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landmark
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So Mrs. Landmark and I were taking in the cool morning breeze of our AC, when Mrs. L gets a phone call from the high school she teaches at. It was her adminbot superior who called to tell her that she was being excessed from her job.

The missus refused to show her emotions to the bot, heard him out, and then she said a cheery good-bye. She wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of getting upset on the phone.

Let's consider a few things here:
1) The new NYC budget deal hailed by the mayor promised there would be no layoffs. Everyone cheered. Turns out being excessed due to declining enrollment at your particular school is technically not the same as being laid off. Even though there is no way her department can service the needs of the large number of ESL students currently, now they want to excess her in the name of enrollment.

2) The city's only obligation to her is to allow her to become what is called an ATR. She would be a full time sub possibly traveling to a different school every single day, anywhere within the five boroughs of New York City.

3) She has been teaching high school English as A Second Language to immigrants for upwards of fifteen years. She has taught the same in prestigious universities for 15 years prior to that.

4) SHE IS THE BEST ESL TEACHER IN NYC. I know this a large claim. You will have to take my word on this. You might think I'm prejudiced about this, but I'm not. I'm very proud of her, but I'm stating the fact objectively. There are some things I would agree that she doesn't do so well; when it comes to teaching ESL however, SHE IS THE BEST ESL TEACHER IN NYC. Scores of students for decades have remained in touch with her for years, telling her how she has changed their lives. Mrs. Landmark hates being an administrator so she never became head of the department, but in fact, her boss could not run the department without her. And she spent the last year desperately trying to get a soccer league together for her students, because she knew that was what would motivate them to come to school. This is a woman that knows nothing about sports, but did all the fundraising and planning and cajoling of coaches because she thought it would end up making her students better learners and people.

She'll find another job of course, we're not worried about that, but at her age, jobhunting is something more than an annoyance. The point is that the public has no idea what the Serious People in Government really think of them and their pathetic desire to be educated. Keep diverting public money to the private CEOs and screw the rest of you.

I'm bitter, can you tell?
Stanyon
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A phone call rather than in person....what a coward that admin is!

Hang in there!
Stanyon

aka Steve Taylor

"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
Magnus Eisengrim
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I'm sorry to hear this. Was she employed by a public district and did she have a continuing contract?

Regardless, this is bad news. Please give my regards to Mrs. L and wish her all the best in finding a better placement.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
balducci
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Adminbots! Wow, so kewl.

Mrs. Landmark must have worked in the school of the future!
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
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I know I sometimes come off as anti-teacher which I am not. I Believe that most problems in public schools are more appropriately laid at the feet of admin and NOT the faculty. Mrs.Landmark is a case in point. If anybody should have been excessed it was the adminbot (I love that word, thanks for using it).
I really hope for the best for her.
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1tepa1
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Sorry to hear that. I wish you the best.
Al Angello
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Sad news I wish you well.
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gdw
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Quote:
On 2011-07-12 16:35, JRob wrote:
I know I sometimes come off as anti-teacher which I am not. I Believe that most problems in public schools are more appropriately laid at the feet of admin and NOT the faculty. Mrs.Landmark is a case in point. If anybody should have been excessed it was the adminbot (I love that word, thanks for using it).
I really hope for the best for her.
It's amazing, people will criticize you for "biting the hand that feeds you," while they're busy praising the hand that beats them.

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I won't forget you Robert.
landmark
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Quote:
On 2011-07-12 14:57, Magnus Eisengrim wrote:
I'm sorry to hear this. Was she employed by a public district and did she have a continuing contract?

Regardless, this is bad news. Please give my regards to Mrs. L and wish her all the best in finding a better placement.

John

Thanks for the kind words all. Yes, she is a NYC public school teacher under UFT contract, supposedly one of the strongest unions in the country. There are many pictures of our mayor, Bloomberg, and the UFT president, Mulgrew, shaking hands over the last minute budget deal: 2600 jobs to be lost by attrition, but supposedly no layoffs. On top of that there will be hundreds of millions in additional cuts to programs and school services.
thorndyke
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This is terrible, but I admire how she handled it.
As for layoffs/excesses, well, relabeling is a cowardly thing.
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Sorry about your wife, if she's as good as you say she is, (and I have no doubt that she is), I would think there would be other positions available for her and possibly in the private sector. Best of luck.

I wanted to say that first, but I also was thinking. I don't want to go back and search your other posts but I'm thinking you're pretty pro-union. If not, I apologize. If you are, why would you tell us how good a teacher she is as a reason why they should not have let her go. I thought the only thing that really meant anything as far as union protection goes is seniority, not quality. Was there no one below her to let go first? Or did they get rid of the position completely?
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Your wife sounds like a wonderful woman. Three cheers for teachers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nobody expects the spanish inquisition!!!!!



"History will be kind to me, as I intend to write it"- Sir Winston Churchill
balducci
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Quote:
On 2011-07-12 20:55, rockwall wrote:

I don't want to go back and search your other posts but I'm thinking you're pretty pro-union. If not, I apologize. If you are, why would you tell us how good a teacher she is as a reason why they should not have let her go. I thought the only thing that really meant anything as far as union protection goes is seniority, not quality. Was there no one below her to let go first? Or did they get rid of the position completely?

If he's NOT pro-union, you feel that you need to apologize for possibly thinking he might be? Smile

Anyway, SOME unions hold seniority in high esteem. Not all of them. It used to be that management at many (even possibly most) private non-union companies ALSO held seniority in high esteem. Well, I suppose that most of them still do provided that you are also in a high enough level executive position.
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
balducci
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On 2011-07-12 22:00, kcg5 wrote:

Your wife sounds like a wonderful woman. Three cheers for teachers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ditto. I also wish her all the best.
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
landmark
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Rockwall, yes I am pro union and I believe in seniority. It's a fair question, and I take no offense.
With that said, I think Mulgrew negotiated a lousy deal, with evidently no real teeth when it came to the no layoff pledge.
As for the seniority issue, I understand how in theory it seems like there should be some evaluative process that keeps the best. But in fact, there is no such process that is not easily manipulated by administrators who want to do what they want to do. Had there been no seniority protections, Mrs. Landmark could well have been excessed a long time ago. As an experienced teacher, she costs roughly double what a newbie fresh out of college would cost; the administrators just want a warm body in the classroom and would have gladly pitched her over the side a long time ago were it not for seniority rights. The sad part is that the newbies themselves will not get a chance to mature into decent teachers, as they in turn will be replaced by yet newer newbies.
rockwall
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Could have been excessed, would have been excessed. Two different things. In a public job, run by bureaucrats who are only interested in the bottom line, you’re probably right. In a well run private company, interested in the quality of their product and competing with other companies for customers, you would hope that the management would value the best ESL teacher in NY.

I used to manage several teams of programmers. I had many senior programmers who easily made double what the junior programmers made. I was never under pressure to replace them with cheaper, less experienced programmers. They were the sought after jewels that every software development company needed to be competitive. Once in a while, we would hire a younger programmer with less experience who turned out to be a super star. It was critical for our survival that we had the freedom to advance them quickly past less talented developers in order to retain them and get the most out of them.

However, the company went out of business. My personal opinion is that it did so because it was poorly run by the owner/CEO. His repeated missteps and poor decisions finally ran the company into the ground as it should have. I was left without a very well paying job in the middle of the recession that hit after 9/11. I was also getting a little long in the tooth for the video game business and decided to do something different. It was the best thing to happen to me. I hope you and your wife will be able to say the same in a year or two.

Anyway, you asked us to consider some things as to why it was a bad decision by management. (That seemed to be your motivation.) The last, and what seemed to be the most significant reason, was that SHE IS THE BEST ESL TEACHER IN NYC. My question, which I don’t think you answered is, given your position on seniority, why is that significant?

Mike

P.S. And thank you for not taking offense at the question. None was meant.
Magnus Eisengrim
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Interestingly similar story at the Huffington Post.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
landmark
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Good Lord, so it's happening all over the city. Thanks for the find John. Pretty much exactly Mrs. Landmark's story, except for the Missus' greater experience.

Anyone who knows the demographics of the NYC public school system, knows that it's absurd to think that there are fewer students in need of ESL classes; the students are simply reclassified and denied the extra support they need. BTW, ESL classes are not the same as bilingual classes. They are taught in English only, and are to help support the student in gaining a working knowledge of academic English reading, writing, and speaking more quickly. They are exactly the kinds of classes that those who believe that immigrants should be speaking English advocate.

Mike, even in private industry the quality of the employee is not always the first priority. Short term profit taking is often more important to shareholders. A good advertising campaign and sharp business practices often overcome a lousy product (see Microsoft Smile ). I'm not going to hire the best programmers at the highest price, if I can sell more units with just an average programmer and a good advertising campaign and muscle in the marketplace, provided my overall dollar outlay is less, and my profit is greater.

As for seniority and merit, I can't say how it happens in other lines of work, but you don't become the best teacher of anything without having put time into it. There are, unquestionably, people with more aptitude, ability, and talent than others to begin with, but no teacher, including Mrs. L., becomes the best without at least having five years experience in a real classroom in a real school with real students. Which is is not to say that experience alone makes a great teacher, but it is a prerequisite. Any school system that does not recognize this IMO is doomed to fail.

As I said before, I'm sure she'll land on her feet, and her skill will be recognized by those that know a good thing when they see it. But it sure rankles to see tax cuts for millionaires in the city, while education is some kind of abandoned stepchild.
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I suspect that the problem is not that a school system doesn't recognize what makes a teacher great, but rather that there aren't much in the way of incentives for having great teachers. You can't charge more, or significantly increase demand for your product, etc. In a public school, anyway.

Best wishes for a quick rebound.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

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Magnus Eisengrim
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Quote:
On 2011-07-13 11:42, LobowolfXXX wrote:
I suspect that the problem is not that a school system doesn't recognize what makes a teacher great, but rather that there aren't much in the way of incentives for having great teachers. You can't charge more, or significantly increase demand for your product, etc. In a public school, anyway.

Best wishes for a quick rebound.


I don't think monetary incentives would make much difference to teachers. Recognition, better and more one-on-one time with students, schools renovated more than twice/century, etc. would probably make a lot better rewards.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
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