NYC Public Schools to Link Tenure to Teacher Performance

CUNY and IBM will also collaborate on a new school

New York City public school will implement a new teacher rating system this year designed to ensure that tenure is linked to classroom performance.

The mayor said the city wants to use a four-tier rating system to determine whether a teacher gets tenure, and said that beginning this year, only teachers rated "effective" or "highly effective" will be awarded lifetime job protection, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday in announcing a series of ambitious educational initiatives on MSNBC as part of NBC's Education Nation Summit.

Tenure would be awarded only if a teacher has made an impact on student achievement, he said.

"Just as we are raising the bar for our students through higher standards, we must also raise the bar for our teaches and principals — and we are," the mayor said.

Bloomberg has proposed ending automatic teacher tenure in recent years. The state Legislature amended the law earlier this year to add student test scores and performance as criteria in evaluating teachers. Tenured teachers can be dismissed for incompetence or insubordination under the law but have due process rights.

"If the mayor wants to change seniority he will need to talk to the Legislature," said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, the city teachers' union. Mulgrew said that tenure decisions are arbitrary. "Most teachers would welcome an objective tenure-granting process based on agreed-upon standards," he said.

The mayor also announced that the City University of New York and IBM will open a unique school that merges high school with two years of college, allowing students to earn an associate's degree,

Those students will be "first in line for a job at IBM," Bloomberg said in his announcement, made on MSNBC.

Bloomberg said the city will work with the state to end so-called "seat time," which requires all students to spend certain number of hours in their seats on every subject even if they have already mastered the subject. It will also endeavor to change a state law that requires schools to buy printed textbooks rather than digital content.

"That may be good for the business textbook industry but it's really a bad deal for our students in this day and age," Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg said the city will use a $36 million federal grant to enlist highly skilled teachers to work in low-performing schools and mentor fellow instructors.

Earlier Monday, Mayor Cory Booker said about $40 million has been raised so far to match the $100 million donation to Newark's school system from Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Booker appeared in Manhattan with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Zuckerberg at NBC News' "Education Nation" Summit.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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