I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mayor Moneybags Is Out to Screw Teachers

So what else is new?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is pessimistic that Albany will come through with enough money to allow the city to avoid layoffs, wants Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers to give his administration more power to decide which workers should keep or lose their jobs.
At the top of the mayor's Albany agenda is a renewed push to change a law that protects from layoffs city teachers with the most seniority. The law dictates that the newest teachers, even those highly regarded by principals, would be the first to lose their jobs.
Oh, sure, this is ALL about teacher "quality." Couldn't possibly have to do with screwing lifelong professionals at the end of their careers to save a few bucks, could it?

The head of the city's teachers union, Michael Mulgrew, said the seniority rule ensures that if layoffs become necessary, "they are not conducted in a manner that discriminates against people on the basis of race, age or gender."
About 40% of the city's school budget comes from Albany, which delivers about $8 billion a year. In the last budget, state aid to New York City public schools dipped by 2% versus the previous year. But an extra helping of federal aid from the teacher jobs bill made up that difference, and federal stimulus aid also helped.
With the stimulus expiring, the city is expecting a drop of about $900 million in federal school aid. That difference is about 5% of the city education department's projected budget of $19 billion. Meanwhile, the city is forecasting total spending growth of 2%, or more than $350 million more than the current-year figure.
Together, that's more than $1 billion that either the state or the city needs to make up. Albany, which is facing a large deficit of its own, isn't likely to contribute much of that, and may even bring down school spending from the current-year level.
Not a word about teacher quality - because that isn't the issue, and we're all smart enough to know it.

This is "Shock Doctrine" stuff, pure and simple: use the recession to slam teachers and keep taxes low on the wealthy. If they really cared about teacher quality, they'd be finding ways to keep teacher salaries competitive to attract the best talent pool.

They aren't and they won't. They are failures. Their role in the education system should be to keep the funding consistent. But they can't do that as long as they continue to champion the oligarchy they mistakenly call "capitalism," with its wild swings and destructive gyrations.

So they have no choice but to destroy the teaching corps and dumb down our schools. It's anti-democratic, but it's what they do.

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