Before Michael Bloomberg became Mayor of New York City, the teaching profession was treated with respect, even if the previous Mayors weren't especially thrilled with the UFT's demands at the negotiating table. Principals were long-term teachers who gradually found themselves as administrators and, for the most, part collaborated with the school staff. The Chancellor was an educator and worked with the schools to ensure they had a solid core of veteran teachers while the DOE funded the school staff based upon units and not salary to ensure the principals could hire the experienced teachers, who mastered classroom management and had deep curriculum knowledge. This allowed the school to keep a stable teaching staff and teacher turnover remained low. Struggling schools in deep poverty communities were kept open and provided with additional services to help the schools, with mixed success and their was no ATR pool as excessed teachers were given a list of vacancies in their district to select before principals could hire outside the district to fill their vacancies.
Fast forward to the Bloomberg years and everything changed for the worst for teachers. First, school funding was changed from units to salary and was dumped upon the school budget. The result was that principals, were encouraged to hire the "cheapest and not the best teachers" for their schools. Moreover, under Michael Bloomberg, 162 schools were closed and few veteran teachers were hired from the closing school as the "fair student funding" (fsf) penalized principals financially from hiring them. The result was a pool of excessed veteran teachers called the ATR pool that ranged from 1,000 to 2,000 yearly. To make matters even worse, the fsf for each school was not fully funded and in 2010-11 school year was only 82% of full funding. The exceptions were the Bloomberg small schools who received 100% and some as much as 150% of their fsf. What other negative changes did Michael Bloomberg impose on teachers during his tenure? Here's a list"
- Eliminate most on-street parking placards.
- Close almost all high school teacher cafeterias.
- Reduced our TDA interest from 8'25% to 7%.
- No longer able to grieve a letter to the file.
- Ever increasing class sizes in his third term.
- Closing schools and excessing teachers - ATR pool.
- Redirect taxpayer money to charter schools and under resourcing public schools.
- Attacking teacher morale and autonomy.
- The leadership academy for principals
- Short-changing Science programs (5-1 to 4-1).
There was great hope that with a new Mayor would come a new DOE, except the Mayor hired a Bloomberg era Deputy Chancellor, Carmen Farina as Chancellor of the NYC public schools. She kept 80% of the Bloomberg era policymakers and not surprisingly, kept the Bloomberg education programs as well. The only changes Chancellor Carmen Farina has made was to eliminate the useless and money suching "Children First Networks" and stopped closing struggling schools. However, she has retained most of the Bloomberg era policies like fsf and the ATR pool, just to name two.
If we are to see real improvement in the schools then we need to get rid of the destructive Bloomberg policies and the Chancellor along with it.