What's Richard Mills Smoking?

    For many years we have called for the resignation of NY State Commissioner Richard Mills to resign for so many reasons there's no room on the entire web to list them. Aside from his rigid testing schedule and the fact that he was the culprit show issued the waiver for Joel Klein to become Chancellor, the total mismanagement of the Roosevelt LI schools under his stewardship (NY State took over only one school district and totally screwed that up) should be sufficient reason alone.

    But we never realized that Mills is also a comedian, as witness the following, with my comments in bold italics:

    Due to shortages of certified teachers in NYC
    State Education Commissioner Richard Mills is pushing for a bill to allow retired teachers to go back into the classroom for up to five years without endangering their retirement pay and would not cost taxpayers anything The Journal News in Rockland County reported on May 28th.

    "We have teaching shortages in many parts of the state, in New York City," Mills said. "Between 11 and 20 percent of the teaching assignments in English (in New York City) are held by people without certification in English."

    Federal law requires that students be taught by highly qualified teachers - in New York, that means, among other things, teachers with certifications in the subjects they are teaching. The reason is that children learn better if their teachers know what they are teaching, and children who learn do well on the tests that each public school child in the country now takes from third through eighth grade. Schools, school districts and educators are judged by how well their children do on the tests, so getting children the best teachers is good all around.

    Usually, experience counts when it comes to teachers. [Has Mills spoken to BloomKlein lately?] Veteran teachers know all the tricks, have seen and worked with the different educational fads, have hours of extra training and a wealth of ideas that have worked in the past to get their subject across to each new class of children. [But unfortunately often insist that the contract be followed and know immediately when a principal is a bullshitter in over his/her head.]

    Veteran teachers also cost a district more than newer teachers, and districts often try to balance experience against cost when planning each year's budget. [Ahh! Someone neglected to tell UFT leaders who have allowed seniority rules protecting teachers to be decimated.]

    A district with budget worries can offer veteran teachers a retirement package, clearing the way for younger, cheaper labor. And in the past decade, hundreds of teachers locally and thousands statewide have taken the packages. [They haven't been clued in to how to avoid these packages - Get a compliant union to agree to changes in work rules that allow administrators to force out the highest paid teachers.]

    Retired teachers are paid slightly more than 60 percent of their last three years' salary, and cannot earn more than $30,000 a year teaching in a public school in New York or risk permanent cuts to their retirement payments.

    Teachers interested in supplementing their retirement can teach in neighboring states without jeopardizing their pensions. Many in this area retire in New York and start a career in New Jersey.

    Mills wants to change that, to allow veteran teachers to come back to districts in need educationally and allow them to be in the classroom up to five years at the going salary, without putting their pensions at risk.

    "There is a serious shortage," he said. "This is a good time to do it. It should be easier for a certified teacher who's retired to come back without penalty to their pension in shortage fields and hard-to-staff schools."

    [Mills should go on the road with his act. and take the hordes of teachers who counted the seconds 'till they got out of the system since BloomKlein took over.]

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What's Richard Mills Smoking?

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