UFT - Record number of certified teachers quitting :
Sep 21, 2005 12:45 PM
“Unless the city improves teacher salaries and working conditions, it's only going to get worse.”
— UFT President Randi Weingarten
Like a ship with a gash in its hull, the Department of Education lost 3,386 certified teachers who decided to quit over the summer.
At that rate, UFT officials warned, the school system is on track to exceed the record-setting 3,500 teacher resignations of the previous school year.
Those departures, they noted, do not include the more than 1,000 teachers who were terminated for failing to meet licensing requirements or the 2,144 teachers who retired during the summer.
“The Department of Education refuses to recognize that our city school system is facing a retention crisis,” said UFT President Randi Weingarten. “Unless the city improves teacher salaries and working conditions, it’s only going to get worse.”
Despite the summer exodus, more than 2,000 teachers spent a frustrating first day still waiting for a classroom assignment, union officials said.
Of those in a holding pattern, 726 were teachers who had been excessed from the position they held in June, many as a result of the Department of Education’s phase-out of large, struggling high schools and a restructuring of the alternative high school division.
More than 1,000 of the Department of Education’s 6,400 new recruits were also stuck without classroom assignments as of Sept. 6, according to the union.
School officials voiced confidence that they would eventually find spots for everyone. But Weingarten said that much of the turmoil and uncertainty could have been avoided with proper planning.
“The school system should be able to do school openings in their sleep,” she said.
The UFT urged school officials in a meeting in June to work out assignments for the hundreds of teachers being displaced by the closure or phase-out of several big Bronx high schools.
“They were in denial,” Weingarten said. “They told us that they had a handle on it and we shouldn’t worry.”
As of Sept. 6, approximately 100 Bronx high school teachers were still without permanent positions.
On the bright side, the Department of Education was much more efficient at putting new teachers promptly on payroll this year. All but 132 of the new hires received their first paycheck on Sept. 15 — a significant improvement over recent years.
Among the 6,400 new recruits are 2,200 teachers in alternative-certification programs, including 1,670 in the city’s Teaching Fellows program, 490 in Teach for America, 50 in the Teacher Opportunity Corps Program and 20 in the Peace Corps.
As of Sept. 1, 3,500 of the first-year teachers had been assigned mentors, school officials reported."
Are Bloomberg and Klein reading this? If they are reading this, do they have a plan to motivate teachers to stay on?