It is amazing to read about the blue ribbon committees being formed at the Statehouse to determine why there is a teacher shortage. The feigned ignorance and surprise of legislators is incredibly hypocritical.Blame for the teacher shortage should be placed clearly at the feet of government officials in this state and across the nation who have scapegoated, demeaned and devalued the teaching profession....
If schools were failing, then teachers were ineffective. Teachers were not only ineffective, but overpaid as well.The solutions were multi-faceted. Plans were formulated to evaluate teachers more stringently to get rid of the bad ones. The witch hunt to rid schools of weak teachers cast a pall over the credibility of the teaching profession. Teachers were seen as not just the most important variable, but the only variable that affected student learning. Any reference to the effects of poverty on student learning were dismissed out of hand as an effort to avoid accountability.What followed was a legislative snowball racing downhill. An oversimplified, flawed system for grading schools on an A-F scale was created. School grades continue to be required despite major flaws in state assessments. State standards were raised to be the highest in the land, resulting in increased hours of testing time and diminishing teaching time. Laws dictated more stringent teacher evaluations tied to school grades and test scores. Laws dictated limiting salary increases so teaching experience and advanced degrees were devalued. New teacher and administrative licensing standards implied that anyone with a degree could be a teacher or administrator, even without training. Charter schools, unfettered by union agreements, were heralded as schools that could do better by hiring teachers at low salaries and cheap benefits.Complexity index funding targeting the most disadvantaged underachievers was reduced and redirected. The effects of tax caps crippled property tax collections for many school systems, forcing them to use general fund dollars to pay debt rather than staff.Educators are so demoralized they do not encourage their own children to follow in their footsteps, much less other students.Today, with decreased funding for public schools, teachers cannot enter the profession with any kind of guarantee that in five to 10 years they will be earning very much more than they are now.Still surprised there is a teacher shortage? Really?
New York State hasn't experienced the same teacher shortages that states like Indiana and Nevada have, but the problem will get here too because there's an awful lot of teacher/bashing/scapegoating going on here that makes education a very unsavory career choice for college students of today.
For now, we have a "shortage" of "great" teachers willing to work in schools deemed "struggling" by the state and set to be handed off into receivership.
Indeed, NYSED Commissioner MaryEllen Elia just decried this shortage and called for teachers with "heart" to come work in "struggling" schools.
Here are some Perdido Street School blog readers on the insanity of that:
This false wish for "great teachers" and "teachers who can rise to the challenges inside struggling urban schools" is just another Deform mantra. It is meant to shame teachers who are ALREADY "great" and who HAVE risen to challenges inside struggling urban schools. The dearth of teachers has been deliberately created by Deformers. They have shamed, demoralized and marginalized urban teachers. But they have done this for a very specific purpose. They want TFA's, alternate cetificates, and a general de-professionalization of teaching. So not be fooled by what they "say" they want. Look instead at what they are doing in urban districts. In Buffalo, teachers have recently been referred to as "dregs" and "the lowest form of human capital" by our superintendent/receiver. It doesn't get any clearer than that.
"We're in the process now if looking for teachers who really have that heart ......" What? Are you @#$%ing crazy? If you gave me a 20K bonus to work in one of those receivership schools, I wouldn't take it. Why? Here's why. If you take it, your MOSL SCORES will be SHIT. In NYC where I teach, that's currently 40% or 40 points out of 100. Last school year I received a 17 and an 18 out of 20 for each piece. Obviously that's a total of 35 out of 40 which is very good. These shit schools that teachers with "heart" should go to are pulling 7's and 8's. That's around 15 out of 40. If you score below 65 total, which is very possible at one of these shit schools, you will be labeled "ineffective". You can be the BEST teacher in the world BUT if your at Lehman HS or Clinton HS or Any other, you literally have no chance. If you get 2 ineffectives in a row, a 3020-a process can easily remove you. You will be terminated. Your family, house, future, all destroyed because you were supposed to have "heart". What a @#$%ing JOKE. I HOPE SHE READS THIS IR SOMEONE GETS HER MY MESSAGE. The goal, find a small school to jump into and do your job, get your MOSL scores that these schools produce. If they really want teachers to work at "these" schools, they must eliminate the evaluation procedure because it's not reflective of the truth. Then again, I'm a Physical Education teacher at a really nice small school in the Bronx. My MOSL is based off ELA, nothing to do with me. This is also ridiculous because any schmuck in Bronx Science teaching Gym is riding the data wave. All BULLSHIT.
Indeed, it is all bullshit - teachers know it, the kids they teach know it and this is why, as we move forward into the future, fewer and fewer of those kids will look to follow in the footsteps of their teachers.
And why should they?
The system is rigged against teachers, the media and the political class take daily potshots at teachers, educators have been blamed for everything from the high rate of poverty and inequity in this country to the near economic collapse of the system in 2007/2008 and, as Tony Lux said in his NWI.com piece, the politicians and educrats have worked overtime to strip teachers of economic incentives (i.e., raises) based upon anything other than test scores and so-called objective "data" that really only measures how well a teacher's students' families are.
Add in the stripping of work protections from teachers, the imposition of the EngageNY teaching scripts onto educators and the increased linkage of test scores to teacher evaluations (now up to 50% in New York thanks to our "Student Lobbyist Governor") and you'd have to say any kid who thinks about going into teaching now ought to have his/her head examined.