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Most teachers at high schools in South Boston, Brighton laid off

Unhappy teachers at Excel High School

Unhappy Excel teachers with pink slips. Photo by Rajeeve Martyn.

The Herald reports 90% of the teachers at Excel High School and and Brighton High School will be let go as of March 1 - although they will be allowed to re-apply for their jobs - as BPS tries to right the schools, which have struggled with test scores.

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What's the point of laying off the teachers in the middle of the school year if the problem is due to test scores?

Does BPS bring in a bunch of substitutes?

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I think the issue is that if they wait until the end of June to start rebuilding the school staff, they'll only 6 weeks to get it done and a total reboot needs more time. It's more about getting the ball rolling (I think)

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It's possible they weren't laid off today but rather told today that their positions would be terminated effective June 1st.

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The entire teaching staff is let go at the end of the year, but they are all given pink slips today.

They can rehire up to 40% of the staff.

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Are they somewhat neighborhood based like K-5 schools or more city wide?

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art classrooms?

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Nice. Made my day.

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at many schools years ago.

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Pretty much all K-5 schools have an art teacher and I believe that it's available in all the middle schools and high schools as an elective.

Which BPS schools don't offer art?

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City wide, but East Boston residents are basically guaranteed a seat at East Boston High if they want it and apply in the 1st round.

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Rehire teachers if they can pass being re-vetted. Just fire the incompetent and/or lazy administrators and all the political hacks.

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Do the teachers who get laid off get unemployment benefits?Do laid off teachers loose there jobs or do they still get paid for not teaching in certain schools? Are seniority, veterans status, diversity,gender taken into consideration for the list of teachers being laid off?

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Are seniority, veterans status, diversity,gender taken into consideration for the list of teachers being laid off?

because that would be discrimination

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In general when union employees are laid off, more senior employees can "bump" less senior employees who are not laid off and in lower pay-grade positions.

In this case with an entire school is being deorganized because of failing school status, that might not apply.

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Not that kind of pool.

My understanding is that they still get paid by BPS but are unassigned until they get a new position within the district or find work elsewhere. A lot of these people will probably end up back at the same school but this move allows the district to more freely rearrange staffing without having to worry about existing obligations in terms of assignments, seniority at the school, etc...

I think.

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Is gender being considered in terms of layoffs? Are you kidding? In k-12 education the playing field has been level for a long time.

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The 'pool' is named the 'Excess Pool' where laid off teachers- both competent and incompetent- are assigned pending an employment offer/ assignment.

Trouble is many incompetent ones are foisted on unsuspecting/non-connected principals. I know of a half dozen teachers who were 'excessed' in the last 10 years, then hired, only to be excessed again when they rise to the level of their incompetence in the new setting. I think action (termination!) should be taken on teachers that are not wanted by multiple principals.

Also perfectly competent ones caught in layoffs are branded as 'Excess' - a negative connotation.

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Nice picture, but I have a hard time feeling sympathy. If you fail to perform your job then you should be removed from the position. I had so many shitty teachers all through high school, but it seemed like it was impossible for them to be removed because they had been at it for decades. Do your job or find a new one better suited to you.

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Your last sentence contains a phrase that's owned by the New England Patriots, and the Department of Homeland Security is actively chasing down those who use it without a license.

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lol'd irl

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do not necessarily correlate with the competency of teachers. There are many factors that come into play, including demographics.

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There are many factors that come into play, including demographics.

I will bet you one crisp dollar bill, Brother Duke, that we can switch the faculty of the best high school in the state with the faculty of the worst high school in the state and the SAT scores of each school will remain statistically unchanged.

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So you're saying that black and Hispanic kids can't be expected to learn. You and your thumbs up buddies. Nice.

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Or that tests aren't good ways to judge learning especially for students without white cultural backgrounds

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who had a series of awful teachers in school (like, abusive personalities or gross incompetence that meant their mere presence in the classroom was detrimental to the children there) I fully support making sure all teachers are competent and effective in their job positions.

That said, a huge portion of learning is the student's responsibility, and the student's family's responsibility. If a child is not ready or able to learn, due to internal or external factors, then the teacher can be competent and effective and still not make a dent in the student's learning. Obviously, there are a lot of complicated reasons for these different factors that make a child less ready or able to learn that aren't easily undone, and it is not fair to blame teachers for the failing performance from a child who's struggling because they have issues in their personal life that are beyond the teacher's ability to help.

Why would a teacher agree to teach a population of students who may be facing more challenges, if the schools are going to blame them for the challenges the students face that are well outside their control?

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And what a rotten assumption on your part that the teachers are not doing their jobs.

Sorry you had a terrible experience, but I know a few of the teachers from one of the schools and they are dedicated and care deeply about the welfare of their students. Something that sadly cannot be said for some of their parents.

These kids are in bad situations and sometimes school is all they have.

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The city and state are once again blaming an entire staff for all of the issues in a school. So they lay off the staff, hire new administrators and hope it works. Check the Dever and McCormack to see how that works.
The city knows early on what schools are in trouble, but does nothing. Then when state takeover is imminent they make wholesale changes. Perhaps if they brought in the extra resources earlier they could avoid the major disruption that a full scale staff replacement causes.
Also, what is always missing from any discussion of failing schools is the students. What services and support do they need to help them succeed. Swapping the faculty does not address the needs of the students, it is at best a quick Band-Aid that allows the State Board took claim that they did something.
The lowest rated districts according to the2016 School Accountability Report are : Lawrence, Holyoke, Springfield, New Bedford and Fall River. Is it reasonable to think that those towns have some how managed to find and hire every bad teacher and administrator. Whereas towns like Belmont, Carlisle, Masconomet and Westwood, all rated at level 1, hire all the good teachers.

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To answer your question: yes, Belmont is more likely to get first pick of the top tier of "good teachers", while Lawrence is more likely to hire whoever's left.

That that Lawrence is bad at making hiring decisions. They are just less likely to attract talent.

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Masconomet is not a town.

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Isn't it what you put in a cannoli?

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Blame the teachers. Always blame the teachers. Rinse, repeat. Blame them for all of society's ills that these kids walk into the building every day with. I'm sure this will work since it's (never) worked any other time they've tried it.

What a scam.

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Isn't this part a Leave No Child Behind problem and part a teacher contract problem? Both make it very difficult for schools to deal with hiring/firing issues. So the schools are left to deal with it however they can. And that may mean pink slips in February. If the unions would allow greater ability to get rid of bad teachers then the good ones wouldn't suffer like this. Lost in all of this is often the students. What we should do is have year round school 8 - 5 pm. There's literally no reason to have school end at 3 pm or summers off anymore. Tests scores would rise whereas right now the kids lose ground every summer. That would also weed out the teachers who just get in it for the summers off.

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Until the issues of poverty are addressed in our city and society at large, urban education will always experience challenges that are not seen in suburban, especially affluent, districts. BPS serves around 4,000 homeless students... 7% of our student population. 70% of BPS students come from economically disadvantaged homes. That means 7 out of 10 children experience some form of food, shelter or job insecurity. Most research shows a family's economics as the single best predictor of academic success. This isn't a simple case of bad teachers, or lazy families, these are real students who struggle without food to fuel their brains and bodies, adequate shelter for protection, heat to stay warm, money to pay for Internet or laptop to complete homework, sometimes adults to help with homework or supervision (b/c they're working 2 jobs; or can't read English). Meanwhile we have teachers who work in schools that are falling apart, lack money to provide laptops for a class of computers, students share textbooks that are 30 years old, run out of paper by the end of the year, sacrifice true teaching time to do test prep, must be the general education/special needs/English as a second language teacher (yes, BPS says you must be alll 3 of those!) and deal with students who have behavioral issues due to trauma (loss, violence, financial hardship) in schools where budgets have been slashed but Central Office still hires and works in a BEAUTIFUL $30 million dollar technologically advanced building most teachers will never see.
Until we recognize the role poverty plays in the barriers to our students trully succeeding, shame on our society. Stop blaming the teachers and work on real solutions.

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and "A" just dropped the mic with that post!

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They are the best teachers at my school. They have taught me to overcome my language barriers and help me to enter one of the 30 top universities in the country - Boston College. I am really upset with the BPS decision. MCAS score should never be a problem. It should be just a recommendation for teachers to improve their teaching plan. They have been always side by side with every student since freshman year. Dear god, just stop blaming our teachers for the score. Blaming the budget!!! Why does the district never give us any funding when Excel ranked 3 but wait until we rank 4 and give us the funding? Please ask us - the students - before deciding anything because we are the one who understands the education system the most.

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