Skip to content

Who will help retain teachers?

July 29, 2009 am31 10:58 am

If we can keep teachers in the system teaching, there are all sorts of winners. Kids, schools, colleagues, neighborhoods — all of them benefit from the stability, continuity, experience. The new teachers themselves benefit from being not as new: the job gets easier, they do it better, less stress, of course more pay…

The UFT and its chapters can and should act, independently of the NYCDoE, to keep teachers teaching

But retaining teachers produces losers as well.  Abusive administrators. The New Teacher Project. Some textbook companies. The anti-union Charter movement. And Bloomberg and his chancellor.

– – — — —– ——– ————- ——– —– — — – –

When our union, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) sits down to address retention (or recruitment, which is not a big issue today, or any of the myriad other issues that confront the schools and our teachers), the leaders say, “What can we propose to the DoE?” But we are at cross purposes with a DoE that does not want teachers to last.

The DoE does not address issues of teacher retention, because, objectively, it is not in favor of keeping teachers longer. This is not a matter, as UFT leaders sometimes seem to think, that the DoE is paying insufficient attention to retention. The DoE pays attention; their interests are different from ours and our students’.

Getting the DoE to sit down and make another recruitment (which we don’t need) or retention agreement comes with other pitfalls. The DoE routinely violates agreements they sign. Why should we invite more cheating? And in any event, they would seek to squeeze something out of us in return. Imagine that? They sign agreements with us that they violate, but they get stuff back from us. We give, they take. That’s one table we should not sit at more than we have to. (Think parking agreement. Think rubber room agreement. Think about step 2 grievances. Think about special complaints.)

– – — — —– ——– ————- ——– —– — — – –

No, teacher retention can be improved. But to do so requires us, the teachers, our union, acting independently on our own behalf. We need direction from UFT central making it a priority to keep teachers teaching. And we need chapters to work towards retention as a major goal.

What can our chapters do? I’m a Dreamer is not in NYC, but her comments include some suggestions. And Jack Israel’s comments contain important suggestions as well. We need to move this to the front burner. We need more ideas. Fast turnover is a place the DoE is kicking our butts. And we need to fight back, and fight better.

– – — — —– ——– ————- ——– —– — — – –

This post is part of an intermittent series about improving teacher retention in New York City. See also

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: