In what is possibly the worst move the United Federation Of Teachers can do, NY1 implies that the UFT might not help teachers find new placements in turn around/closing schools. This causes a higher competition rate and wage cutting tactics to get teachers in our schools.
Now that the Department of Education is ready to close 24 schools this summer and replace them with new schools, there are still major questions about how that is supposed to happen and whether it can work.
The Panel for Educational Policy approved on Thursday night a new strategy for dealing with failing schools. The Department of Education is closing two dozen schools this summer, and all the teachers will have to reapply for their jobs.
“We are simply your lab rats. You’re experimenting with our education,” a student said before the panel’s Thursday vote.
“There is still a lot of information that we don’t even know,” said Queens Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said an obscure provision in the teachers’ union contract will govern the process of rehiring the best teachers from each school. There is one major catch, however, as the process requires union cooperation, which does not seem likely.
“This process is a sham. It’s illegitimate and it has no honor,” said Leo Casey, the vice president of the United Federation of Teachers.
There are about 3,000 teachers at the 24 affected schools and the DOE says every single one has to re-apply for his or her position. DOE officials say the rehiring decisions will be made by “Personnel Committees” made up of the school principals, two DOE representatives and two union reps.
For years, similar committees have run part of the hiring at some new schools.
The DOE says it will ask the union this weekend to help put the process in motion.
But on the phone Friday, UFT President Michael Mulgrew refused to even discuss it. He’s said the whole proposal is political retaliation.
The union has said it is looking into whether it can challenge the plan in court.
“Mr. Mayor, shame on you,” Mulgrew said at a Thursday rally. “We will take all of our energy and we will try to stop any harm that he tries to bring further.”
A close look at the contract raises another question. It says Personnel Committees can also include “a School Planning Committee representative and a parent.” DOE officials admit they are not clear who would get to choose those two additional members. It’s something else they need to work out before they can move forward.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott recognized there is a lot the DOE still needs to explain.
“That’s part of our goal as well, to make sure people understand not just the rhetoric but the actual implications for a particular school,” Walcott said.
Nobody knows yet how the process will work, how the politics will pan out and what the actual implications will be for the schools.