Job-hunting educators have long held New York City as an enticing location because of its historically high need for teachers. But, according to The New York Times, a new city-wide policy requiring schools to hire public school teachers internally may leave many otherwise-qualified candidates out in the cold.
In an effort to cut costs and avoid teacher layoffs, the city department of education recently ordered principals to hire only internally—including from a pool of teachers “whose jobs have been eliminated and many who have earned unsatisfactory ratings.” Hard-to-staff positions like speech therapy and bilingual special education, schools that opened in the past two years, and charter schools are exempt from the hiring restrictions.
The decision is particularly tough for current job applicants, recent education school graduates, Teach for America members, and the New York Teaching Fellows alternative-certification program. In 2008, the city hired 5,725 educators, almost 1800 of which were from TFA or Teaching Fellows. This year they estimate fewer openings, and have made a promise to hire only half as many TFA or Teaching Fellows as last year.
Aida Sanchez, a student at Teachers College at Columbia University who hopes to teach children in Harlem, Washington Heights or the Bronx, found the news discouraging. “I am really eager to go in the teaching direction,” she said. “Now it’s kind of like you really don’t know where you’re going to be.”
Sanchez isn’t alone. Pam Ritchie, a substitute teacher in Brooklyn had hoped to use the connections she’s built up to get a full-time teaching position. “This was a pretty big bomb that dropped … I’m devastated.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.