January 8, 2009
I’ve reported before that the Department of Education has hundreds of teachers without permanent positions and that it took a judge to stop the department from firing dozens of new teachers last month.
So I was surprised recently to see recruitment ads in the subway for the DOE’s Teaching Fellows program, which places recent college graduates and career-changing professionals in high-need classrooms throughout the city. (Similarly startled by the ads, Pissed Off Teacher is, well, pissed off about them.)
In fact, the DOE has scaled back advertising for the Teaching Fellows program by more than a third since last year.
This year, the department spent $140,000 to advertise the program in subway cars and $75,000 to promote the program online, DOE spokeswoman Ann Forte told me. In contrast, she said, the program’s advertising budget last year came out to between $300,000 and $400,000, and had spent even more in previous years when it bought advertising in print publications.
The $140,000 bought four weeks of subway ads that went up at the beginning of December. Forte said the MTA extended the ads by two weeks at no cost to the DOE.
This year’s smaller advertising campaign is in line with the department’s plan to reduce the number of Teaching Fellows it hires. About 1,400 new Teaching Fellows started teaching in September 2008, down from about 1,700 in the previous two years. But facing a tight budget and a large number of experienced teachers without placements, the DOE canceled the mid-year Teaching Fellows cohort; those teachers would have begun teaching this month. Some of the applicants who originally were accepted to the mid-year class will instead join the smaller cohort in the fall.