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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Joel Klein Says Get Teachers Out of the System After One Year Without An Assignment!

Joel Klein and Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott Argue For Mayoral Control, February 2009

NY1 interviewed Joel Klein on what the possibilities are of NYC winning "Race To The Top" federal funds. I have the usual astonishment which accompanies any interview Mr. Klein does as he misleads new reporter Ms. Christ and does not tell her that NYC is not paying the 3020-a Arbitrators, and has not paid them since last June (this is not true anywhere else in New York State); that now the people who create the transcripts for the 3020-s Hearings are not being paid; that the lawyers who work for the Teacher Performance Unit ("The Gotcha Squad" for incompetence cases) and the ATU (Administrative Trials Unit, which deals with corporal punishment issues, theft, other more serious charges)are bringing new charges into almost-finished hearings, post-poning the closing in cases that otherwise should never have been brought in the first place; that charges are still not brought in a timely fashion, due to Principals throwing out good teachers against whom there are no charges to bring or just cause for penalties....etc.

Read my book "How To Sabotage Your Employees and Get Rid of People For No Reason" for more on this topic.

Happy New Year everybody!

Betsy Combier

NY1 Exclusive: Schools Chancellor Joel Klein Seeks New Rubber Room Rules, More Federal Funding

In the second half of an exclusive year-end interview, NY1's Education reporter Lindsey Christ (pictured below at right) asks Schools Chancellor Joel Klein about changes he hopes the state Legislature will make to allow New York to qualify for federal education and to remove teachers from the public school system.

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein: "Race To The Top" is a federal program, where they put aside $3.4 billion that states have to compete for. And there are big requirements in terms of major changes in standards, on data, teachers effectiveness, teacher evaluations, on closing schools. A lot of the things, quite frankly, Lindsey, that we've been talking about in New York for the last seven or so years.

Lindsey Christ: But the state of New York is the one that's competing and there are some state laws that could potentially get in the way. The first deadline is January 19. Do you think New York will make change in the next couple of weeks?

Klein: I hope so. Obviously, that is up to the Legislature. It now costs our city almost $50 million a year to keep teachers in the "rubber room."

Christ: So these are teachers [in the "rubber room"] who have been accused of potential wrongdoing, there is a very long process before they can either be acquitted or dismissed.

Klein: A very long process. Sometime it takes seven years. I mean, it is a ridiculous process. We need a quick process, one that gets people evaluated in a meaningfully way, and either out of the system or back in the classroom, but not a process where for five or six years someone doesn't work and they are getting paid by the taxpayers. That's ridiculous.

Christ: There is also another group of teachers who are getting paid full salary who don't have permanent teaching positions. Those are teachers who have lost their jobs because their schools have closed down or because of budget cuts but have not actually been fired and are just waiting for a new job in the system. With all of these school closures announced this year, there are going to be a lot more, potentially, of these teachers. How do you see that pool of teachers going forward? Is the city going to keep supporting it, even though they don't have permanent positions?

Klein: I hope not. Some of those teachers doing incredibly good work, most of them get rehired. Those that don't, I think there ought to be a time period where teachers either find a job or have to leave the system. I think it will put a real incentive on these teachers to look for a job. Quite a few of them really don't look for a job. And it will also enable us in a meaningful way to say to people, "Okay, a reasonable time has come and you haven't been able to find a job in the system."

Christ: What's a reasonable time?

Klein: Well, the number the mayor used was a year, and that sounds reasonable to me.

Christ: This is something you have to get in the union contract?

Klein: I think it should be done by legislation. This is important to us, to make sure that if someone isn't rehired then they must exit the system. We can't afford to pay for teachers, particularly in tight budget times, for teachers who aren't fully and gainfully employed at a school.

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