Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Layoff One, Keep Two" Should be Mantra of Proposed Bill

One would expect a very strong response from the UFT to today's NY Times article on a proposed bill to lay off teachers without regards to seniority.

So far we have:

"Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, said that in other cities that had eliminated seniority, like Washington, the rate of teacher turnover had increased, making the system less stable," and “I would like to see something more fruitful to figure out how to avoid the catastrophic cuts." - today's NY Times

It's economics, stupid, not about quality teachers
Sure, that is the reason to oppose the bill. To stop teacher turnover. Why not make the point that if they get rid of every single teacher who makes over 70,ooo they can keep lots more teachers? And why is the DOE still advertizing new jobs? It's time for the UFT to start calling a spade a spade. Call this the BloomKlein version of a "buyout." Just fire all the senior teachers and save a whole lot of money. The "fire one and keep two" plan.

I would hope we would hear something like a message that anyone who supports this bill is dead to us forever. Well, let's give Mulgrew some time, though my hopes are not high.

Leonie Haimson studied the bill and exposed all the evils contained within:

Interestingly, the bill only applies to NYC; not to the rest of the state. Apparently we’re the only school district that needs to choose between rising class sizes and keeping experienced teachers. I love that the DOE now proposes that committees including parents would be allowed to decide the Hobson’s choice of which teachers to fire.

We would essentially be forced into choosing between keeping experienced teachers and reasonably sized classes, given the DOE’s destructive “fair student formula” which requires schools pay for their own staffing out of their own budgets.

Now they want to give us some input, when they have denied us any say in any of the other policies imposed at our children’s schools? In the end, would it be determined by the principal anyway.

As I suspected, the principals will make all the decisions, “after considering the recommendations of a school-based committee” including parents. In other words, parents would have no power except to make recommendations. We know the drill. The Times got it wrong.

The law would also allow the chancellor to lay off all teachers on ATR and in the rubber rooms as well.

I don't think we will see this bill pass but it puts the train on the tracks. We have been saying all along that the UFT/Unity Caucus leadership does not have the militancy to stand up to these onslaughts over the long run and can only fight a holding action that allows some chipping away. We may not be Washington or Detroit yet, but we are heading that way.

We have been saying that the recent UFT elections resulted in electing a new captain of the Titanic with the iceberg 10 feet away. Now it is only 5 feet away and closing fast.

The NY Times article is here

The bill is here:


I put both up on Norms Notes:
Drastic Bill Would Allow Teacher Layoffs Without Seniority


Anonymous said...

I hope you are right about this bill not passing. Because you are definitely right about the spirit of this bill in that the most expensive teachers will be more likely to be let go. I hate to see anyone laid off and it's sad that paying your dues means nothing anymore. I work with mostly veteran teachers who are very good at what they do; their main undesirable quality is that they make too much money.

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Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wonder if Randi planned this to happen.

Think about it. She convinces the members to vote to eliminate the Seniority Transfer in the 2005 contract and to create the open-market transfer where very few senior teachers are hired, but plenty of new teachers (TFA, TFs) would be hired especially principals who can control them.

Fast forward to 2010. In 5 years, the closing of so many schools created the extremely, blotted ATR pool, which is made up of mostly senior teachers. Many of the schools, especially in low-income, social-economically strapped neighborhoods, have a large percentage of the teaching force with less than 6 years in the system.

Now let's look at the new schools with less than 5 years in existence; these schools have almost 80% of the teaching force with less than 4 years in the system. If you look at this well-planned, devious, underhanded, strategy of getting rid of the seniority rule, I truly feel that Randi helped in devising this machiavellian approach to destroying our rights in seniority rule with respect to lay offs. I truly feel that Randi strategically timed it where the issue of seniority rule would be questioned and challenged by politicians during these rough economical times and when she's no longer president of the UFT.

I feel jaded, and all the pieces are falling into place. And these pieces are all pointing to Randi.

What's your thought on this?