Thursday, April 14, 2011

This Is Not Building Goodwill

"It's not question of whether there will be layoffs, but when." Thus saith, in so many words, the heir apparent to the Chancellor position, Dennis Walcott. This is how he is going to start his tenure, then; not with a bang but with a whimper, so to speak.

On Tuesday, I pointed out that one way Walcott could instantly build some street cred with kids, teachers, and parents would be to come out strongly against layoffs, to side with those who have pointed out that the city has reserve funds and, depending on who you ask, a budget surplus that would make teacher layoffs totally unnecessary. Human capital is one of our most important assets, Walcott might have realized, and we don't have any to waste. All the technology in the world is no good without good people to run it.

But Walcott, unfortunately, is stepping up for the mayor rather than teachers and families. We need to cut teachers. And we better start with the expensive ones, under the false rubric of "keeping the best teachers in the classroom." A move like this suggests that he is the mayor's man rather than a thoughtful steward-leader of a system on the edge of a major destabilization and demoralization.

I would love to be wrong, but Walcott's support of layoffs is not a goodwill-building stance. Not so helpful to create distrust and fear before the job is even officially yours, sir.
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