Yesterday, the New York City Department of Education released a list of the number of teachers each school in the city would dismiss if the state’s seniority-based layoff policies persist, according to the New York Times. In all, 4,675 teachers, or 6 percent of the city’s active teaching staff, would be laid off. Eighty percent of schools would be affected, and nine schools would lose half of their teaching staff, reports the Times.
The list appears to be more of a publicity stunt than an immediate threat. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is attempting to garner parents’ support for his call to end “last-in-first-out” layoffs, in favor of basing layoffs on factors such as performance and disciplinary records. Natalie Ravitz, spokesperson for the education department, called the LIFO policy “‘an arbitrary standard’ that punishes schools that have chosen to hire teachers who are new to the profession,” reports the Times.
President of the United Federation of Teachers, Michael Mulgrew, claimed the list was “a political maneuver to create panic” among parents and educators. “That’s how the mayor works now,” he said.
In a (characteristically) sarcastic post, blogger NYC Educator slams the mayor for trying to get rid of the “objective layoff system.” LIFO, he writes:
...circumvents racism, nepotism, ageism, undue favoritism and the very cronyism that elevated utterly unqualifed Cathie Black to chancellor of the largest school system in the state. The bill in the Senate and Assembly [proposed by Bloomberg to end seniority-based layoffs] would enable all of the above, despite its nonsensical presentation.
Michael Daly at the New York Daily News points to Gregg Breinberg, the chorus director at Staten Island’s Public School 22, whose students were featured at the 83rd annual Academy Awards last night, as one reason for ending LIFO. Breinberg, now a veteran teacher, was “just as brilliant back in 2002" as a junior teacher when his students gave a post-9/11 performance. Yet if he was a new teacher now, “Gregg Breinberg might be in danger of getting laid off due to the cuckoo ‘last in, first out’ law,” writes Daly.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.