City Still Recruiting Teaching Fellows Despite Threat of Layoffs

Mayor Bloomberg is putting pressure on Albany to end the "last in, first out" policy that requires new teachers to be the first to go during layoffs. But there's one small group of new teachers that would likely be spared.

Despite the threat of layoffs, the New York City Teaching Fellows is still taking applicants through February 14 for its next class in June. The highly selective program trains teachers over the summer and subsidizes their tuition while they earn their masters' degrees.

But because the fellows are placed in hard-to-staff areas such as science, math and special education, they wouldn't be at as much risk of being laid off as other classroom teachers. The department of education said 95 percent of the Fellows placed in the past three years went to work in these shortage areas.

The number of applicants and accepted Teaching Fellows has fallen though since the economic slowdown and hiring freeze on most teaching positions. Only 405 Fellows started last September compared to four times that number in 2008. The program peaked in 2003 when 2,439 fellows were placed out of 19.736 applicants.

Acceptance to the Teaching Fellows is never a guarantee of placement, but the department said 99 percent of its June 2010 cohort found full-time teaching positions by the first day of school. As for the current school year, a spokeswoman said, "We don't know our needs which is why we are recruiting."