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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Vitti's transfer idea asks teachers to buy the Brooklyn bridge

I may have went with Swampland. From a reader:

 The Brooklyn Bridge for Sale

Transfer season is upon us at last. One of the intriguing options is the partnership with JPEF and corporate donors to take a huge bonus and move to a struggling school in the hope of a turnaround. The goal is to entice the district’s high performers to agree to work in the lowest performing school. Miracles will happen is the thought.

Allow me to list the details before I explain why I will not pay a slick salesman to own the Brooklyn Bridge.

1.       At the targeted schools, current teachers who stay will receive a salary supplement of $20,000 the first year. I have no problem with that. They have a hard job, have put in many uncompensated hours at night, early morning, and on the weekend.
2.       Transferring teachers will receive a salary supplement of $17,000. I have no problem with the fact that they will receive less than the incumbent teachers. The incumbents have worked hard for years, and as our veterans in our most challenging schools, they deserve tangible recognition.
3.       However, this superintendent-described supplement as life-changing is for the FIRST year only. Teachers will not continue to earn the supplement unless their statistical measure, their VAM, meets or exceeds district-partner set levels.
4.       The supplement will fall to 50% or 0% the following years based upon the numbers.

Here is the problem. The District demands a three-year commitment from the teacher, yet only commits to one year on the money.

Don’t think that is put too crassly—the money is the point of the program. Offer enough bucks, and anyone will jump.

VAM may work for baseball players, but it does not make sense for teachers. There are too many variables for any formula to capture. You might as well try to mathematically define the ideal of beauty shared by all human cultures.

This is a “lifestyle-changer?” No, I would not upgrade into a new house or buy a new car if multi-year payments are involved. There is no guarantee beyond the first year. If the measure of teacher success made sense, like 1.5 or 2 times the defined 1-year learning gains, I might go for it. But the program, as described in the information sent to teachers this week, makes me decide to take a pass.


  1. I completely agree. If the money was guaranteed for 3 years, I might have considered it.

  2. I would never consider it; any sane person would recognize that moving teachers is just a shell game. I am at a struggling school right now, and there are good and bad teachers with a range of VAM scores; however, the students deal with issues that no one or group of teachers can fix in 3 years or less. Plus, Vitti is talking out of 2 sides of his mouth as he keeps funneling money to TFA, which promotes the hiring of the newest, least committed in the long run, teachers.