June 6, 2008

NYC's Missing Teachers

This article was in today's Post News Editorial- Check it out-

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


Chaz said...

The Post article and editorial was incorrect. The removed teacher is only on the school's payroll for sixty days. Further, it is the DOE who pushes principals to remove teachers at their pleasure. Finally, there is a deliberate DOE policy to recruit young and inexperienced teachers while excessing older and experienced teachers.

Fidgety said...

Thank you for the correction. I'm glad you're paying attention!