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Some Green Dot/NY Questions

April 14, 2009 pm30 10:54 pm

Over on Edwize I asked a series of questions about hiring and contractual rights at the Green Dot NYC Charter School. That was three weeks ago. So far, no answer (questions reprinted below the fold).

But now I have some more questions – or, more like, comments/observations.

Yesterday I went to the Green Dot/NYC website, and looked through their student handbook. I visited the UFT page where they advertise new positions. And I thought and tried to calculate some things.

  • The school year is very close to that of the NYC Public Schools, but not exactly. They start 3 days earlier. Some of our PD days are regular days for them, and vice versa. They teach through January Regents (as do some of our small schools, especially in their first years when there are no January Regents to be administered)
  • The school day appears to be far longer than ours. They do not seem to have the “Professional Day” that we heard so much about. Rather, it seems that their day normally goes 8 – 4, and is extended to 5:30 once a week. I count 41 hours and 30 minutes. NYC public school teachers work 34 hour 10 minute weeks.
  • Combining extra days and a longer week, it appears that Green Dot/NYC teachers work a 23% longer year than NYC public school teachers.
  • Green Dot teachers earn 10% over UFT contract for NYC public schools. I do not know if that includes steps and differentials (see questions, below fold)
  • Green Dot /NYC is in its first year of existence. It clearly did not hire all brand new teachers. I was a bit surprised by this.
  • Green Dot /NYC’s student handbook is massively dominated by rules and regulations. About 3 of 24 pages are devoted to academics, and they are in the main, general remarks.
  • Is Green Dot /NYC exempt from New York State education law? They claim they will graduate students with 2 years (4 NYC credits) of physical education. In fact, it looks like they intend to give PE to sophomores and juniors only. Might there be an issue with the current freshmen, who currently have zero credits?
  • Green Dot /NYC punishes a student’s parents if the student does not show to detention. Apparently, they assign the parent the job of “shadowing” the student through the school day.
  • Green Dot/NYC has an expulsion policy that will look unusual to those who work or study in the NYC public schools. I’ll reprint the list of expellable offenses below the fold, but, notably, the list includes truancy and also includes “Any infraction considered sufficiently serious to the principal.”
  • Green Dot/NYC has a harassment policy that seems a bit strange. The Principal appears to be the lead investigator, and decisions are made in consultation with their Board of Trustees.
  • The handbook discusses demands for sex in return for grades, but seems to ignore other forms of sexual harassment.
  • Parents are required to perform 15 hours of mandatory volunteer labor each school year.

I suspect that they lifted this from one of their handbooks in California, and then modified it. Lots of places where I would expect reference to NY Education law, they are missing. The discussion of “school grounds” and “campus” seems a bit odd as well.

My previous questions and Green Dot/NYC expellable offenses, below the fold

—   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —

Green Dot/NYC Expellable offenses (from their student handbook)

Expulsion – Dismissal from School (NY State Education Law 3214)
A student may be dismissed from GDNY for any of the following major violations or repeating any violation listed under suspension:
•    Possession or use of any weapons or firearms on school premises or at school sponsored events
•    Providing or selling narcotics of any kind (immediate expulsion)
•    Inflicting or causing bodily harm to any person on campus
•    Assault or battery, or any threat of force or violence directed toward anyone
•    Fighting
•    Theft of, tampering with, or unauthorized handling of a teacher’s gradebook, textbook, handbook, keys, briefcase, or other personal items
•    Tampering with fire alarms or extinguishers
•    Habitual truancy
•    Any infraction considered sufficiently serious by the principal

—   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —   —

My questions on Edwize (not yet answered):

    The 10% above our contract:
    Does that mean at the teacher’s current step?
    Does that include the teacher’s current differential?
    Will the teacher continue to move along steps (and pick up longevity) as under our contract?
    Will membership in TRS continue without interruption or change in terms?

    Security, rights:
    Can a current NYC teacher get a job here, and then transfer back to a regular public school?
    If a tenured teacher moves to this school, and things go badly, will she still have tenure when she returns to a regular public school?

    Can ATRs apply? RTRs? (former RTRs, I guess). Can their applications be given priority?
    Will experience be given positive weight in the selection process?
    Is there a mechanism to ensure that hiring at lower salaries not be given weight in the hiring process?

    How is the UFT playing a role in this school?
    Is there a “running the school role” separate and apart from “protecting the members” role, and are they played by distinct and separate groups of UFT members/employees?
    What is the UFT’s role in the hiring process?


    Comment by jd2718 — March 22, 2009 @ 7:39 pm

One Comment leave one →
  1. anonymous nyc teacher permalink
    April 15, 2009 am30 1:12 am 1:12 am

    Thanks for doing the research.

    I wonder how much of that additional time is teaching time vs. prep time. Though public school teachers theoretically work the 34 hours 10 minutes per week that you mentioned, I think most teachers end up working a lot more than that in order to get done everything that needs to be done. If Green Dot teachers had more prep time built into their schedules, that might partially counterbalance the longer hours. Somehow, though, I doubt that’s actually the case…

    Also, I suspect Green Dot has no way to actually enforce the parental labor requirement. For example, I don’t think they could legally expel a student because his or her family did not contribute the required number of hours. Of course, parents won’t necessarily know that, and if the school publicizes the requirement they will probably end up selecting out those parents who are not willing or able to put in those hours. So much for having a student body which is comparable to a public school!

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