Monday, September 14, 2009


There are always unintended consequences. When the UFT agreed to establish the Absent Teacher Reserve, a writer on Edwize suggested it had been done before and everything was fine. A difference, of course, was that the current chancellor saw fit to keep hiring new teachers even as experienced ones sat in the purgatory he and the union had created. The other difference was that principals no longer had to hire the floating teachers.

Inquisitive souls could go to the New York Times and read the helpful solution proposed by the completely objective New Teacher Project. To help all parties involved, they proposed to fire ATR teachers after one year (They didn't explain precisely how that would benefit the ATR teachers). You knew they were completely objective because their business entailed replacing the ATRs with new teachers they themselves trained and recruited. If that weren't enough evidence, they had millions of dollars in contracts with the city. What possible ulterior motive could they have?

The UFT is often on the cutting edge, so when it enacts a bad idea, "reformers" closely study how they can take it and make it even worse. It appears uber-reformer Michelle Rhee has found a way to do so in DC, where the new contract proposes to take the ATRs, offer them a one-time buyout, and fire them at the end of one year should they fail to take it.

This is precisely what Joel Klein would like to see in New York. Will this becomes a demand in exchange for our receiving the pattern? It may not matter we're entitled to as a matter of course. The UFT has an odd habit of paying for things two or three times.

I stand amazed that after the failures of the Bush administration, the "reformers" have managed to take the same abysmal ideas that tanked the economy and insist on applying them to education. It's all about getting those billions we spend on education into the right hands, the same ones who caused the current crisis.

It's indefensible, and patently incredible that the President who promised us "change" is giving us more of the same, with little or no evidence it will help anyone whatsoever.
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