As enrollments in the city’s public schools plummet, the teachers’ union is offering its members hard cash to coax students this fall.
In a recent email to members, the United Teachers’ Federation offered to pay $ 25 per hour to conduct home visits “to encourage a return to in-person learning for all students over the course of the year. ‘school year 2021-2022’.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in May that schools would reopen this fall – with no distance option.
But, as The Post exclusively reported, school enrollment in the city plunged during the pandemic.
As of June 25, the last day of school, the daily “register” showed enrollments of just 887,612 in 1,584 schools, according to internal Department of Education records reviewed by The Post.
This is down from 1.03 million in the 2019-2020 academic year. The peak came in 2000-2001, with 1.11 million children enrolled.
The DOE said another 65,000 children were enrolled in private and district pre-K centers, alternative evening programs where students can earn GED degrees, and at home or in hospitals, but would not give up-to-date figures.
DOE spokespersons declined to release the latest registrations, citing only an “audited” tally of 955,500 as of November 13, 2020, when the school year began.
If the charm offensive is meant to help the city’s DOE reverse declining enrollment, the union will benefit. Fewer students means fewer paying teachers.
The program includes 10 four-hour shifts, plus a one-day training session where “lunch will be provided,” according to the email.
Members should be “comfortable having face-to-face, one-to-one and social distancing conversations with parents and community members in their homes,” the email reads.
“So you want to pay me with my own dues, go to random folks, sell classes in person in the Bronx?” A city teacher complained to the Post.
âI don’t understand how the UFT can even pay us,â the teacher said. “Central [DOE] should pay.
A UFT representative told The Post: âNothing replaces face-to-face instruction. New York educators want their students to be physically in front of them this fall. They know parents have questions, so this is just one way for educators to contact families to address their concerns.
The representative added that the union had compiled a list of “likely relatives” from voter registration information, which is public.
Demott Myrie – a member of the Movement of Rank and File Educators, a progressive UFT caucus – told The Post: âI’m totally against it.
Myrie said it was unwise to promote home visits because cases of COVID-19 increase as the new Delta variant spreads. Myrie’s group resisted returning to school in person, citing the risks of COVID-19.
Myrie – who in 2019 unsuccessfully challenged UFT president Michael Mulgrew – suggested the side concert could be a boon for friends of union leaders. The union “is now using our dues to subsidize select people,” he said.