Wednesday, December 11, 2013
What If The UFT Called Mayor Bloomberg's Bluff In Layimg Off The 4,700 Teachers Back In 2011?
Back in 2011, Mayor Bloomberg threatened to lay off 4,700 teachers as the City was slowly crawling out of the recession. A major part of his threat was to have the law changed on who gets laid off. However, his attempt to change the "last in, first out" (LIFO) failed and if the Mayor had tried to follow through, the New York City schools would have had to eliminate the "cheapest teachers", the "newbies". Once the Mayor lost the LIFO battle, he was not laying off anybody and most people knew that. However, our union "snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory" yet again and caved into the Mayor's demands and eliminated teacher sabbaticals for the 2011-12 school year and allowed the DOE to impose the idiotic and asinine ATR rotation system that saves little money and a wastes a lot of talent. What would have happened if our union had called the Mayor's bluff? Let's look at the two possible scenarios.
Scenario #1: The City would have laid off the 4,700 "newbie teachers" as the layoffs are by seniority ranking. The result would be that principals would have two choices. They could keep the now suddenly vacant positions unfilled but that would severely hurt the students. Or the most likely effect would be to hire the ATRs and demand that the DOE help pay the cost. The result, would be the elimination of the ATR pool and the reintroduction of experienced and in many cases, "quality teachers" back into the classroom. The good part of this is that the ATRs would not be "forced placed" but apply for the positions that they believe they are "a good fit" for as the principals compete to hire the many "quality teachers" to their classrooms.
In this scenario the students win because they are no longer the "guinea pigs" for the many "newbie teachers" who have no clue how to teach and half will leave the teaching profession in five years. Instead the students will thrive under highly experienced teachers with good classroom management skills and deep curriculum knowledge guiding them to academic success,.
Scenario #2: Mayor Bloomberg's layoff bluff is called and he retaliates against the UFT by reducing school budgets, raises class sizes, closes more schools, and refuses to negotiate a contract. Furthermore, he blasts the union and demonizes teachers by refusing to issue tenure and to implement policies to terminate as many teachers as possible. Moreover, he would try to eliminate teacher "due process rights" while lowering the already low morale and making the classroom environment as hostile a place as possible. Finally, he imposes the "education on the cheap "policy that forces principals to hire the "cheapest" and not the "best teachers" for their students.
In this scenario. the students lose because of higher class sizes, lack of resources, and inexperienced teachers who have no classroom management skills or curriculum knowledge. Come to think of it had our union not capitulated to Mayor Bloomberg's bluff, nothing would have changed from scenario #2.. Except we would not have lost our sabbatical rights for a year and the ongoing and ridiculous ATR rotation system that wastes $160 million dollars a year and demoralizes those 2,000 + teachers who must rotate from school to school.
To the union leadership, good job, once again in screwing the members.