Seniority Rules – Potential Teacher Layoffs in New York City!

Dear Commons Colleagues,

Today’s NY Times is reporting that Chancellor Joel Klein has approached the New York State Legislature to bypass seniority rules in the event that layoffs are necessary in the NYC public schools.  This is a “hot-button” issue that will surely raise the concerns of the United Federation of Teachers.  A similar measure was passed last year in the Washington D.C. public schools that allowed school administrators to use performance rather than seniority to lay-off 300 teachers.   As the article indicates (see URL below), such a measure in New York would have a difficult time passing the legislature even in such difficult fiscal times.


The NY Times article is available at:


  1. It’s certainly a “hot-button” issue. I have many friends and family members who teach in NYC and Upstate, and a few of them have already been laid off. As hard as it is for teachers who have been teaching for years to be laid off (if this goes through), it’s much harder to find another teaching job when you only have 1 year of experience. This is only going to turn off college students who wanted to pursue teaching… seems like a lose-lose situation no matter how it goes down.

  2. Tony’s Blog post reminded me of a short news item in a recent issue of New York Magazine in which it was reported that Mayor Bloomberg was interested in taking total financial control of CUNY from the State. I don’t know what that would mean exactly, but the thought of 80th St. being replaced by an open-plan headquarters under the leadership of a second Joel Kein certainly evoked a powerful image!

    • Bill,

      Thanks for your post. I too have read the possibility of New York City taking back the CUNY senior colleges[see note below]. It appeared in the NY Times as part of the discussion of the City taking over Governor’s Island and again in New York Magazine. While anything is possible in these difficult fiscal times, I cannot imagine the City willing or able to come up with the more than $1 billion a year to fund CUNY.


      [NOTE: For those of you to young to know, CUNY used to be funded entirely by the City of New York until 1977, when because of the New York City fiscal crisis, funding for the senior colleges was transferred to the State of New York.]