June 6, 2008
NYC's Missing Teachers
This article was in today's Post News Editorial- Check it out-
NYC'S MISSING TEACHERS
June 6, 2008 -- New York City public-school principals looking to control costs by shedding teachers forgot Lesson No. 1 about schoolhouse politics: The faculty can never shrink, only grow.
"Displacing teachers is not a viable solution," union boss Randi Weingarten says. "Fewer teachers in a school means increased class size, a reduced range of . . . services and less time for teachers to spend with students."
Ah, yes. The class-size trope.
Weingarten & Co. bemoan rooms with as many as - gasp! - 21 kids in the younger grades, on average, and up to 26 kids in the older grades.
But here's Lesson No. 2: Teachers get to use different math than everyone else. Because, in reality, the system's 1 million students share more than 78,000 teachers - producing a student-teacher ratio of, get this, 13-to-1.
So why do classes run so much larger than 13?
Ah, you see, a teacher on the payroll isn't necessarily a teacher in front of a chalkboard.
So where have all the teachers gone?
Gone to rubber rooms, every one.
Or they're on sabbatical.
Or "excessed" - that is, let go (though they still get paid, under rules of their contract).
Meantime, special-ed classes - where the maximum number of kids is 12 - suck up armies of teachers.
For Weingarten & Co., of course, the more teachers, the more dues income to bribe - er, contribute to - politicians.
Any additional teaching is purely coincidental.
But if principals can't trim faculty headcounts, how are they supposed to achieve their share of City Hall's mandated budget economies - given that some 85 percent of their outlays are for personnel costs; that is, for teacher salaries?
They're not, of course.
That's the point.
Teachers are special, don't you know