Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Teacher Shortages Should Be No Surprise

Tony Lux at NWI.com:

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.

And:

"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.

22 comments:

  1. What a great article. This should be copied and sent to every politician in New York State.

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  2. Excellent article. What's most absurd is that everyone knows this- politicians, administrators, teachers and even the students. One kid recently told me she had always wanted to be a teacher until she got to middle school (she's now a junior). I asked her why and she said teachers are treated very disrespectfully by everyone. She said she couldn't go to work every day under those circumstances. A person with common sense. I also dissuaded my own daughter from entering the profession.

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    1. I was just going to post this same thing. Everyone knows this! My principal knows this, my Assistant Principal knows this, the Governor knows this, the Mayor knows this, the Chancellor and the Commissioner. The Superintendent knows this, Deformers knows this and the President knows this. Many current parents know this and all Old School parents know this. Of course all politicians know this because even the paraprofessionals, school aids and custodial staff in our school know this. They know this because even school safety knows this - hell the bus matrons in our school know this. My five year old daughter knows this as do my seven year old twins. The ignoramus would know it if a minute was spent explaining it to him, thus it is even worse than the ABSURD if you think about it. At least according to the absurd, you won't get an answer because nothing is there. In this case, the correct answer exists (hell - everyone knows it) it's just - I don't know - it's a sports thing I guess - can't fix the student's so out go the teachers.

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  3. My son is an a teacher education program now. I have refused to dissuade him. Teaching is an honorable, helping profession that is currently experiencing a dark period. Nothing ever stays the same, not even the BS testing reform movement. All things shall pass.

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    1. Teaching was an honorable profession. I just finished up my 40th school in 2 years as an ATR. I've met several new teachers (men and women) who have actually started crying while trying to teaching, many who have quit and all that are under tremendous stress. Nothing ever stays the same sometimes it gets worse.

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    2. anyone who enters teaching now is an absolute fool.
      get real.... this job will be obsolete in the future ... it is just a question of when.... hope you AT LEAST taught him how to scout out a partner who can pay bill since he surely will struggle with this reality even if this calm down - which is unlikely

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  4. I work with a few teachers who know nothing else than what we are experiencing right now. They think CC is geat, PLC are informative, and testing is necessary. Soon schools will be filled with these teachers and no one will remember what real teaching is all about.

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    1. Until they are either shown the door for being ineffective, or want to buy a house (or car) and can't afford it because they're paid nothing.

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  5. I remember there was a massive teacher shortage in NYC when I got hired in the mid 90's. The city had to recruit teachers from overseas. However, the profession was still decent then. School districts are gonna be hard pressed to find warm bodies to put in front of classrooms this time around due to the toxic nature of what teaching has become. The only "good" thing about the looming teacher shortage is maybe principals will finally leave veteran teachers alone for once since they are gonna need some folks with experience in their schools.

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    1. 11:33

      Do not delude yourself. The last thing they want to hear is the voices of veteran teachers.

      Abigail Shure

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    2. I agree. I meet no veteran teachers who aren't ATRs. I was 25 years older than the oldest staff member in my last school.

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  6. No shortage of horny principals trying to screw the 24 year olds at elementary schools. This is really happening and no one is reporting it.

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    1. Whats to report? That there are 24 year old teachers with daddy issues in the teaching profession? NO SHIT!

      The daddy-issue-addled 24 year olds are actually part of our problem. These people make up a hefty segment of our ranks as unionized teachers and they are not....well.....too capable of understanding some of the fundamental things about being in a union.

      Upstate, these 24 year old daddy-issue animals have a particular penchant not so much for administrators but local police officers. Its like a thing. Huge numbers.

      When your union ranks are filled with these deep thinkers, well....believe me, hardcore union action becomes worse than impossible.

      Said 24 year olds are a much bigger problem to organized teachers than their sexual entreaties with admin folks. Lets stop criminalizing consensual legal sex, no matter how pathological and dumb, and focus instead on how we are going to operate our unions with all these folks with daddy issues.

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  7. The goal of the saboteurs is to make teaching as bad as private sector employment thus realizing their mantra --there is no alternative

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  8. Unfortunately our union is party to all the crap that's raining down on us. If only Mulgrew could have kept his pecker in his pants, he could have fought Bloomberg. Let's all vote him out next spring.

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  9. Principals screwing young female teachers in elementary schools.

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    1. Who cares? At least they have the sense to rent a room. Mulgrew did it on top of his desk, in his classroom, inside his school. Then Bloomberg comes along and Mulgrew stays silent for years, while Bloomberg privatizes, vilifies, and steamrolls us.

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  10. Last week, one of our guidance counselors came in to one of my 9th grade classes to talk to the students about the importance of maintaining their grades, securing letters of recommendation from teachers, exploring career opportunities which would interest them, and making sure they meet their deadlines regarding tests, college applications, as well as financial aid.

    The conversation between students discussing careers turned to teaching, at which one student said she always wanted to be a teacher. One of the other student visibly expressed her opinion, and then asked her why she would want to do that...also asking her if she heard of the Common Core. At that point, other students became involved in the conversation and the consensus became apparently clear...their literal hatred and scorn for Common Core, even mocking it as anti-American and the stealing of public education money by those seeking to get rich at the expense of tax payers and public schools.

    Mr Gates...I wish you could have been there to hear what high school freshman that are young teenagers think of the "standards" that you have pushed onto America's public schools...

    And Ms Elia...it would have been wonderful for you to be there...this conversation in class was student-initiated....student-driven...and student-resolved...a slap in the face to the privatization movement that your Soviet "commisariat" would most certainly have frowned upon.

    If the ninth graders get it, so do their parents....and so do many, many more New Yorkers.

    And last but not least, Mr Cuomo...you take time out of your busy schedule to preach Success Academy and charter politics...at the behest of your corporate masters...I wish you could have been there too.

    Please come to Queens, New York, to discuss your Common Core standards, the three of you...and bring the news cameras...

    I know you won't, because the students would make a mockery of the three of you in a public forum.

    The newspaper article might read, "Ninth Grade Public High School Students explain why they do not support Common Core to Gates, Cuomo, and Elia".

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