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  • New York City Teachers Cash In on Their Way Out

    Barbara Martinez of The Wall Street Journal reported last week that New York City schools have begun handing out pink slips to teachers:

    Principals—who are facing an average 4% budget cut at their schools—have started eliminating teaching positions ahead of Friday, when their spending plans are due to the city Department of Education [DOE].

    Presumably this action is meant to cut costs. But there’s a twist:

    Those teachers don’t stop getting paid; the cost of their salary and benefits merely shifts from their schools’ budgets to the department’s central office budget. The DOE spent $100 million on these teachers this school year.

    At the same salary they were making when teaching full time, they now join a group known as the “Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) pool” and perform certain tasks at other schools across the city (such as subbing or clerical work):

    Twenty-six of the ATRs who lost their jobs in 2006 earn more than $100,000 a year in salary, not counting about $30,000 in benefits. Seventy have been working in the school system for 26 or more years. Some could retire, but haven’t.

    These teachers remain on the payroll of the DOE and are not required to look for permanent employment elsewhere:

    While many teachers who lose their jobs in the system quickly find new ones, some end up in the ATR pool for years. More than 900 ATRs were invited to a job fair in late June. … [Only] 90 showed up.

    Referring to one ATR teacher who showed up at a job interview in jeans and a t-shirt and said “she wasn’t really looking for a job,” Janet Heller, administrator at Patria Mirabel Middle School 324 in Washington Heights, reported:

    I’m appalled at the quality of the personnel that I’ve come across and their responses and lack of interest.

    However, hiring restrictions require that the school systems employ only candidates within the school system, including ATR teachers.

    This is yet another example of the inherent inefficiencies of the union–political complex that has come to dominate public schools across the country. Parental choice in education is the best way to hold teachers accountable and lead to teacher excellence in the classroom.

    Michael Wille is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to New York City Teachers Cash In on Their Way Out

    1. The Professor says:

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    2. Karen says:

      How does parental choice fix union inefficiencies? Do you have any research that shows that parental choice leads to higher quality teachers? I'm not sure how you're drawing these conclusions.

    3. Pingback: New York City Teachers Cash In on Their Way Out | The Foundry … | New York Blogs

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    5. Dave Stroud says:

      This is yet another manifestation of the economic absurdities that inevitably come about when public employees are given collective bargaining rights coupled with the right to strike.

      This one misguided Democrat initiative is quite literally bankrupting thousands of state and local governments, school districts, and "authorities" right this minute. God help us from politicians who seek to be "generous" and "compassionate" with our money.

    6. Michael Wille, DC says:

      Hi Karen,

      When teachers are forced to compete for their students, they have to improve themselves and their practices or lose them to another school. Schools that don't improve over time need to be given a chance and if they consistenly fail, then they should be closed down.

      In New York City, Harlem Success Academy (a system of charter schools) has a 100% achievement rate on math and reading tests. When parents are able to choose what school to send their children to, dramatic and positive changes have resulted. HSA guarantees that their children will graduate from college (if they intend to go). It works directly with the parents to ensure that their children get to class on time and are working with them after school. Hundreds of parents in Harlem want to send their kids to these schools because of how much better they are. The result is a lottery which determines the fate of each child: stay in their zoned school or become a part of HSA. The future of these children's lives can't be left up to chance anymore. We need an aggressive voucher and charter system across the nation that puts parental choice at the center, not the unions.

      There is also evidence from both Milwaukee and Florida that voucher programs have caused students in the public schools to achieve better results. The studies show a correlative effect (not a causal one, as no study can truly demonstrate causation) that after a few years of voucher programs being implemented, some public schools have changed their practices and improved test scores of students. Now, while this is not the only measure of success, it is definitely an important one when looking at competition between schools. Another is graduation rates. Check out the following links for the studies I've mentioned:

      http://bit.ly/9Yiysz

      http://www.allianceforschoolchoice.org/UploadedFi

      http://www.foundry.org/2010/06/24/dc-vouchers-i

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