Monday, June 07, 2010

PS6 email

The unions are rapidly losing support across the country among wealthier (and more influential) families thanks to the layoffs-solely-by-seniority policy that, while it hits schools serving low-income, minority students the hardest, affects nearly every school to some extent.  A friend with kids at one of the best public schools in NYC, PS 6 (located on 81st and Madison), recently received this email sent to all parents by the school's PTA (emphasis added):


As you all know, the state's budget is in crisis.  With a $5 billion deficit, Governor Paterson is proposing a $1.3 billion reduction to our city's funding, and the financial implication to our city's public schools is dire.  To address this budget cut, Mayor Bloomberg is proposing to lay-off 6,400 public school teachers and 300 classroom aides. 
While the issue of budgets is still in flux, due to the inability of state leaders to approve the state's budget and the outstanding proposal before Congress right now, proposing $23 Billion in aid to our country's public school system, one thing is certain – that the public schools and teachers, in particular, are being targeted.  Current plans call for all NYC DOE teachers hired since 2007 to be let go.  Fifteen states, including New York and California, now operate under union-backed state laws mandating that seniority, or "last in/first out," determines layoffs, and this means that on June 15th, as many as fifteen of our head teachers will be issued pink slips.
If state and/or federal aid is not forthcoming, these emergency layoffs will be carried out.  Unfortunately for these teachers, they will not be protected due to tenure - they will simply lose their jobs, lose their income and benefits, and lose any chance of finding a new job in this state.  Our children will lose beloved teachers, and the happily-functioning community the administration has worked so hard to create in the past several years will be dealt a blow.   Our administration will need to hire teachers in the excess pool and given their seniority over our newer teachers and our own budget woes, we will only be able to fill 11 or 12 of those newly empty positions. This equates to roughly 2 new teachers in every grade next year at PS 6.  Having so many new teachers at one time would be disruptive and could compromise our children's education as the administration works to bring these teachers up to speed on our school, our philosophies and our curriculum.


It's sad but true that the unions can do things that completely screw kids in the outer boroughs of NYC and not much happens politically, but when they start messing with Upper East Side parents, all hell breaks loose – for example, see this:


May 10, 2010, 6:01 pm

Union and City Extend Deal on Teacher Assistants


The city's teachers' union and the Education Department have extended their deal to permit the use of classroom aides whose salaries are paid by parent groups.

After a complaint from the United Federation of Teachers last summer about the parent-paid aides, who make less than aides who are part of the union and hired through regular channels, the city ordered an end to the practice. The aides were most commonly found in schools where parents could raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.

But parents cried foul, saying the assistants were a necessity rather than a luxury. So the city and union reached a deal that allowed the aides to continue working in the schools, with their salaries paid for by parent donations, earning $12.30 an hour, with no benefits.

The deal has now been renewed for another year, with a new stipulation stating that the assistants – formally called Parent Association Teachers Aides — cannot serve as substitute teachers in the school where they are aides.

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