All over the country, a fierce assault has been launched against our teachers – against their right to negotiate for better working conditions, protect against arbitrary layoffs and retain seniority protections. This assault has been funded and carried out in many cases by the same small group of wealthy men who are trying to privatize our public schools.
Here in New York , Mayor Bloomberg and his allies in the corporate world are attempting to divide teachers from parents, by threatening huge teacher layoffs and class size increases if they don’t get their way in eliminating seniority protections for teachers. A bill has been introduced in the State Legislature to do just that.
In reality, there is no reason for any teacher layoffs or class size increases, since the city has a budget surplus of more than $3 billion and the state could easily raise up to $5 billion by simply holding off the elimination of the surtax on the wealthy. (Sign our petition to the state to do just that!)
Meanwhile, as parents, we understand that experience matters when it comes to effective teaching; (see our fact sheet on this issue). Indeed, the Connecticut boarding school where Chancellor Black’s own children attended school clearly recognized the value of experienced staff, boasting that their faculty’s “average tenure is more than a dozen years."
We also know that in far too many cases, teachers have been unfairly targeted with “U” ratings simply for speaking up against corruption or abusive behavior.
This fierce attack on teacher seniority would also make the job far less attractive, especially in our high needs schools, which already suffer from huge rates of teacher turnover. If NYC wants to attract qualified candidates to the teaching profession and keep them there longer, these policies are the exact opposite from where we should be going.
This is no time to sit back, and allow Mayor Bloomberg, his hedge fund cronies and privateers to further undermine the quality of our public schools. Sign our petition now, add your own comments to personalize the letter below; and forward the link to your friends.