Thursday, March 03, 2011

LIFO rule will undo the math

This NY Post article shows how LIFO will hurt new, small schools which are saving kids in NYC's poorest neighborhoods:

The "last in, first out" law requiring that teachers be laid off based on seniority over merit could put a bull's-eye on the newer staffs at more than 200 small city schools opened in recent years to bolster student achievement.

One of them is the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science in The Bronx, which opened in 2004 and covers grades six through 12. This year, AMS will celebrate its first graduating class, with 95 percent of students expected to earn diplomas in the spring, and 80 percent going to college.

Intel honored AMS as one of its schools of distinction nationwide in 2009 for middle-school math. In the last three years, the school earned two B's and an A on its progress report card.

It boasts a 95 percent attendance rate and high parental involvement.

But if budget cuts force layoffs, LIFO could gut AMS's teaching staff and potentially undermine the school's hard-earned success, said founding Principal Kenneth Baum.

Of his 47 teachers, 28 -- 60 percent -- have been in the classroom for three years or less. Nine are first-year teachers. Baum would be forced to take in more veteran teachers to replace them.

That's unjust and unwise, Baum said.

"I have some terrific veteran teachers and terrific new teachers. I'd like to keep all my wonderful teachers, regardless of how long they've been in the school," he said.

AMS is located in the Bathgate academic complex in America's poorest congressional district. A nonscreened school, it enrolls mostly kids from nearby neighborhoods. About 60 percent of the 590 students are Hispanic and 30 percent are black. More than 90 percent are poor enough to be eligible for free or reduced lunch, and more than one-quarter have special needs or are not fluent in English.


LIFO rule will undo the math


Last Updated: 9:23 AM, February 21, 2011

 Subscribe in a reader