Fired New York teachers compete for vacancies

New York teachers, whose jobs have been cut due to controversial budget cuts, are now scrambling to find jobs at other schools.

Park Slope music teacher Paul Trust told the Post he had just bought new percussion instruments for a Drums Around the World unit he is planning next year when he and his school’s other music teacher in Brooklyn were told that they would be released.

“As things stand there will be no music program next year,” said Trust, who has been at the school since 2009 and has been teaching since 2005. “I don’t know if the school ever didn’t have a music program.”

Some of the Teachers in Boots are finding new jobs – if not exactly in their wheelhouse.

At a Brooklyn elementary school with a bilingual program, two teachers who would otherwise have been fired were transferred to vacancies for English and Spanish learners in the kindergarten.

The problem is that none of the teachers speak Spanish.

“It’s not uncommon for people to teach outside of internships,” said another teacher on the program. “But it’s unusual to teach a bilingual program and not speak Spanish.”

School Chancellor David C Banks.
“We expect all of these surplus teachers to be picked up,” said School Chancellor David Banks.
Matthew McDermott

The school’s principal took the step to discourage the displaced teachers from going elsewhere, the source said.

Officials at the city’s Department of Education would not tell the Post exactly how many teachers were recently fired or “redundant” by Big Apple schools due to budget cuts due to lower enrollment, only describing the number as similar to previous years.

Some city council members have flipped the education cuts on their head — although some of them voted to approve them as part of the Big Apple’s overall budget.

The fifth grade teachers meet on the penultimate day of school.
At a Brooklyn elementary school, two non-Spanish-speaking teachers were moved to fill vacancies for English and Spanish learners in the kindergarten.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Speaking to a roundtable of reporters last week, School Chancellor David Banks insisted, “We expect all of these surplus teachers to be picked up” or reassigned to other posts soon.
“There are several hundred teachers who have been overworked. We need to hire several thousand teachers this year,” he said.

But some of the “surplus” teachers – and the city’s council of school regulators and administrators – said that regardless of Banks’ claims, they expect less than usual to be set aside.

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

Currently, the DOE is working to fill current “surplus” employees with vacancies rather than hiring external candidates.

At least for the time being, the “surplus teachers” will still be paid for by taxpayers.

“The surplus teachers will be picked up first. Many of them will be picked up in the next few weeks,” Banks said.

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

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

“As we do every year, we will be regularly monitoring vacancies and surplus numbers and making adjustments to hiring restrictions as necessary to ensure all schools are staffed with qualified teachers in September,” he said.

Meanwhile, Trust and other internal candidates who don’t already have positions are currently applying for positions at schools across the city.

“I’m a little afraid of doing preliminary searches,” Trust said. “Because of this budget situation, there seems to be a lot of candidates for very few positions… And the arts are always the first thing to go.”

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

“I’m thinking about the kids I left,” Beck said. “There are students that I’ve worked very hard to build relationships with. Walls went up for some of them when they heard I was leaving. Some of them wept. Some of them asked middle school questions like, “Why couldn’t it be another teacher?”

“They need some stability, and that rocks their world when they lose adults that they’ve built trust with,” she said.

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

Education officials said the difficult decision about who goes rests with school leaders.

“I don’t dictate to any principal which teacher is tutored,” Banks said. “We just say, ‘Here’s your budget,’ and the decision on who goes and who stays is made by the school board.”

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

At the Brooklyn Elementary School with the bilingual kiddie curriculum, the teacher involved in the program was sympathetic to the principal’s decision to provide her with two non-Spanish-speaking teachers.

“The director is being pushed into this position. I don’t think the director is intentionally undermining this program,” she said.

Meanwhile, Trust wondered what would become of his school’s new drums if staff didn’t use them.

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

“But for now they’re kept in the closet — and who knows when they’ll come out when we’re not there.” Fired New York teachers compete for vacancies


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