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Educators denounce layoff threat as scare tactic

Educator denounce layoff threat as scare tacticCara MetzUFT President Michael Mulgrew, with Council of School Supervisors and Administrators President Ernest Logan (right of Mulgrew) and a group of angry teachers and principals, blasts the mayor for playing political games. Some 100 teachers and principals stood shoulder to shoulder with UFT President Michael Mulgrew and Council of School Supervisors and Administrators President Ernest Logan on Feb. 28 to denounce the mayor’s release of school-by-school layoff lists as a blatant scare tactic.

“It is clear to us that it was a stunt to try to create panic and fear among schools and school communities, and we won’t allow that to happen,” said Mulgrew at the press conference at UFT headquarters.

With the city’s $3.1 billion surplus, Logan said, “There is no need to lay off anyone.”

Logan called on the mayor to “sit down and talk to us” instead of panicking teachers who walked into their schools on Monday morning to discover lists of layoffs threatening their schools that the mayor had distributed to reporters over the weekend.

Marquis Harrison, a third-year social studies teacher at Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem, said his students asked him that morning if he would be leaving them.

“It bothers me deeply that we could lose teachers when I already see oversize classes,” Harrison said.

Harrison said that the newer teachers and the veteran teachers at his school worked together. “Together, we are saying: please stop this talk of layoffs today,” Harrison said.

Educators denounce layoff threat as scare tacticCara MetzManhattan Borough President Scott Stringer speaks out against teacher layoffs at a March 4 press conference with other elected officials, parents, activists and UFTers, including President Michael Mulgrew. Speakers pointed out that a budget surplus makes layoffs unnecessary, that class sizes would rise to educationally unsound levels if there were layoffs and that continuing the millionaire’s tax would provide needed revenue to the budget. Educators denounce layoff threat as scare tacticCara MetzThird-year teachers Amy DiBiase (left) and Suzanna Lull, co-teachers of a Collaborative Team Teaching class at PS 62 in the Bronx, worry about the effect layoffs will have on their students. Stacey Burgoyne, a first-year teacher at IS 61 in Corona, said that it was already difficult to share her passion for science with a class of 31 students. She said her school would lose 5 percent of its teachers according to the mayor’s layoff list.

Amy Dibiase. a third-year teacher at PS 62 in the Bronx, said, “The last thing they should be doing is laying off teachers, and it’s the first thing they are trying to do.”

Threatened with the loss of 11 teachers at her school, Nadine Reis, chapter leader at PS 1 in Brooklyn, said, “I care passionately about all of my teachers and worry about a whole generation of children.”

At a press conference held that same morning, Mulgrew and 30 teachers spoke with reporters outside PS 126 in lower Manhattan. Teacher Melissa Jacks said, “Our school is a prime example of teachers working together — our senior teachers lead, our new teachers bring in fresh perspective … dividing us isn’t going to work and it’s going to hurt the children.”

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