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Can we still say “Do not apply” ?

July 7, 2009 am31 7:10 am
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One of the best things this blog has done is to promote a “Do Not Apply” list of schools, mostly Bronx high schools, in NYC.

The list started last June, as a useful piece of information for new teachers, especially Fellows, who were getting sucked into the worst hellholes.

Over time it grew. Tips came in from activists, from anonymous teachers, from union folks. In one case, members of New Action, Unity, TJC and unafilliated individuals collaborated to create an accurate listing.

Did it work?

Yes, in several ways.

  • I know a few Fellows who successfully avoided schools on the list. There must have been many more.
  • The list also created an outlet for teachers unable to speak up at work, or who had left a horrible school, still angry over the mistreatment and abuse. In a sense, it played part of the role the Grapevine was intended to.
  • Do Not Apply shone a light on some of the more abusive principals, in places where teachers were not yet ready to fight back, or where they were unable to fightback.

And this year? Can we afford “Not to Apply?”

Because of the economy, and because of the ATR agreement, and because of the hiring freeze (that will eventually be lifted), and because the DoE is happy with running miserable schools, the jobs in all schools, including the jobs in Do Not Apply schools, will be filled, and will be filled largely with new teachers, with a few unlucky ATRs thrown in.

The specific advice “do not apply” may in some cases not be realistic. Maybe instead:

  • Do Not Apply, or
  • Apply With Caution, and
  • If You End Up There, Be Mindful of Self-Preservation,
  • Stay Out of Harm’s Way, and
  • Look for the Nearest Exit, while
  • Avoid Too Much Attention, or
  • Generating Trouble for Yourself.

I’ll keep calling them Do Not Apply schools, for short. But the above is, for now, a fuller, better explanation.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2009 pm31 11:20 pm 11:20 pm

    Thanks for your work in making this info public. I had found your blog off of Gotham schools and have found it quite helpful. Your post about reaching out to new teachers helped me better understand the system (or lack thereof) I am trying to navigate.

    I just finished a grad program as my preservice work. I’m from NY and hoping to return there to teach. It’s been a tough process, given the freeze and the lack of help from the office of teacher recruitment. It’s ironic that a year ago, I turned down teaching fellows, because I wanted to get more experience before entering the classroom; now that I have gotten a Master’s in Education (and certification), am more qualified and better prepared, the d.o.e offers less support in the job search. For example, they would not even provide a list of the schools exempt from the hiring freeze, not to mention direct me to them.

    You write (parenthetically) that the freeze will lift, and I sort of understand that it will. But, can you explain to someone new to and outside the system how you know it will?

    • July 8, 2009 am31 7:01 am 7:01 am

      Brand new schools (opening September) are exempt. I suspect there’s a list on the DoE’s website. District 75 schools (for severely disabled kids) are exempt (new, as of this week).

      And I am confident they will lift the freeze because (I strongly suspect) there are more open slots than people to be placed, and each transfer fills one opening, but most transfers create a new opening. Also, City freezes happen. In the past, they eventually get lifted… And finally, I strongly believe that the City is ready to come back and tell us that principals don’t want to hire our senior teachers…

      But it’s a prediction that the freeze will be lifted, not fact.

  2. ade permalink
    July 8, 2009 pm31 1:10 pm 1:10 pm

    I think you should keep the “do not apply” classification and only this. I’ll tell you why.

    There are some really great schools to teach at in NYC. Are they more the exception than the rule? I don’t know.

    But actually, I believe every school in NYC falls into these categories:

    Do Not Apply, or
    Apply With Caution, and
    If You End Up There, Be Mindful of Self-Preservation,
    Stay Out of Harm’s Way, and
    Look for the Nearest Exit, while
    Avoid Too Much Attention, or
    Generating Trouble for Yourself.

    But I certainly don’t think you would be able to classify every school in NYC using these categories even if you wanted to.

    I think the only schools worth mentioning are the schools where people absolutely should not apply. If you deal only with schools that are “can’t miss” career enders, then you can be sure that you probably classified the school properly and most likely spared someone aggravation in the process.

  3. anonymous nyc teacher permalink
    July 9, 2009 pm31 5:14 pm 5:14 pm

    Your “Do Not Apply” list has been a really good service not only for Fellows but also for me, and perhaps others who have been trying to navigate the Open Market System.

    For schools not on your list, do you know of any way to get more information (beyond the little-used Grapevine, the information available from the DOE, and insideschools.org), or to get in touch with teachers at a particular school? Is there a published list somewhere of chapter leaders and their contact information, for instance?

    I actually have questions about specific schools, the names of which I would rather not mention here. I looked for your e-mail address but have been unable to find it; I don’t want to impose on you, but if you would not mind being contacted I would be really grateful for any help you might be able to offer or information you might have. If you are willing, you can contact me at the e-mail address I included with this posting or just tell me how to contact you.

    Thanks very much!

    • July 9, 2009 pm31 10:12 pm 10:12 pm

      My e-mail is [this blog name] at gmail dot com. And if I don’t know, I’ll tell you I don’t know.

      I don’t know about published lists of chapter leaders. I kind of doubt that that would be a good thing… Chapter leaders have enough on their plate serving their members…

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