NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) – Mayor Michael Bloomberg is tossing automatic tenure for city teachers — out with the trash.
The mayor wants to place a high quality educator in every classroom, and he said the only way to do that is for teachers to “earn” tenure.
When it comes to education reform Mayor Bloomberg has a huge appetite, so it was no surprise that he took a huge bite of that long treasured education perk — automatic lifetime tenure.
“For too long, the tenure evaluation process for both principals and teachers has been a formality, a rubber stamp,” the mayor said.
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But no longer. Effective immediately, the city will implement a four-tier rating system. Only teachers in the top two tiers — those rated “highly effective’ or “effective” — can apply for tenure after three years.
But there’s more.
“Only teachers who help students and schools move ahead significantly for at least two consecutive years will earn tenure,” Bloomberg said.
Even the teachers union is on board, but the members wonder why it took the mayor so long to realize he had the power to do it.
“It’s never supposed to be given automatically. And I’m happy that after eight years he realizes he has the power and the responsibility that tenure was always supposed to be based on a teacher’s job performance,” union president Michael Mulgrew said.
Some parents, however, don’t seem to be on the mayor’s side.
“Teachers are the backbone of America. If you don’t treat them right they’re not going to treat your kids right,” said Jason Ridges of Park Slope.
“Maybe they need to figure out how or a broader way of evaluating teachers. But I think lately teachers are getting bad rap,” former PS 282 teacher Karen Elicone said.
“I think that’s a great idea. I think like any job you should earn your ability to stay and to move up,” added PS 282 parent Judy Corless.
The mayor also wants to end teacher seniority, the so-called “first in, last out” policy, so that when layoffs come it will not necessarily be all the new teachers who face the ax.
The union doesn’t support that policy and pointed out that it would require a new state law and that it could lead to ageism, nepotism, and racism.
In another new education initiative sponsored by the mayor, City University and IBM will open an unusual 14-year school — that merges high school with two years of colleges. Successful graduates will be first in line for jobs at IBM.