Assemblyman Jonathan Bing has introduced a bill that gives principals full authority over which teachers would be laid off if budget cuts come to fruition. In addition the bill gives the chancellor full control over the layoff of ATRs after a year.
Current law requires both excessing, the loss of a position(s) in a school, and layoff, the loss of positions across the city, by inverse seniority. The reason is simple: senior is colorblind. To give principals power over excessing and/or layoffs would lead to principals choosing to excess/layoff teachers by age, by salary, by race, by gender, by political opinion, by personal appearance, by how loyal they are to the principal, etc. It would be an abomination.
During the eight years of the Bloomberg/Klein administration every teacher has been hired by their principal and for the prior ten years the vast majority of teachers were hired by principals. In their first three years of employment teachers are “at will” employees, they can be terminated by their principals. Principals have staffs that they selected, and, to whom they have granted tenure.
Bing, in his NY Daily New op ed piece avers that in his district large percentages of newer teachers would be laid off, are the “newer” teachers better teachers? If a larger percentage of teachers were laid off they would be replaced by more senior teacher from other districts, would these teacher be less effective teachers? Bing argues “keep the best,” how does he define “best”? Oh, that’s right, the principal decides.
In the current Klein iteration of school budgeting, aka “Fair Student Funding,” teachers individual salaries are counted in school budget computations, newer teachers are “cheaper” than senior teachers. NYC is the only large city that uses this system, prior to Klein, and elsewhere in the country, “average” teacher salaries are used in computing school budgets. Staffing decisions in too many schools are driven by the “cost” of the teacher.
Bing is simply carrying water for the Mayor and the Chancellor.
For whatever reason Bing has decided that he doesn’t need teachers and their allies in his political camp. Perhaps he feels Bloomberg dollars will fuel his next run for the Manhattan Borough President or for Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney’s seat, or, maybe some mayoral appointment.
Eva Moskowirtz was a City Councilman (from Bing’s area) and Chair of the Education Committee. For reasons that elude me at meeting after meeting she attacked the teacher contract. When she ran for Manhattan Borough President the union supported Scott Stringer, the eventual winner. Hordes of teachers volunteered to main phone banks, to hand out flyers, to knock on doors, and Eva was defeated. Maybe Eva is pulling Bing’s strings?
Actions of elected officials have consequences, and, teachers and their allies have long memories. Many legislators have chosen to stand shoulder to shoulder with parents and teachers, to join law suits, to particpate in rallies, to fight for all schools and all kids. If Bing is truly concerned with preventing layoffs from schools in his district, and for that matter across the state he should also stand together with parents and teachers through organizations such as the Coalition for Educational Justice, and make his voice heard! He has chosen another camp, the camp of Bloomberg and Klein, the dark side.
The Assemblyman encourages citizens to contact him and express their views, ” …please do not hesitate to contact me at (212) 605-0937 or email@example.com. Don’t be shy.