New York’s fired teachers jostle for vacancies

New York teachers whose positions were cut thanks to controversial budget cuts are now scrambling to find jobs at other schools.

Park Slope music teacher Paul Trust told the Post that he had just purchased new percussion instruments for a “Drums Around the World” unit he was planning next year when he and the other music teacher at his school in Brooklyn learned that they were fired.

“As things stand, there won’t be a music program next year,” said Trust, who had been at the school since 2009 and teaching since 2005. “I don’t know if the school never had a music program.”

Some of the booted teachers find new positions – but not exactly in their wheelhouse.

At a Brooklyn elementary school with a bilingual curriculum, two teachers who would otherwise have been fired were moved to vacant positions for kindergarten English and Spanish learners.

The problem is that none of the teachers speak Spanish.

“It’s not uncommon for people to teach off-site,” said another teacher in the program. “But it’s rare to teach a bilingual curriculum and not speak Spanish.”

“We expect all those surplus teachers to be recouped,” insisted Schools Chancellor David Banks.
Matthew McDermott

The headmaster of the school took the decision to prevent the displaced teachers from having to go elsewhere, the source said.

City education department officials did not tell The Post exactly how many teachers have recently been laid off or “surplused” from schools in the Big Apple due to budget cuts resulting from declining enrollment, only describing the figure as similar to previous years.

Some city council members ripped up the education cuts — even though some of them had voted to approve them as part of the Big Apple’s overall budget.

Fifth grade teachers meet on the penultimate day of school.
At an elementary school in Brooklyn, two teachers who don’t speak Spanish have been moved to vacancies for kindergarten English and Spanish learners.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Schools Chancellor David Banks insisted during a roundtable of journalists last week: “We expect that all these excess teachers will be taken care of”, or soon assigned to different posts.
“There are several hundred teachers who have been overwhelmed. We have several thousand teachers to hire this year,” he said.

But some of the “surplus” teachers – and the city’s Board of School Supervisors and Administrators – said no matter what Banks claims, they expect fewer people than usual to be rehired.

School Chancellor David C Banks.
“We have several thousand teachers to hire this year,” said Schools Chancellor David Banks.
Matthew McDermott

For now, the DOE is working to place current “surplus” employees into vacant positions rather than hiring outside candidates.

“Surplus teachers” are still being paid by taxpayers, at least for now.

“Excess teachers will be picked up first. Many of them will be picked up in the next few weeks,” Banks insisted.

Jessica Beck.
Jessica Beck said teachers are not interchangeable in a school community.
Jessica Beck

Nathaniel Styer, a department representative, added: ‘This is done to ensure that…that we are able to retain teaching talent in our system.

“As we do every year, we will regularly monitor the number of vacancies and surpluses and make the necessary adjustments in hiring restrictions to ensure that all schools are staffed by qualified teachers in September,” he said. he declares.

Meanwhile, Trust and other still-unemployed internal candidates are currently applying for positions at schools across the city.

“I’m a little scared to do some preliminary research,” Trust said. “There seems to be a lot of applicants for very few positions because of this budget situation…And the arts are always the first thing.”

Jessica Beck, a former middle school English teacher at 75 Morton in Manhattan’s West Village, got her next gig through the process but said teachers aren’t interchangeable in a school community.

“I think of the children I left behind,” Beck said. “There are students with whom I have worked very hard to establish relationships. Some of them, the walls immediately went up when they heard I was leaving. Some of them cried. Some of them asked college questions, like, “Why couldn’t it be another teacher?”

“They need some stability, and it turns their world upside down to lose the adults they’ve built their trust with,” she said.

Beck, a seasoned teacher with 18 years of experience but only a few years in public schools in the Big Apple, said she was fired because of her seniority. She said she was told the school would lose 12 or 13 positions altogether.

Education officials said the tough decision on who goes is left to principals.

“I don’t dictate to any principal what the teacher is going to do,” Banks said. “We just say, ‘Here’s your budget,’ and those decisions about who goes and who stays are made by the principals.”

School administrators are doing what they can to keep their teachers on staff, sources said.

At Brooklyn Elementary School with Bilingual Education for Children, the teacher involved in the program was sympathetic to the principal and the decision that was made to put two teachers with her who don’t speak Spanish.

“The principal is forced into this position. I don’t believe the principal intentionally undermines this program,” she said.

In the meantime, Trust wondered what would happen to his school’s new drums without the staff to use them.

“I used them for graduation, so they got a little used,” he said.

“But right now they’re in the closet – and who knows when they’ll come out if we’re not there.”

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