Friday, June 4, 2010

Reasons to do school pickets this morning and go to Tweed this afternoon to give out pink slips

People started calling yesterday asking if today's school pickets and visit to Tweed after school were off and I said HELL NO!

First, do you really believe there will be no layoffs for sure? Already this morning we are hearing a different tune from some newscasts and we also hear about big cuts to schools that may force excessing - that means big growth in ATRs since these teachers are not automatically placed. Is that the plan all along? Use the ATR situation and use the massive hedge fund money to create a witchhunt for ATRs as the cause of the mess?

Next are the stories circulating about the outrageous raises given to Tweedies in the midst of budget cuts to schools and layoff threats to teachers.

Department of Ed doles out $340K worth of raises to 45 people as city plans to freeze salaries

Also see this post from Leonie Haimson which nails them. The only thing I question is the issue of to what extent the UFT actually has to agree to anything. (See James Eterno discuss this at the ICE blog.)

Many of you have probably heard by now that the mayor has decided to cancel teacher raises in order to prevent layoffs.

There are a few problems however. First, the UFT has not agreed to this deal. Second, the mayor still plans substantial budget cuts to schools, leading to the elimination of 2,000 teaching positions, which will cause big increases in class size – as well as the loss of core programs.

School budgets have already been slashed to the bone in recent years, by 12% since 2007, according to the Daily News. Since 2001, the headcount at Tweed has expanded from 1,749 to 2,267. The Chancellor’s staff not only received big raises recently, but he also added four new Deputies at an expense of half a million dollars.

All this is to say that the battle is not yet won.

Participate in your school’s protest today; join us at Tweed at 4:30 PM to protest Chancellor’s determination to sacrifice our kids in favor of high-paid administrators, and then come to the UFT on Saturday from 1-4 PM, to ask your State Senator to support our schools.

Where: 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. (2/3/4/5 to Wall St ; 1/R/W to Fulton , or J/M/Z to Broad.)

And don’t be fooled by the young staffers hired by the hedge fund operators at Education Reform Now, who are using this crisis to try to persuade PTAs to back their campaign to eliminate seniority protections from teachers.

There are only two observable, quantifiable factors that have been shown through research to lead to more effective teaching, over and over again: experience and smaller classes.

Parents whose children attend private school or public schools in the suburbs don’t have to choose between these two critical factors; and we shouldn’t have to either.

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