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The DOE Hiring Freeze: A Chilly Attitude Toward Learning?

A local student reflects on the department of education's hiring policies.

Less teachers, less spending. That is what New York City Department of Education officials thought when they decided to put a hiring freeze on New York City’s public schools in 2008. And is that all they put a freeze on? Has education in public schools been frozen too because of this? In 2011, 3 years later, they have still not lifted this freeze.

The New York City Department of Education, (NYCDOE) instead of hiring full-time teachers, hire those same teachers as long-term substitutes instead so they can pay them at a lower rate. Special Education is one of the few areas that is still hiring.

Many teachers are obligated to get this degree in order to keep or get a job. One of these teachers is my mom, Roseann Kytka, a teacher from Forest Hills, NY. In 2006, she had to leave her teaching job after 10 years to take care of a my grandfather, who was needed full-time care. Roseann didn’t realize that there was a hiring freeze until September of 2009, when she began thinking about returning to work.

Since Special Education was still hiring, Roseann studied to get her degree and new license in students with disabilities.

Less teachers, less classes. If new teachers are not being hired, classes will be filled with more kids. These kids would be in another class if there were more teachers.

If class size increases, will every child get the attention they need to learn? Will the few teachers that are there be able to cope and teach so many kids at once? Will the classroom teacher be able to get to know each student individually?

If there are so many kids in one class, will students be misbehaving without the teacher noticing, and as result, not pay attention to the lesson? As a student, I have watched this first hand many times. Is there a freeze on learning?

Not only are people with situations similar to Roseann’s feeling low, but also there are no jobs for college students graduating with teaching degrees.They can often be discouraged because they can’t get a job, and it can crush their morale.

Is this hiring freeze helpful to our city and all the public school students within it who deserve a well-educated full-time quality enthusiastic teacher? 

About the writer: Alexandra G. Kytka will be an incoming 6th grade student at Stephen A. Halsey Junior High School September 2011. Among her interests are singing, acting, writing, reading and editing short films. Born in New York City, she has lived in both St. Louis and New York, and has been a Forest Hills resident for seven years.

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