Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Will The Bloomberg Administration's Hiring Freeze Be A "Game Changer" For Hiring ATRs Into Existing Vacancies?
Yesterday, the Bloomberg Administration announced a total hiring freeze of new City employees as well as an across the board reduction of 2% for this fiscal year and an additional 6% cut next fiscal year. Apparently, this hiring freeze overrides the relaxation of the previous hiring freeze by the DOE over the summer. Moreover, the new citywide hiring freeze also applies to the so-called shortage areas of Physical Science, ESL, and Special education teachers, and principals can no longer request an exemption to hire an outside teacher. What is unknown is whether the hiring freeze will affect the new small schools that could recruit 40% of their teaching staff from the outside (almost all "newbie teachers") and the Chancellor's proposed middle school incentive that will replace 50% of the existing teaching force in the 50 targeted schools by using the entire "2012 recruiting class of "Teaching Fellows". The Chancellor's comments was reported in Gotham Schools, that the hiring freeze is total and no new staff can be hired from outside the DOE. Of course, let's see what happens during the summer of 2012 when the new schools hiring and the Chancellor's initiative goes into effect?
If we are to assume that the DOE will not allow any exceptions to the citywide hiring freeze (knowing the Mayor and his poodle, the Chancellor, an admittedly unlikely assumption, especially as the summer of 2012 approaches and look for a new LIFO bill from the Mayor) it may be a real "game changer" for the 2,000 ATRs. Already some "newbie teachers" are fleeing the classroom. In my friend's high school, two "Teaching Fellows" have already left the school leaving eight science classes uncovered and the Principal told my friend that he cannot find replacements for the classes. When my friend reminded him that there are ATRs who are Science teachers, the Principal frowned and said he might have no choice but hire from the ATR pool. With the hiring freeze, this scenario should be the rule with principals having little choice but to place ATRs in their vacancies.
The real question is whether the Bloomberg Administration will require the DOE to abide by the hiring freeze or will they allow the DOE to insert loopholes that make a hiring freeze meaningless. Only time will tell.
That leaves the union's role in this. The union most shake off their apathy about the ATR crises and demand, through the media, that all vacancies must be filled by ATRs to save money and ensure that a "quality teacher" is in the classroom. Furthermore, require that DOE to become fiscally responsible by cutting the Administrative bloat at Tweed and making sure that no outside consultants are hired during this time of fiscal constraints. It is up to our union to put the DOE's "feet to the fire" to ensure the dwindling resources are spent in the classroom and not on the already bloated Central Bureaucracy.