Teacher tenure is taking heat as the city’s public schools brace for up to 8,500 layoffs.

In the current system, it’s last hired, first fired to ensure principals don’t capriciously fire teachers. Worried the city could lose some bright teachers just starting out, a growing chorus of advocates and elected officials support Schools Chancellor Joel Klein’s calls for reform.

“There’s been more change to tenure in the last six to 12 months than we’ve seen in the history of education,” said Drew University professor Patrick McGuinn. Cuts are forcing schools nationwide to remake the century-old system.


“When teachers get tenure without reference to performance, good teachers who come in behind are fired, while bad teachers are protected,” he said. Many say the system is broken, he added.

This fall the infamous $30 million “Rubber Rooms,” where tenured teachers await disciplinary charges, are to close.

An Albany bill would let principals pick teachers to be laid off in budget cuts.

That riled United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew. Officials should be preventing layoffs, “rather than arguing about how layoffs could or should be done,” he said.

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