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NYC Principals Not Keeping Their Best Teachers, Says Report

The new study recommends teacher merit pay and better evaluations systems to retain the best and the brightest

School districts are not retaining their best teachers as well as they should be, and as a result, the strongest teachers are just as likely as weak teachers to leave their schools after five years, says “The Irreplaceables,” a study by the New Teacher Project released on Monday.

According to the report, the nation’s 50 largest school districts lose 10,000 of these high-performing – “irreplaceable” – teachers every year, while one in 10 classrooms is still led by an experienced, but low-performing teacher.

The study also found that two-thirds of the best teachers had not been asked to stay at their schools by the principal, but also that principals rarely asked weak teachers to leave.

The New Teacher Project recommends teacher merit pay and better evaluations systems, as well as an evaluation of principals and how well they retain their best teachers.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott applauded the findings, releasing a joint statement:

“The study released today by TNTP – and which New York City participated in – confirms that school districts across the country must do more to keep great teachers in our classrooms. That’s exactly why we have offered to add a $20,000 annual stipend to the salaries of teachers who are rated highly effective for two consecutive years.

"Earlier this month, President Obama also outlined a bold plan to pay exceptional teachers an annual stipend. Unfortunately, the United Federation of Teachers continues to stand in the way of these incentives, which New York City public school teachers deserve. It’s time for the union to work with us so that our irreplaceable teachers can take full advantage of these and other opportunities.”

In response, Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers – which opposes merit pay and – shot back with criticism of the mayor, according to the New York Daily News.

“It’s a shame that the mayor, who thinks merit pay is the solution to every problem, has chosen to ignore one of this report’s central findings — that poor school cultures and working conditions drive away great teachers,’” Mulgrew said.

jerry G July 31, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Statistics and results are always lied about when monetary rewards are involved. The C.E.O. of every financial institution lied about the profits their companies were making so that their bonuses for their companies profits would soar, what do you know the entire US economy was made from fake profits. So now you want to base our educational system on phoney statistics to give some teacher a bonus that her friend the principal helped her get. Wise up, less students in each class so that kids can get more attention is what is needed. parents who care enough to study and drill their children on math tables is what is neede, not more corrupt bonuses
Isabel August 01, 2012 at 03:35 AM
I agree with the above comments about the dangers of merit pay. It definitely increases the temptation for teachers to cheat on the tests since their eligibility is based on those scores. Just in the last few months, the local media has been full of stories of principals and teachers cheating due to the high stakes involved with these standardized tests. Teachers are already devoting a mind & soul-crushing amount of time to test prepping kids -- do we really want to encourage even MORE of this?
Bee August 01, 2012 at 06:18 AM
Merit pay has been tried before in NYC and was an abject failure. If Bloomberg really wanted to retain good teachers, he would stop vilifying teachers. He should stop trying to replace experienced teachers with inexperienced and unqualified Teach for America teachers. He should stop this destructive high stakes testing insanity, and let teachers actually teach.
Rudy August 01, 2012 at 04:48 PM
The most important job in America Rudy
Julie W August 02, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Some teachers are better than other teachers. It's clear in most schools who is exemplary, who is average, and who is poor. It's got nothing to do with gifts to the principal. Better teachers deserve to be rewarded for that. Poor teachers should be removed so that they stop holding back the progress of kids. The report is clear that poor teachers who are experienced are less effective than average new teachers, and that even when they improve, they are not as effective as the average. So they should not be allowed to hold back dozens or even hundreds of kids, depending on the length of their career. As a teacher, I think the report is absolutely accurate. It's not about the parents, or the class sizes, or the food stamps. It's about the teacher. And only the best deserve to teach our students.

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