If state lawmakers in Albany don’t adjust the “Last In, First Out” policy of laying off teachers, some schools in New York City could face losing over half of their teaching staff when budget cuts strike, Mayor Bloomberg announced today. City Hall says that 6,000 jobs need to be eliminated from the Department of Education in order to make ends meet, and while some 1,500 of those could be achieved through attrition, 4,600 would have to come from layoffs. Because of the United Federation of Teachers’ policy of having newest teachers get the ax before veterans, City Hall says the cuts would fall disproportionately on newer schools — many of which are charters aimed at poor and struggling neighborhoods. For example, at Harlem’s Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science and Engineering, a full 70 percent of the staff would turn over under the regulation. A bill is awaiting vote in the State Senate that would allow the city to fire teachers based on performance rather than seniority.
I am officially declaring e-cigarette use among youth an epidemic in the United States. Now is the time to take action. We need to protect our young people from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.