Liu Blocks 'Curious' DOE Contract
March 10th, 2011

City Comptroller John Liu has rejected the Department of Education’s $20 million contract with the New Teacher Project to recruit new teachers. “Twenty million dollars to recruit teachers as the DOE insists on laying off thousands of teachers seems curious at best,” Liu said in statement released by his office.

Deals between the project, a national non-profit that says it tries to boost teacher quality, and the city Department of Education have come under attack before as being a poor use of money at a time when few, if any new teachers are being hired and many existing ones face layoff. The education department, though, has maintained that even as it gets rid of teacher it may need to hire some with specific expertise, such as special education teachers for students who do not speak English.

The project, based in Brooklyn, has worked with the city on the city Teaching Fellow Program, aimed at bringing people into the system to teach in high needs schools.

The project also is an advocacy group that supports ending layoffs based on seniority and changing the evaluation for teachers, both causes close to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s heart. In 2008, the organization issued a report saying the so-called reserve pool of teachers whose jobs were eliminated and had not been able to find new ones, cost the city $74 million, bolstering city claims the system should be changed.

American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten has called the group a wholly-owned subsidiary of the city education department.

According to its work, the New Teacher Project supports its work advocating for these and other policies by “our work for clients on a fee-for-service basis” — clients such as the New York City schools.

By on March 10, 2011, 1:25 pm
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