A new national teacher survey about compensation, class sizes, and school leadership is looking for insight from New York City.
The city Department of Education is one of five large urban districts that have opened up their email Rolodexes to The New Teacher Project for a study about teacher recruitment and retention. The nonprofit group, which runs the city's Teaching Fellows programs and studies teacher job markets around the country, sent the voluntary, 30-minute survey to about 68,000 of the city's 80,000 teachers and one large charter school network.
The 50-question survey — which one teacher sent us in a series of screenshots, above — asks teachers what would make them want to work in, or remain in, a high-needs school.
The survey is a first step in TNTP's efforts to produce a followup to "The Widget Effect," according Dan Weisberg, a TNTP vice president who used to be the DOE's chief labor negotiator. The influential 2009 report urged school districts to revamp teacher evaluations based on survey responses of 15,000 teachers from 12 districts across five states (New York City was not among them).
Now, dozens of states, including New York, are in the process of overhauling teacher evaluations. Weisberg said this year's survey is the next step toward figuring out how to place the most effective teachers in classrooms with the neediest students.
Teachers unions, school district officials, and lawmakers have all weighed in on New York State's Race to the Top application with varying degrees of skepticism and enthusiasm, but few have given any thought to the legal issues behind the experiment.
Last night, students at Columbia Law School held a panel discussion on Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's competitive grant program that, in its first round, will award several states hundreds of millions of dollars to adopt the Obama administration's education policies. The question put before the panel is one any federal initiative like Race to the Top is apt to bring up: Is this experiment stepping too heavily on states' policy toes?
The panelists included Marcus Winters, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Deborah Meier, a columnist for Education Week, James Liebman, a law school professor and the NYC Department of Education's former accountability chief, Richard Iannuzzi, president of the state teachers union, and Dan Weisberg, a vice president at The New Teacher Project.