Bloomberg Says Bad Teachers Will Flunk Tenure

More Controversial is Layoffs-Without-Seniority Plan

By Tim Minton
|  Monday, Sep 27, 2010  |  Updated 10:00 PM EDT
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<a title=Mayor Bloomberg and New York City School's Chancellor Joel Klein have had enough when it comes to rubber stamping teachers who are up for tenure." />

Mayor Bloomberg and New York City School's Chancellor Joel Klein have had enough when it comes to rubber stamping teachers who are up for tenure.

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Mayor Bloomberg says those who can't teach...won't (anymore). The City's always had the right to reject tenure, basically a lifetime job guarantee, for any reason or no reason. 

Teachers are generally reviewed for tenure after three years on the job. The new standard breaks teachers into four categories, based on evaluations: highly effective, effective, developing and ineffective. Those rated in the bottom two groups will be denied or delayed tenure. 

"It's supposed to be a thoughtful process and it's supposed to be based on a teacher's job performance, said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.  "It's not supposed to be automatic, and if they were doing it automatically then they were being irresponsible."

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein counters that new data technology makes the system workable and fair. "I wished we had done it earlier too, but I'm thrilled we're doing it.," said the chancellor. 

Through the 2005-2006 school year, more than 99 percent of all teachers up for tenure, got it. Intermediate changes in the last three years have already reduced the approval number to 89 percent.

Another Bloomberg announcement will earn him a fight in Albany. Contemplating layoffs as the City cuts spending, the mayor wants the ability to choose who goes, irrespective of a seniority list that currently requires that more veteran teachers be spared. "So the newest teachers would be the first ones to go, even if they happen to be the best teachers. That makes no sense," said Bloomberg.

Well, it makes excellent sense to the teachers' union. "When we didn't have [seniority], inevitably when layoffs were done, they were done by cronyism, by race, by age and gender," responded UFT President Mulgrew.

Any change in layoff rules would have to be approved by legislators in Albany, where the teachers union has many friends and the mayor, who famously lost on a plan for congestion pricing tolls, owns a spotty record of success.

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