It's teacher hunting season!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

UPDATE: Bloomberg Says 2,500 Teacher Lay-Offs Loom / Ed. Comm. King's February 15 Evaluation Deadline

UPDATE: AMNY: BLOOMBERG SAYS 2,500 NYC TEACHER LAY-OFFS LOOM IF NO EVALUATION DEAL -SCROLL TO END Bloomberg, scolded, keeps blame for the lack of a teacher deal on the union | Capital New York

"Let us rate every month." --New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg
Has a kind of Marie Antoinette ring to it.


From the get-go this morning, during what was his final testimony on the state budget as mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg went on the attack against the teachers union and the state education department.
Near the start of his testimony before a joint session of the Assembly Ways and Means and the Senate Finance committees in Albany, Bloomberg derided the "state Education Department's outrageous pandering to the [United Federation of Teachers]," described U.F.T. tactics in its negotiations with the city as "shameless ploys" and said the teacher evaluation system as proposed by the U.F.T., would have created "an unworkable sham and a fraud on the public."
And he was just getting started.
The issue at hand was the city's failure to reach an agreement with the teachers union on a teacher evaluation system by the state-mandated January 17 deadline.
The city was one of just a handful of state districts that failed to reach an agreement with its teachers union by the deadline, endangering up to $450 million in state and federal aid.
Today, the mayor said the ensuing loss of funding could lead to the loss by attrition of 700 teachers this school year and another 1,800 next, in addition to fewer after-school programs, fewer substitute teachers and fewer teacher aides.
The state has since set a new deadline, February 15. If the city and union don't reach a deal by then, state education commissioner John King has threatened to suspend the city's ability to spend another $830 million in federal aid.
Following his testimony, Bloomberg endured multiple rounds of questioning from the assembled politicians, including a particularly heated interrogation from Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, an ally of the UFT.
"Don't you feel some responsibilty for this disaster?" she asked him. "And it is a disaster."
"Now we're sitting here, and I have to look at my son, who is a freshman in a New York City high school and say to him he's gonna be punished because the adults couldn't work it out?" she continued, now yelling at the billionaire mayor as if he were an errant schoolboy.
The mayor offered a long response in which he pointedly declined to take any responsibility.
"What is your strategy for accepting some responsibility as the head of the local school district under mayoral control for this debacle?" Nolan asked again.
The mayor responded that the evaluation deals reached in the rest of the state are "just jokes, Cathy," because they expire after just a year, and getting rid of a failing teacher takes two years in New York State.
"People are saying they did something and they didn't do it," he said.
"But incremental progress is how government works," she countered, before returning to the trope of her son.
"What do I tell my son? It's my son who's in a New York City public school that I chose to send him. What do I say?"
"Cathy, you can change the law," said Bloomberg. "Let us rate every month."
"Everybody else made an agreement but the city," she said.
"Yes, because everybody else is just interested in getting the money and committing what I call fraud," he responded.

As reported in AMNY print editions, speaking before the New York State Legislature in Albany, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said that 2,500 teacher lay-offs loom by 2014 if there is no New York City teacher evaluation deal.

AMNY's web edition tonight (Jan. 29) reports that Bloomberg, when speaking of the city's budget, cited the $250 million lost state funds as thre reason for an anticipated 2,500 teacher layoffs. CAPITAL NEW YORK REPORTS $724 AS TOTAL LOST STATE AID
At risk is $724 million in state funding over the next two years, and possibly, another $1 billion on top of that.

Should there be no teacher evaluation deal by the second deadline, the mayor predicts the city will have to get rid of some 700 teachers this school year by attrition, and another 1,800 next year, not to mention lots of extracurricular activities, afterschool programs, and school supplies.

Whatever pain the city might suffer "is more than worth it" in pursuit of a good evaluation deal, said the mayor.

There was also some more generalized carping about the state's shrinking contributions to city education.

In 2002, when the mayor took office, the city and state split non-federally funded education costs. Now the state only funds 39 percent.

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