Saturday, October 11, 2008
The DOE Layoff Dilemma
There are rumors going around the education world that New York City may be setting up a layoff list and that layoffs may occur as soon as the Spring semester. It is obvious that the first to be laid off would be school support staff. Teacher's aides, secretaries, school safety, etc. However, for laying off teachers, DOE's dilemma is how to protect the newbie teachers that Tweed has gone out of their way to hire. Unfortunately, for Kleinberg New York State Civil Service & Education Law is quite specific how tenured teachers are to be laid off and there is no way for the DOE to protect the newbies, no matter what they do. To the best of my knowledge the layoff procedure for teachers are as follows:
First, all nontenured teachers are all laid off. No exceptions are allowed.
Second, the most recently tenured teachers are next to be laid off. For example three year tenured teachers are first, then four year tenured teachers, etc, etc. Therefore, the longer the teacher is in the New York City Public School System, the more secure their job is.
It is my understanding that the teacher layoff procedure is not by subject license but by total seniority. Therefore, there could be an over abundance of gym teachers and a shortage of chemistry teachers once the layoffs are finished. That may be unfortunate but that is the way it works. Layoffs by total seniority in the New York City Public Schools.
As you can imagine, this will not go over well with Tweed as they want cheap, newbie teachers who don't question authority over experienced, highly-paid teachers who question idiotic administrative dictates. Therefore, what can we expect from Tweed before they must follow the layoff procedure.
ATRs & Reassigned Teachers: Look for Tweed to start a media blitz complaining how they waste money on ATRs while they must cut the budget. It matters little that the DOE caused this problem and can simply solve it by placing ATRs in the many vacancies that occur during the school year. Spearheading this media blitz will be the Daily News and New York Post with editorials and articles showing the cost of ATRs. As for the reassigned teachers, you can bet that the DOE will propose yet again to put them on unpaid suspension without health benefits. This of course will be rejected by the union as it implies that the accused teacher is presumed guilty and this is not only unfair to the teacher but is un-American and anti-democratic.
Shortage Areas: The DOE will whine about the lack of Math, Science, and Special Education teachers if they follow the layoff procedures. That is just too bad, if the DOE had treated their experienced teachers better, maybe there wouldn't be a shortage of these teachers in the first place.
Union Self-Interest: Klienberg will yell loud and long how the union is unwilling to share the pain by allowing Tweed to get rid of experienced teachers by eliminating tenure, supporting a vastly inferior Tier V pension, and pay more for our health benefits. Of course the same cannot be said at Tweed where the head count and payroll just keeps on increasing.
I can only hope that the Wall Street panic eases and layoffs are not necessary. However, if they are it should be very interesting how Tweed handles it as they are forced to layoff the newbie teachers they spent their time and effort to recruit on their "education on the cheap" policy and "children last" program.