Teacher Layoffs Hit Harlem HARD

I recently posted about how crime and gang activity seem to be rising in East Harlem. And as if kids don’t have it hard enough in this neighborhood, their schools will be hard-hit by one of the worse teacher layoffs in New York City’s recent history.

It’s been known for a while that teacher layoffs were imminent across New York City. But until yesterday, the public didn’t really know the concrete numbers and the schools that will be affected if New York State doesn’t provide the needed funds. It turns out that Harlem will be one of the worse affected by this.

Wow. As if crime, diabetes, asthma and rising HIV rates wasn’t enough for us to worry about.

Harlem’s Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science and Engineering will lose 70 percent of its staff — i.e., 14 of 20 teachers. Another school that will be greatly affected will East Harlem’s Preparatory Academy, which is scheduled to lose 42 percent of its staff (11 out of 26 teachers).

Overall, the figures show that poorer neighborhoods will receive the brunt of the layoffs due the fact that those schools tend to have the newer teachers (Surprise?! No one but the young is rushing to teach in poor public schools).

As a mother of a three -year-old who has now started looking at my school options, this is news is very disheartening. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for six years and I love it. But I also want a good education for my daughter, and sadly, this neighborhood doesn’t offer it. I’m lucky in the fact that I have the financial means to get up and move. But..

A. I shouldn’t have to move! A good education should be provided to every NYC kid no matter what neighborhood he lives in.

B. As a gentrifier, shouldn’t I, along with other gentrifier, fight for this right. There’s been several neighborhoods (the Bowery, Lower East Side, Williamsburg) that have moved up in the economic scale and with that, have brought along better amenities, better public services and better schools.

Of course, the dilemma would be my child being part of the first round of guinea pigs to go into this sea change …. if and when it happens.


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