Tell me anything you know about the New York City public school system.
February 18, 2008 10:04 AM   Subscribe

I live in LA and I'm going to a job fair for the NYC public school system (elementary school teacher). What can I say about the NYC public school system that is flattering and makes me sound like I know what's going on within the NYC Dept of Education?

I want to be able to say something like, "I'm really eager to work for the NYC public school system because it is doing a lot of exciting, innovative things to address the needs of its students. Rather than accept mediocrity and underperformance of teachers and students, the NYC schools are doing x, y, and z to improve the quality of education that all students receive."

Basically, I want to be able to say more than just "I really love New York City and I have always wanted to live there. That's why I'm applying for a job there."

Are there any interesting city-wide initiatives, policies, etc. that I can mention or read up on?
posted by HotPatatta to Education (7 answers total)
If the NYC public school system is anything like what it was when I worked there 15 years ago, you really don't need to worry about any of that stuff. They're so desperate for qualified teachers that if you have a degree, no felony convictions, and are willing to pay your dues working in a war zone for a few years, they WILL hire you. Bonus points if you're bilingual, too - you might get your pick of schools to teach in.

You could talk about the fact that because the NYC system is the largest school system in the US, means that it offers the broadest possible choice of career paths in pedagogical and non-pedagogical roles. But, I don't think it'll even come to that.

If you're a special ed teacher, though, you might want to read up on Jose P. v. Mills, which is a court case that pretty much drives every decision made regarding special ed in NYC.
posted by deadmessenger at 11:03 AM on February 18, 2008

Google Bloomberg education initiatives or Joel Klein (education chancellor) iniatives. Lots of stuff you could use in an interview.
posted by extrabox at 11:13 AM on February 18, 2008

Bitch about the Bureau of Supplies- they are corrupt, venal, and incompetent, and the bane of many teacher's (and vendor's) existence. Many teachers- on the usual limited teacher's salaries- are forced to buy their own stuff, rather than deal with the vogonesque forms and process that BofS mandates. The Times archives on this go back until at least 1916, so it's a perennial.
posted by jenkinsEar at 11:44 AM on February 18, 2008

Mod note: a few comments removed - you can use MetaTalk for this sort of thing, both the OP and commenters.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:28 PM on February 18, 2008

The education system in New York has undergone a lot of changes under Bloomberg. As you might know, he took control of the city's schools away from the school board and placed them under his jurisdiction. He raised teacher pay, but (I think-- check me on this) his business-model approach to education and the demands it has placed on teachers haven't gone over too well with the teachers' unions.

I imagine that if you can demonstrate past flexibility with bureaucratic changes and a general attitude of accommodation and being able to "roll with the punches," that would help. (But I also agree with deadmessenger-- as long as you don't kill a kitten during the interview, you'll probably be fine.)

Also, the Public Advocate's office has a number of reports about the city schools, though I suspect that they're more critical than what you might find on the mayor's office website, which probably has more "rah-rah NYC schools" stuff.

Best of luck with the interview!
posted by chickletworks at 3:44 PM on February 18, 2008

Response by poster: They offered me the job.
posted by HotPatatta at 6:47 AM on March 15, 2008

posted by jessamyn at 8:42 AM on March 15, 2008

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