“Teacher quality, teacher quality, and teacher quality. We have to get the best teachers we can find in front of the classroom,” this is the core of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s education policy. Bloomberg’s opinion comes as verbal jabs continue to fly between Hizzoner and the United Federation of Teachers over teacher evaluations. The Mayor said on Tuesday that, “Our system should not be run for the teachers, it’s run for the students.”
Bloomberg made the remarks while presenting the Fiscal Year 2014 Preliminary Budget. The 8-billion dollar education budget already shows cutbacks this year and includes the elimination of educators. “Next year we will have to, through attrition, reduce something like 1800 teachers on a base of roughly 75,000 and for people that don’t like it, all I can tell you is that the taxpayers are putting in more and more money every single year. We just have to get some help from Albany,” said Bloomberg.
Governor Cuomo is offering some $250 million in assistance if evaluations will be executed annually instead of every-two years. The Mayor calls this offer a sham, “The state law requires a two-year period to evaluate a teacher. How can you have a one-year evaluation plan? It is just a joke.”
By rejecting the deal, however, the City and the UFT lost out on $250 million after failing to reach an agreement. Bloomberg said later that any deal has to be “real” and can withstand a laugh test.
As to how this will end? “We don’t know how it’s going to work out,” said Bloomberg.
In Albany on Tuesday afternoon, Michael Mulgrew, UFT President, was quoted saying, “If the Mayor continues to act as recklessly as he has, I would ask the Legislature to revisit the school governance legislation.”
In a statement that Mulgrew emailed to PIX 11 News through a spokesman, the union head says, “Since it was Mayor Bloomberg who walked away from a teacher evaluation deal the city should ensure that the lost $240 million come from central bureaucracy and bloated contracts, not classrooms and instruction.”
The bell for the next round awaits.