Today the New York Times Editorial Board considers the major teaching contract issues facing Bill de Blasio when he takes the oath of office in January. The United Federation of Teachers and the city have been unable to achieve a settlement since the 2009 contract.
The editors at the NYT succinctly itemize de Blasio’s challenges and weigh in on the most pressing issues. It’s worth a full read, but here are the highlights, which are equally applicable to New Jersey:
- Get rid of LIFO, or “last in, first out” when schools are forced to lay off staff. “Seniority trumps everything and is treated as a proxy for excellence.” Shift, say the editors, to a “progressive system” like the one in Washington, D.C. where teachers are laid off “based on a combination of factors” and “the goal is to keep the most talented teaches.”
- Rejigger salary schedules so that compensation is not back-loaded and tonly longevity is rewarded. “The scales should be rebalanced so that teachers who are judged highly effective under the new evaluation system can move up quickly in the pay scale. Highly effective teachers should be paid more for teaching in areas with shortages or in high-need schools that have difficulty attracting qualified staff.”
- Eliminate the “rubber room” so that the city doesn’t pay $144 million a year for inactive teachers who can’t get any principals to hire them.
- Allow traditional schools, to set more flexible schedules. The city’s “ thriving charter schools“ are exempt from regulations that force traditional schools to comply with “a by-the-book approach that dictates the length of the day, frequency of meetings and so on. They should be pushed toward greater flexibility. “