2001-06-23 / Editorial/Opinion

A Mayor With His Head in the Sand

A Mayor With His Head in the Sand

Hardly a day passes without Mayor Giuliani or one of his key advisors telling the press that there really is no teacher shortage and that reports of teachers leaving the system in record numbers for retirement or for greener pastures are purely "negotiating ploys" on the part of the unions to get more money from the city. We believe that, on this issue, the mayor has his head in the sand. If this district is any example, the city schools are going to be opening in September with serious shortages of both teachers and supervisors. By recent count, a dozen of the district’s 37 principals will be retiring this year. In addition, approximately one-third of the AP’s in the district are reportedly retiring this year or next. In three of the middle schools in the district, the majority of assistant principals are either retiring or seeking other employment. A recent UFT report said that more teachers have retired or will retire prior to September this year than in the two previous years put together. That is a fact, not a negotiating ploy. We know of two Rockaway middle schools that will have in excess of a dozen vacancies each at the start of the year. It is already too late to do anything about the loss of teachers. It would have taken a new contract and a change in the way teachers are treated by both administrators and students for teachers to stay around past their retirement date. Perhaps, however, things can change for next year so that the exodus does not continue year after year.

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