Saturday, April 19, 2008

Some People Look For the Quickest Way Out

Some don't read between the lines. Others just read very selectively.

I specifically told Kevin Carey of The Quick and the Ed that the city has been negligent in enforcing existing tenure rules for over thirty years, that neighboring districts do things much differently, and that it was entirely within the city's discretion to do as its neighbors. I'm disappointed he chose to ignore that, using my post on bad teachers to bolster the entirely hollow argument that Chancellor Klein needs more ammunition to enforce tenure.

Chancellor Klein can enforce existing rules today, and could have done so the day he walked in, but opted not to. In fact, despite all his bluster about tenure and quality teachers, Mr. Klein went to Albany where he successfully lobbied for the right to hire and retain thousands of teachers who'd failed a basic competency test, often dozens of times. For Mr. Klein to now try to place the onus on the UFT for the teachers he himself hired and granted tenure is the height of hypocrisy.

If he chooses not to do his job, it's on him. And the truth is both he and his predecessors have neglected it for decades. Shame on the chancellor for obfuscating by demanding new tools while pointedly ignoring those at his disposal. It's disappointing his defenders fail to see the obvious--that this city, its frequent finger-pointing notwithstanding, was and is indifferent to how it treats kids. Rampant and unconscionable overcrowding is just one little extra way Tweed expresses its priorities.

My kids and I work every day half in a vermin-infested closet and the other half in a dilapidated trailer. This would not happen in my home district, and not a single one of the teachers I described would be hired in my home district. Furthermore, where I live, if some blitheringly incompetent administrator were to neglect the Prozac and hire one of these people by mistake, the mistake would be corrected long, long before any discussions about tenure ensued (I'd refrain from placing any bets on that administrator's tenure either).

Those who accept Chancellor Klein's public position on tenure either don't know what goes on in Mr. Bloomberg's New York or don't care to find out.
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