Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What Mike must get from teachers

Carol Kellerman with a brilliant Op Ed in the NY Post about what needs to be changed in NYC.  I had no idea that the layoffs-by-seniority system was systemwide – what an outrage!

* Kill the "last in, first out" rule -- which requires, in the case of layoffs, that the most recently hired teachers, no matter how good, be laid off first. It makes no sense to spend time and resources recruiting new teachers and then require that the newest teachers be fired first, without regard to merit, in tough economic times.

There is a broad consensus that the worst-performing schools should be closed. But when school closings mean the loss of teaching jobs, state law requires that layoffs take place on a "last in, first out" basis systemwide. In other words, teachers at other schools with less seniority must be laid off before teachers in the poorest-performing schools.

This means that teachers in the worst schools would be retained if they have sufficient seniority and added to the "Absent Teacher Reserve." From there they might find other teaching jobs within the system. If not, they'd be paid at taxpayer expense for the rest of their careers. Meanwhile, schools that are working well would have to lose some of their newer teachers.

It's a mind-boggling system -- designed to protect the worst-performing teachers, rather than the students and taxpayers.

Teachers should be judged on the basis of their performance, just as are other workers across the nation. The school system should be designed to provide the best education possible for its students -- not to put job security ahead of education.

It's time for the United Federation of Teachers and the Legislature to support these needed reforms. And taxpayers should remember that, if the mayor has to resort to layoffs, the current rules mean it won't be the worst teachers who get laid off but the newest teachers -- and some of the worst-performing teachers will be taking their jobs.


What Mike must get from teachers

Last Updated: 2:32 PM, February 4, 2010

 Subscribe in a reader