View Full Version : All NYC At Front of the Layoff Line

02-22-2011, 09:31 AM
This from WSJ.com (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704657704576150574040333258.html) by Barbara Martinez:
This is Stany Leblanc's second year as a New York City teacher. It may also be his last.

When Mr. Leblanc's sixth-grade students arrived in September for their first day of school in the South Bronx, they were on average two years behind in writing skills and more than a year behind in reading.

To inspire his poor, black and Hispanic charges to read, Mr. Leblanc has found books that are relevant to many of their lives. Students whose homes are too chaotic for studying find in his classroom a quiet place to work long before school in the mornings and well after the school day is done. He pushes students to write essays every week and groups them into teams named after colleges, so they remember every day what they are working toward.

Five months later, his sixth-graders are reading and writing at the sixth-grade level. "I've already caught them up and now I'm moving them beyond," he said.

More than 4,650 teachers are expected to be laid off at the end of this school year, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's preliminary budget. State law requires that teachers hired last are the first ones to be laid off, regardless of their effectiveness.

That would make Mr. Leblanc, who began teaching in 2009 and earns $45,000 a year, vulnerable to being among the first to go among a citywide teaching corps of nearly 80,000.

His school is vulnerable, too. More than 200 new schools have been created in New York City in recent years to replace large, dysfunctional schools where too many children were failing. These new schools tend to have teachers with less experience.

The location of Mr. Leblanc's school in a poor neighborhood is a factor as well. Schools in poor districts tend to have newer teachers, as teachers with greater seniority tend not to want to work there.

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