Carrying Water for Klein: Assemblyman Bing Has Chosen Sides and Political Decisions Must Have Consequences, Teachers and their Allies Should Make Themselves Heard!

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 Don’t be shy.



6 responses to “Carrying Water for Klein: Assemblyman Bing Has Chosen Sides and Political Decisions Must Have Consequences, Teachers and their Allies Should Make Themselves Heard!

  1. Jackie Foil Retired

    This seems to erase the gains made by teachers over the years. It sounds as if Bing wants to go back to the years before there was a union. Not only did teachers make gains when there was true collective bargaining but so did the children. The Effective Teaching Program and the Teacher Center promoted excellence in teaching and learning.


  2. Moskowitz and Bing are two completely different people… Moskowitz is anti-union, Bing is doing whats for his schools and district

    and by the way its principals teachers and parents that decide…. I know because I read the bill when it was sent to me


  3. Experience Matters

    Mark, I saw the bill and I saw Bing’s piece in the Daily News where he points out that fewer total teachers will need to be laid off if we lay off senior teachers, teachers who have been rated as satisfactory.

    There is a page on Facebook- NYC Teachers: Experience Matters, that has been created to organize teachers and fight this bogus bill.


  4. Seniority should always be the way to go to prevent the whims of a principal or those who don’t teach but suck up to the principal. That is the reality.


  5. I can understand the effect of destabilization of the schools when there are layoffs. No one wants layoffs especially where children’s future are at stake. However, allowing principals to make the decision to choose who stays or goes will only promote favoritism.

    Principals will only choose those teachers who are willing to compromise their contractual rights, who will do more out of fear, and those teachers that are the most cost effective with respect to their salary.

    Let’s examine the Open Market Transfer. Principals have the option of hiring the best and the brightest teachers, but most of the hires are not senior teachers.

    We need to look at the propensity of these school leaders. Principals will decide to do what’s best for them, and not for the children. Look at their track record.


  6. Peter,

    I’ve noticed that HS teachers seem to be the most vocal on the topic of the apparent disingenuous nature of all (most?) principals. I know Norm Scott worked most of his career in elementary schools but he seems the exception in the blogosphere. Am I missing some good blogs out there?

    I wonder if the view on how trustworthy principals are, how fairly they would treat teachers in the event of a layoff, changes depending on the type of school where you work? To listen to the majority of blog posters I have read, you can’t trust a single principal in the system. But most of them started as teachers, at which time I presume they were all good people. So I wonder what happened to them on the way?

    I read above that your view is that to use any system other than seniority would be an abomination as it would lead to illegal discrimination (age, gender, race, political affiliation – they’d favor Unity and go after ICE?)

    I wondered about this view, because I imagine that even without the Collective Bargaining Agreement, US and NY state law protects workers against discrimination of this sort. If you were laid off solely on the basis of your age, I assume you would sue, right? I don’t have a union contract, but my employer can’t discriminate against me under Title VII. (search Wikipedia)

    Either way, I don’t see you writing that seniority has anything to do with effectiveness as a teacher. I presume you would not concede this point , but I wondered if you had a view that the seniority clause was more important for preventing discrimination, or ensuring that only “excellent” teachers remain in the system in the event of a layoff?

    Maybe you’d like to post on this topic in the future?



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