Saturday, November 25, 2006

Yes, Virginia...

...there is a Santa Claus (but there's no teacher shortage). Of course there's a Santa--how else do you explain the opportunity to take a six-week paid program that allows you to start working almost immediately as a New York City teacher?

You get all the benefits of a union--salary, health, dental, due process--you even get to come in August to listen to all the speeches and notifications that preclude the extended Labor Day weekend teachers used to have. Nor only that, but if your school gets reorganized, you join the Absent Teacher Reserve and get to sub for full-time pay. But wait--what's this?

Dear Virginia,

If you don't find yourself a job by next Friday, you're fired. Also, we're kicking you out of your college program.

Have a nice day.



Well, that can't be good. It's odd, because even as they send such notes, New York City is running costly ads soliciting new teachers. I recently clicked an ad on the NY Times site that brought me here, offering me, among other things, a chance to join the very program Virginia's being kicked out of.

Is it wise to solicit candidates for a costly program, and then dump them like so much trash? And why, if there's no shortage, are we running these ads?

Well, it's all about your criteria. According to Mayor Mike and Uncle Joel, if we find one single candidate for each job, we don't have a shortage. Also, it doesn't make any difference which teachers we get rid of, as long as they don't stay around for those costly pensions.

Good teachers are good, because they help us to show we're doing a good job. And bad teachers are good too, because we can blame everything that goes wrong on them.

Don't even bother mentioning those schools in nearby Nassau County, where they get hundreds of applications for each opening, ensuring kids there get very good teachers. That's not cost-effective. So what if we lose good teachers? We can replace them with other good teachers. Or we can replace them with bad ones.

In New York City, it makes no difference whatsoever. It's made no difference for thirty years.

And that's why Mayor Michael Bloomberg, despite all the hoopla, will make no difference either.
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