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High teacher turnover draws hundreds to protest principal

Hundreds of Bronx teachers turned out on Friday to protest the high school principal they say is responsible for a 70 percent teacher turnover rate. In record time over the weekend, the Bronx division of the United Federation of Teachers produced a video about the event, which it coordinated.

Teachers charge that in the four years since Iris Blige has been principal of Fordham High School for the arts, a small school that opened in 2002, the school has run through nine assistant principals, four business managers, and more than 100 teachers. (This data point is in clear view on a protester’s poster in the video.) Blige replaced the founding principal, Sal Mazzola, who was removed after two years in charge because of poor performance, according to the school’s Insideschools review.

Fordham High School for the Arts' teacher turnover figures from its 2006-2007 state report card

Fordham High School for the Arts’ teacher turnover figures from its 2006-2007 state report card

According to the school’s most recent state report card, more than a quarter of all teachers left the school after the 2005-2006 school year, and the previous year the school lost more than half of all relatively new teachers. The UFT says turnover has only accelerated since then, with more than 70 percent of teachers leaving during the 2007-2008 school year.