In what passes for an Op-ed in the Post, Sam Hoyt, an alleged Democrat from Buffalo, has proposed that teachers help close the budget gap by giving up their step and base pay increases. He cites various reasons, such as none of us want larger class sizes, and that state education budget cuts would hurt kids. Oddly, nowhere in his piece does he offer to give up a single penny of his own salary or that of any of his staff. I'm sure this was merely an oversight.
Traditional logic has been that when education cuts are threatened, we ask teachers to sacrifice. This is similar to how police are asked to give up raises when crime spikes, or how doctors are asked to re-use needles. Oh, wait--those things don't happen. Forget I brought it up.
Mr. Hoyt never says why teachers, who already buy most of their own supplies and who, in NYC, are working with an expired contract, should sacrifice more than, let's say, the Wall Street bankers who raked in outrageous bonuses from our tax dollars despite having almost run the economy into the ground. If we tax the filthy rich more, what will happen to all the caviar manufacturers out there? You see, teachers are the obvious choice.
Well, Mr. Hoyt, I can tell you that next year I will get a step increase-my 20 year longevity step. Let's repeat that--I have worked for TWENTY YEARS in order to earn this increase. Do you really think I should give that up so some Goldman Sachs employee can afford to keep both his chauffeurs on full time?
Over at NYC Educator's blog, Miss Eyre wonders why the DOE is actually looking to hire teachers despite the threat of 8500 layoffs. Actually, I think the answer is rather simple. The DOE can offer jobs to thousands of new people, and then, in Septemeber, create a phony crisis by ordering massive layoffs. Then, in a huge PR blitz, they'll pressure the UFT to agree to layoff some of those pesky "highly" paid teachers so that we can hang on to all those newbies for half the price. They'll ask the UFT why we insist on keeping low performing teachers around when they have all these fresh faced 22 year olds ready to take their place. (Nevermind that they've never been in front of a classroom--fresh faced trumps experienced in the DOE.) Given the history of the Unity-run UFT, the DOE may just win this battle.
But hey, look at the bright side. If you're a senior teacher who gets laid off, you won't have to worry about whether the state will pay you your step increases. Maybe you can get a job as a chauffeur for one of those Goldman Sachs guys.