Mike Bloomberg’s Proposed Budget Slashes Teachers, Yet Still Pays to Recruit New Ones


Faisal Shahzad may have inadvertently saved the jobs of a 1,000 cops in Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s budget proposal, but nothing apparently could be done to save the jobs of 6,400 city teachers…Not even letting go of the $5 million
dollars budgeted for new teacher recruitment.

Yes, that’s right. While the city is planning to lose thousands of teachers (2,000 through retirement, 4,400 through layoffs), the Daily News is reporting that the Panel of Educational policy still plans to ask for $5 million to recruit new teachers.

“Education Department officials countered that even during layoffs, new teachers may still be needed for subject areas where there are shortages,” reports the News, and that recruiting money is needed for programs like New York City Teaching Fellows.

Sure, $5 million couldn’t go very far in saving 6,400 jobs (unless teachers agreed to work for, like, $781.25 a year). But it seems kind of asinine to be recruiting people when thousands are going to be laid off and there will, inevitably, be a hiring freeze in place.

Just last year, when the city benefited from stimulus money, there were already problems with hiring from the very teachers recruited into the fellows program. People started in the program last summer (some moving to New York for the fellowship) and began the two years of training, only to find, come fall, that there were no jobs for them, and all positions had to be filled internally . (And that was before any massive layoffs.)

So what’s the point of recruiting new teachers now, when there’s already such a deficit? “Signing a contract for teacher recruitment in this economic situation is like ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ ” UFT President Michael Mulgrew told the News. And though there is legislation pending to change the “last in, first out” seniority policy, it is likely many current teaching fellows could face layoffs.

Last August, Arah Lewis, a 28-year-old woman who left Goldman Sachs to become a teaching fellow, confronted Chancellor Joel Klein on just this point. At a new teacher orientation, where many were still without jobs and principals were barred from hiring them, Lewis said to Klein, “I don’t know an organization that would go out and recruit people and expect them to change their lives and then say you can’t work here… It doesn’t make any sense.”