Teachers Union Furious As NYC Releases List Of Layoffs
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A plan for possible teacher layoffs was generating plenty of anger Monday. The City Department of Education released a list of thousands of teachers who’ll get the axe unless Albany kicks in more cash.
EXTRA: List Of Proposed Teacher Layoffs (Excel Document)
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The doomsday list details the worst case scenario under the mayor’s current plan to make deep cuts to education. It shows exactly how the planned 6,000 teaching jobs will be eliminated.
Around 1,400 positions will simply go unfilled but 4,600 teachers will be formally laid off. Nine schools will lose up to 70 percent of their teachers. Other schools would be untouched.
Almost no subject will go untouched, with art, gym and music likely taking the hardest hits.
“I don’t know how that process would go. It’s a very scary thing,” said teacher Roberta Rowner back on Feb. 17.
Under the current “last-in-first-out” policy, schools that are new or have recently added a newer crop of teachers will be the hardest hit.
However, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was pushing for a change, lobbying lawmakers in Albany to allow him to lay off teachers based on performance rather than seniority, getting rid of teachers who meet several criteria including an unsatisfactory rating and high absentee rates.
“We’re not trying to hurt anybody. I would love to have more teachers in the classroom rather than fewer,” the mayor said on Feb 17.
The teachers unions were fiercely fighting any change to the seniority system.
“We’re looking at a list that is absolutely designed to cause a lot of fear and panic in schools and communities trying to pit teachers against teachers and community against community, and it’s something that is not needed,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.
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Monday turned into a war of words between Mulgrew and Bloomberg. In the morning outside P.S. 126, Mulgrew accused the mayor of fear mongering and playing politics with the children of New York.
“Knock it off,” Mulgrew said. “Stop playing games, stop politically maneuvering for your own reasons and work with the teachers of this great city.”
“We are not, we are not going to allow the mayor to divide us,” Mulgrew told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer. “We will speak truth to silly, silly, silly political tricks so that someone can do things in Albany that are very, very bad for all of the children and the people and the working families of New York City.”
Bloomberg later fired back saying, “Any time he wants to write us a check to close what is now a $600 million deficit I’d be happy to cash the check and say thank you, then we still would have to find more money to keep the 6,000 teachers that we’re assuming we’ll downsize,” Bloomberg said.
The layoffs will be especially hard at one Brooklyn school where half the staff could be pink slipped, reports Kramer.
As she went from class to class at P.S. 682 in Bensonhurst on Monday Principal Josephine Sportella-Giusto said she is haunted by the fear that half the teachers in her school won’t be there next fall unless seniority rules are changed.
It would just cause havoc among our entire school community. Our parents are invested in our teachers. Our teachers know all the students by first and last names we are a tight community,” Sportella-Giusto said.
The principal’s problem is that when her school opened two years ago half the educators she hired were new teachers, either just out of school or making career changes. They have little seniority.
One of those whose jobs would be lost is Theresa Nguyen, who gave up a marketing career and spent her summer taking special training to teach autistic kids here.
“It doesn’t seem right and it would be very unfortunate, both for the children and for myself. This is actually a second career for me and this is a love that I have. I chose to go into teaching because I have a love of children and to be able to teach them,” Nguyen said.
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