Today is the day that the Mayor is going to Albany to lobby for repeal of "Last in First Out". The proposed budget cuts which will affect teachers at all schools is tragic to contemplate. The "last in first out" rule that this fight seems to be centered around is a thorny issue. You would think that a merit system would be an ideal one. Teachers who are determined to be strong professionals can stay in a school no matter when they were hired. No brainer, right? This would be true if test scores were an accurate or equal measure of teacher efficacy. Consider the wide range of students taught in the schools (their native languages, their challenges, their advantages). The metrics can be overridden by principals. This would be good if all principals were stellar leaders, free from self interest, jealousy, budget concerns, or pressure from the DOE for statistical results. There are bad tenured teachers that need to go. There are also extraordinary long term teachers who are a principal's uncomfortable conscience and an expensive liability. Undoubtedly, if this passes, some problematic teachers will get the boot, but so will some of the most talented professionals. When budget pressures are this strong, how can you keep a talented long term and expensive teacher if it means much larger class sizes. I have included links to several interesting articles on a few angles of this issue.
You all must have heard by now, that www.insideschools.org is having financial difficulties. If you are the parent of a school aged child you know how much they are worth. If you are the parent of an infant or toddler, trust me, New York City is a much tougher place without them. I like to refer to them as the "consumer reports" of NYC public schools but they are so much more; friendly reminders, an active forum, and accurate almost immediate updates on anything school related.
It is very easy to donate.
You can go to their "donate" page
or you can give through paypal.
Please send them a little something for all the good they do everyday. Many people have suggested that they charge a fee. A big part of their mission is to provide accurate, easy to use advice for all parents, including the ones that may not have the funds to pay for it. Please do what you can.
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Kid Letter-Writing Campaign to Protest NYC School Budget Cuts
To protest the $450 million Department of Education budget cuts for 2008-2009,
two members of the PA at PS 87 in Manhattan are trying to implement a citywide protest project.
Modeled upon the 3rd grade letter project at PS 87 (which resulted in a very positive news piece on WABC on May 14th), the plan is to have students (accompanied by their parents) from different public schools around the city arrive at Tweed Courthouse (DOE headquarters) each afternoon in June to deliver giant envelopes filled with letters written by their classmates protesting the budget cuts.
If you are willing to sign-up on behalf of some class(es) from your school for a day in June, or able to help in some other capacity, please contact:
Paula Seefeldt: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cynthia Wachtell: email@example.com
For a link to the WABC story, go to www.ps87.info and scroll down to the photo of the third graders.
PLEASE FORWARD TO PARENTS AT OTHER NYC SCHOOLS!
I just got an e-mail from the friends of Bill de Blasio. They are having a meeting to strategize about stopping the DOE school budget cuts. It is a community wide event including groups of teachers, parent advocates, union leaders, members of the CEC, PTAs and others.
Thursday March 13, 7-9pm
St. Francis College, Callahan Center
180 Remsen St. 1st floor (between Court and Clinton)
rsvp to Phil Jones 212 788-6969 or email firstname.lastname@example.org