One way to deal with the problem of teachers who don't have permanent jobs in the Department of Education but can't be laid off thanks to their union contract? Buy 'em out. And that option is exactly what Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott proposed doing yesterday. Probably better than spending $100 million or so a year to keep them employed, which Walcott says we currently do.

Though he didn't go into great detail, Walcott told the Association for a Better New York yesterday that the DOE is now considering buying out the 800+ teachers in the absent teacher reserve (a.k.a. "the pool"). Those teachers have often lost their jobs due to budget cuts and school closings and are now floaters, often working as subs—though Walcott implied yesterday they also "probably chose the wrong profession."

For its part, United Federation of Teachers reps point out they've been suggesting buyouts for some years now as a way to to lessen the load. How much such a buyout would be for and if the teachers would actually take it, however, remains unclear.

And that wasn't the only bombshell Walcott dropped yesterday. He also mentioned a plan to start removing elementary school teachers from classrooms if they receive poor evaluations two years in a row (even though the UFT is still fighting those same evaluations). The policy would not apply to middle or high school classes, though. "If we truly believe that every student deserves a great teacher," Walcott said, "then we can’t accept a system where a student suffers with a poor-performing one for two straight years."