Monday, August 14, 2006

The Bottom Line on Teacher Retention

I keep reading about teacher retention. The AFT magazine is veritably obsessed with it, and some fellow bloggers wonder what we can do about it. I look at the problem, which admittedly is serious, and I look at the actions of the DoE and the UFT, and there's really only one conclusion to be reached--the powers that be are fine with it.

Imagine you're just coming off a thirty-year teacher shortage. For all that time, the city gleefully lowered standards as low as it could to fill as many chairs as possible. Chancellor Klein, despite much talk otherwise, did the same. Do you find it a logical conclusion the heart of the problem is high pay and work that's too easy?

Well, Chancellor Klein and UFT President Randi Weingarten clearly seem to have backed that conclusion. Otherwise, how could they have endorsed the last contract, which complicated the job, while failing even to keep up with inflation?

In the past, for example, teachers could transfer from one school to another. In the past, teachers could get other jobs if they lost the ones they had. Now, they have to be approved by Klein's army of Jack Welch-principals. Sure, that way principals can veto bad teachers. There's no denying they can also veto a whole lot of other teachers as well.

In all liklehood, they'll weed out teachers who've got a bunch of years under their belts, who inconveniently receive those higher salaries that, apparently, are a great obstacle to kids learning. Now they can be sent out as wandering subs indefinitely (or more likely, till the next contract, when they'll all be let go, with the blessings of Unity hacks everywhere).

Teacher retention? Every teacher who leaves in two years, or five years, gets no pension. Every teacher who leaves in two years, or five years, gets no benefits. Teachers who leave early are an integral part of the system, contributing mightily to both stadiums and charter schools for needy billionaires.

That's why Klein's incentives get people in, but don't bother to keep them there.

How could the entrenched, self-serving and impotent Unity party continue to get re-elected by a group of career teachers?

That's why it endorses incentive that get people in, but don't bother to keep them there.

It's a thing of beauty, akin to "You can't teach, and they can't learn, so we decided to put you together."
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