2010-05-14 / Editorial/Opinion

A Little Common Sense Is Needed At Tweed Courthouse

It sometimes seems to us that we have followed Alice down the rabbit hole and have found Tweed Courthouse, the headquarters for the Department of Education in Wonderland. On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he could save 900 police jobs, but that he would have to dump 6,400 teachers if Albany doesn’t come up with more funds in the near future. Then, on the same afternoon, the Department of Education, a wholly-owned subsidiary of City Hall, announced that it had approved a $5 million-a-year no-bid contract to recruit even more teachers. Where is the common sense? Since the year 2000, The New Teacher Project has contracted with the city to recruit teachers through the Teaching Fellows program. For this year, the group has received $2.8 million for recruiting 705 teachers, the great majority of whom, studies show, will leave the system before their fourth year. If this were some sort of aberration, we could write it off and hope that it goes away. The problem is, however, this consultant contract is not an aberration. Look at the contract that brings people from England and Ireland, putting them up in local housing and paying for their meals so that they can evaluate the city’s public schools. The DOE’s rationale for that contract is that there is nobody local who is qualified to do the job, even though there is a cadre of retired education supervisors who would be willing to do the job for a lot less. It goes on and on. It is time to stop the foolishness. Not one classroom position should be cut as long as these outlandish consultant contracts exist. The priorities should be obvious.

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