It's teacher hunting season!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Great John Liu DOE Audits: School Space Estimates --w/ UPDATE; Use of ATRs

New York City Comptroller John Liu has made some important audits in the past few weeks, as regard to the New York City Department of Education's measurement of the use of school space (lest we use the word, "assessment") and the city's use of teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR).

First was the audit of the use of ATRs.
See Phylissa Cramer's "Comptroller’s audit criticizes city’s handling of ATR pool" at Gotham Schools.
Quick summary, from lede of the story:
The Department of Education could potentially be doing more to help teachers whose positions have been eliminated find new jobs.

That’s one conclusion of an audit conducted by Comptroller John Liu of the DOE’s efforts to help members of the Absent Teacher Reserve, the pool of teachers whose jobs were lost to budget cuts, enrollment changes, or school closures. The audit concluded that the vast majority of ATRs — 95 percent — are working full-time in teaching jobs, but that the department doesn’t maintain data sufficient to conclude whether its efforts to help the teachers find permanent positions are paying off.

Then, there was his audit of the New York City Department of Education "Blue Book" estimates of the use of school space. As the Daily News explains, "The book is used to help determine what neighborhoods need more school buildings as well as space-sharing arrangements."
Gotham News reported:
To evaluate the city’s success at ensuring accurate Blue Book data [calculations of school space use], Liu’s office analyzed entries for 23 schools and found that space assessments for 10 percent of all rooms were incorrect in a way that affected the school’s overall capacity.

The quick summary (from Gotham Schools) of his findings:
The newest audit examines the city’s “Blue Book,” which contains space estimates for each school building. The DOE and the School Construction Authority use the Blue Book to guide how many students can be placed in a school, and how many schools can fit into a building. Critics, including members of the City Council, say Blue Book numbers don’t always reflect reality — for example, suggesting that an additional class could fit into an art room — and that decisions based on them can leave schools crunched for space.

This story has some relevance to teachers, since it relates to how much space the city allots to schools and the measure of capacity utilization. Under utilization is one of several measures by which the city justifies closing or scaling back some schools' operation or student enrollment.
See the full Phyllisa Cramer story at Gotham News.

See the full Rachel Monahan story at the New York Daily News.

Mr. Data Mayor (Bloomberg) really is the fraud when it comes to numbers and managing resources in the New York City schools. He just can't anything right.
New from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) website is: UFT survey finds nearly 7,000 oversize classes as NYC school year opens: An estimated 250,000 students spending all or part of each day in overcrowded classrooms"
The number of classroom teachers has fallen as class sizes have risen. Based on the system’s records, this fall there were 73,784 classroom teachers, compared with 76,127 in 2010; 77,784 in 2009 and 80,649 in 2008.
. . . .
Because arbitrators’ rulings are enforceable in court, the system generally lowers class sizes as hearing dates approach. However, because the hearings are scheduled over a number of weeks, some large classes remain so for weeks; the contract also permits certain exceptions, meaning that some classes remain oversize the entire semester.

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