What happens after you lay down the ax?  A bill has been passed in the New York State senate that ends the seniority rule, no longer is it “last in, first out”.  The seniority rule was that the longer you are at a school, the more privileges you receive. (One privilege being that you are the last to be laid off.)  Mayor Bloomberg says: “We need a merit-based system for determining layoffs this spring, and anything short of that is just not a solution to the problem we face.” This is very promising for the education reformers who have been arguing that seniority doesn’t necessarily mean effective teaching, and have been arguing that the seniority system specifically seems problematic in low income schools which need new teachers to fix past problems.  Now that the determining factor for layoffs is gone, how will the state decide what makes a teacher “good” and what makes one “bad”?  There is talk about a point system that will rank teachers based on evaluations but it may take months or years to set regulations for such a process.  In reality, there is no sign of a concrete plan regarding who will get cut first now.  Is this really because there is no plan?  Or is there a plan already out there that is hidden (for now) from the public to alleviate further commotion about the topic all together?

 

Further Reading:

http://www.npr.org/2011/03/06/134275966/pressure-mounts-to-ax-teacher-seniority-rules

 

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They say creativity is everything, but how is a pre-recorded message supposed to motivate the youth to go to school? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has instilled a new campaign “WakeUp! NYC” that will provide wake up phone calls from celebrities- including Magic Johnson, Jose Reyes, Big Boi, Trey Songz, and others- to kids who are consistently missing school. So what is the purpose of these messages? The calls will initially go out to 6,500 students in 25 public schools who have missed ten or more days of school this year. The point: to say GET TO SCHOOL!

Mayor Bloomberg says “It’s the next step in our efforts to cut absenteeism and put more students on the road to success, in school and in life.” I am totally for putting more students on the “road to success,” but will this tactic work? Apparently so! There have been some important improvements as the absentee rate is down 24% at 10 elementary schools, and 16% at 8 middle schools. PROGRESS! If it works, it works. Good for Mayor Bloomberg for thinking outside the box and finding a way for kids to relate to going to school. Now if only Mark Wahlberg was making those calls, EVERY girl would be going to school…think about it Mayor Bloomberg!

Check out the full story: http://www.silive.com/northshore/index.ssf/2011/02/city_hopes_celebrity_shoutouts.html