Laid-off Teachers Show Lack of Initiative When It Comes to Finding Jobs

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According to the Department of Education, 1,800 New York City teachers who lost their jobs earlier this year have yet to apply for another job in the system or attend fairs for recruitment, despite the fact that there are 1,200 openings. Perhaps their apathy and poor self-motivation (sounds like someone's getting sent to the guidance counselor's office) stems from the fact that New York is the only city in the U.S. where teachers are guaranteed pay for life even if their school closes and they no longer have a permanent job. The policy costs the DOE more than $100 million per year in salary and benefits. Those teachers go into the Absent Teacher Reserve pool, where they can be used as substitutes. The average salary for an ATR pool teacher? $82,000, with some making $100,000. Some teachers have been in the pool since 2006.

The United Federation of Teachers says the problem of the ATR pool is the DOE's fault. The union has offered a number of possible resolutions, including telling chancellor Joel Klein to put the laid-off teachers in job vacancies and close down the pool. "The fact that he has chosen not to do so indicates that he prefers to have the issue to complain about rather than to resolve the problem," says UFT president Michael Mulgrew.

The Journal thinks Klein is holding on to the pool for philosophical purity. "For Mr. Klein, forcing teachers into vacancies would go against his philosophy of giving principals market-based autonomy and accountability." So in order to promote free-market principals and accountability, Klein wants to offer job security for life to laid-off employees during a recession with no stipulations for getting them back into the city's workforce? We must have missed that social-studies class.

Teachers Ignore Openings [WSJ]