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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Retirement Lane Just Got a Lot Longer

We recently learned that the City's $180-million fund to pay retirees retro in a one-time, lump-sum payment will in no way meet its obligations given a huge wave of unexpected retirements.  The City and the UFT seemed caught off guard.  So, retirees apparently have not received a cent of their back pay and a deal may not be served up until Thanksgiving.  

One of my neighbors was debating retiring last Spring.  Although I tried in no way to influence her (because I do love working with the kids), I could have told her what she was going to do before she told me, especially given that she had grandchildren to fill in the days of her life.  She eventually told me she had decided to take the lump sum and retire.  It was a quality-of-life decision.  Besides, given the current trend of educational reform and the levels of stress generated it is hard to say how many of us will make it to 2020. 

Given a new evaluation system demeaning to one's sense of professionalism, a statistical formula designed to hold teachers accountable for problems they can hardly control, and an overemphasis on uniformity and standardized tests, why would anyone be surprised by the spike in retirements?  The only surprising thing in the end is that the City and the Union were caught off guard.  It is a measure of the difference in perspectives between those in the trenches and those who dictate policy.  

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