Teacher lay-offs bring debate and controversy

February 14, 2011 4:47:56 PM PST
Laura Frazier has been a math teacher for five years now at the High School of Computer and Technology, in Williamsbridge in the Bronx. Frazier's in the middle of a heated debate on an old layoff policy called "last in-first out".

On Friday a group allied with the mayor began TV commercials blasting that policy of last in-first out.

"It is illogical and I feel that it is irresponsible," say teachers in some of the commercials, which have infuriated the teachers union.

The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) came back with their own commercials in what has turned out to be a bitter war. One of the commercials takes a punch at how the mayor flubbed the big blizzard.

One UFT commercial says, "This is about protecting our kids' future, Mayor Bloomberg, and that's a lot bigger than any snow storm."

"There's no reason to have layoffs and this is a bogus issue that the mayor has created for his own political reasons and people are going to ask why?" said UFT Union President Michael Mulgrew.

Laura Frazier and 10 other teachers came up with their own teacher layoff plan.

It would layoff those chronically absent, which would mean at least 8% of the year, teachers who've received an unsatisfactory rating, and those unable to find full time positions in a school within six months.

"It would be amazing if there were no layoffs. That's what we all want. We're all about that, no layoffs would be amazing. But if there have to be layoffs we just want a plan in place that makes sense and hurts kids the least," said Frazier.

The Union is preparing for what could be at least 6, 000 teacher layoffs to be announced Thursday.