime security and benefits.
Those are to be earned – not just in your first three years, but throughout your career.
Taken from NY Daily News