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FOR THE BIRDS, AND MOSTLY THE CHILDREN TOO

Firing Practices

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers talked tea-bagging with Bill Maher until the conversation veered into teacher firing territory. Maher put her on the spot with a few data points:

3 out of 30,000 teachers were fired last year in New York
11 out of 43,000 in Los Angeles
0.1% in Chicago
0 in Akron

A summary of the encounter here, along with incisive apprehension of – Her most effective point: As ornery as Bill Maher is about bad teachers, good teachers (who educate alongside the bad teachers) are orders of magnitude more pissed off.

Good Magazine in general has an excellent round-up on education today. From mass-firing in a Georgia high school:

A failing Savannah high school is firing its entire staff in an effort to avoid further sanctions from the state and to make the school eligible for up to $6 million in federal money…Experts estimate the mass-firing tactic is used to turn around 20 to 30 schools in the U.S. annually…Georgia’s teachers do not have collective bargaining rights.

To Los Angeles School District cutting 5 days from this school year and 7 days from next year:

Under the plan, educators would have two extra paid, student-free professional development days next year… The district, along with others throughout the state, is reeling from one budget shortfall to another. Districts have laid off teachers and increased class sizes, and some are considering closing schools. L.A. Unified has avoided that option; like others, reducing the calendar came as a last resort.

And a New York City judge blocking school closing under mayoral control law

The decision, by Justice Joan B. Lobis of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, was a victory for the United Federation of Teachers and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which joined more than a dozen elected leaders and parents in suing to stop the closings. They argued that the city had failed to comply with the mayoral control law passed last year, which required the Department of Education to give detailed “educational-impact statements” describing the effect of each closing on students and surrounding schools

The city has closed 91 schools since 2002…Mr. Bloomberg credits the closings with significantly improving graduation rates, which average over 70 percent at the small schools and 63 percent citywide.

Funding plays a pivotal role in all these initiatives. As stated here, the issue falls on trust and communication from the union point of view while observers are watching closely to see whether Race to the Top is sending a message to teacher unions: Collaborate, or else.

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Filed under: Collective Bargaining, EDUCATION

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