School News

Thursday, February 17, 2011

WNYC education reporter, Beth Fertig, talks about the problem of PCBs in the schools, the threat of teacher layoffs, and the new chancellor.


Beth Fertig

Comments [12]

Nina the teacher! from Queens teacher

Beth, the teachers you interviewed forgot to discuss the fact that test scores can be inaccurate, fudged, or watered down by the state. Why doesn't anyone do a story on the criteria by which students are assessed? I'm talking about Regents Exams. The new English Regents exams are a joke. Take a look at the rubric. PLEASE do a story on it.
Also, teachers shouldn't be rated on students' test scores alone. What about teachers who teach students with special needs, or remedial classes, or teachers who teach students who are chronically absent and yet still must take state exams? Are we to be penalized for their low scores?

Feb. 17 2011 07:42 PM
a straus

As you discussed, on 2/15 in the Principal Weekly the DOE announced the Deferred Program Initiative which always schools to roll over Tax Levy Funds to FY'12 with a 50% give back. In previous years, schools have been allowed to roll over Tax Levy funds (provided certain guidelines have been met) without any give backs. This program was called the Surplus Rollover Program. As you correctly state, schools that have been fiscally responsible are now going to be charged 50% for this responsibility and are now going to spend their funds. The DOE also places a deadline for placing orders in their ordering system (FAMIS) which is usually mid April. As the deadline approaches and schools try to create purchase orders in FAMIS the system gets "overloaded" and often "freezes" causing delays in successfully completing orders. Once the deadline passes, orders can no longer be placed and the money will return to the city. Also, in regards to teachers salaries, schools are not charged actual salaries but an average salary. Thus, if the school hires high priced teachers, the schools average teacher salary will increase.

Feb. 17 2011 10:33 AM
Chip from Long Island

Brian you had a show a few months ago w/ a woman from Columbia Teachers College who was certain that teaching as a second career was a terrific idea. How about doing a show with people -like myself- who had made this move and are now marooned without any real hope of a job in ed. Have some people from the ed. schools to answer why they have not dialed back the number of students they take? It is an industry that is totally out of touch with its market.

Feb. 17 2011 10:31 AM

Here's why tenure is important: I'm not sure how it works in NYC but here in NJ non-tenure teachers are expected to kick back to politicians in there area, usually the Mayor. I had mayoral supporters knock on my classroom door (while I was teaching my first graders to read) and show me the $150 fundraiser tickets and ask me if I was planning on attending. It's intimidating. When I mentioned this to some veteran teachers they called it the "non-tenure teacher tax."

In NJ without tenure you will have entire school staffs replaced with every new mayor. If you don't campaign for the mayor or whoever they want to work for, you'll run the risk of not having your contract renewed.

Feb. 17 2011 10:25 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

OMG - where is "mc from brooklyn" ?!?! Did you hear the guest ? "An EXTRA set of due process protection" ... Wanna laugh? Never argue with a crazy person ... LOL

Feb. 17 2011 10:24 AM
Laura from Staten Island

As a daughter of a college professor, I feel like I have a clear understanding of the importance of tenure, which I don't feel like I have heard in the coverage of this issue. From what I understand tenure was created for teachers to protect their freedom in the classroom. Basically, so that politicians, principles, and administrators can not push their politics into the classroom, or pressure teachers to ban books, or to stop teaching unpopular political subjects. That is the reason that teachers have tenure, as a protection of freedom in the classroom. Maybe we should set harder standards for teachers to qualify for tenure, but once tenure is granted to a teacher, it's important to remember why it's there.

Feb. 17 2011 10:23 AM
molly from nyc

Why no mention of the recently released, barely covered IBO report on the disparity between NYC gov't. $ given to charter school students while nyc public school students endure ever bigger losses?

Feb. 17 2011 10:21 AM

The mayor paints with a slanderous broad brush withhis implication that experienced teachers are by definition more likely to be "bad" and that junior, new teachers are more likely to be "good." Does he feel the same way about heart surgeons. As a parent of a fourth grader, with it's regimen of mandatory state tests, plus preparation for the byzantine middle school application process, I can attest that every parent I know absolutely wants their child to have an experienced, seasoned teacher.

Feb. 17 2011 10:15 AM
Josh Karan from Washington Heights District 6

The layoffs and resulting class size increase should be challenged in court as a violation of the Court decision in the Campaign For Fiscal Equity lawsuit.
Almost 10 years after that decision are students being provided with the constitutionally mandated "sound, basic, education", when only 23% of the HS grads are considered college ready, and only 60% at most of students even graduate on time.

Feb. 17 2011 10:15 AM

Can you explain what it means to lose jobs "through attrition"? I've never heard that term before.

Feb. 17 2011 10:08 AM
Gerald Fnord from Beautiful Palos Verdes

I'd be sorry to see any teachers fired, but I think our schools would do better with 8% fewer teachers and 50% more respect for education on the part of parents.

We're getting our academic and technical clocks cleaned by people raised in cultures where the word for 'teacher' is roughly the same word as for 'sir'---or at least where there is still ostensible respect for learning...meanwhile, an odious ex-governor mocks a flawed but useful President by remarking that he 'talks like some perfessor', and our parents scold our kids with 'Now don't you get smart with _me_!'---don't worry, they won't.

Feb. 17 2011 10:04 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The best teacher I ever had was named Fertig. I wonder if he is or was a relation to Beth? He was our 8th grade teacher back in 1959 - in our elementary Jewish parochial school - and made us read some 20 high school and even college level books. But he was so well liked that even the most recalcitrant, usual troublemakers, tried their best to accommodate him. Thanks mainly to him, our 8th grade class was tested as reading at roughly the high school junior reading level at that time. A great teacher can truly make a great difference.

Feb. 17 2011 09:41 AM

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