ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a day after their public clash over a teacher evaluation system to determine layoffs, said Thursday they are now working together.
“He needs a law passed,” Cuomo said of Bloomberg at a news conference on Staten Island. “He understands it’s not easy getting a law passed in Albany, especially on a controversial matter like that, and he wants my help doing it. And I’m going to give him my help.”
The state’s Republican-controlled Senate passed a bill Tuesday that Bloomberg wanted. It created a teacher evaluation system based on performance. It would end the current policy of basing layoffs on “last in, first out,” meaning a good, younger teacher would lose his or her job before a more senior teacher, even if the older one was an inferior instructor.
Bloomberg, an independent, wanted the law hurried through so he could use the new process as early as this spring, when thousands of layoffs may have to begin. Progress on that bill ended when Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver blocked it and the Democratic governor introduced his own to create a teacher evaluation system that would be ready for use in the September semester.
Bloomberg and Cuomo disagreed on whether Cuomo’s bill was even tied to enacting layoffs or if that would require separate legislation to link the evaluation system.
Teachers unions praised Cuomo for his intervention.
Cuomo said he thought “the mayor’s point is justified.”
“We’re talking about the same time frame — not tomorrow, but not six months from now, either,” Cuomo said.
Bloomberg, an independent, said Thursday at a separate news conference that Cuomo shares his view on teachers’ quality.
“We both have exactly the same interest of getting the best teachers we can in front of the classroom,” he said. “Sadly, we are going to have to lay off some teachers. We just don’t have the money.”
Cuomo noted the effort to create an objective evaluation system that could be used to improve faculty and schools statewide as well as for layoffs is being watched closely by unions representing other types of workers.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg said Cuomo’s idea “simply kicks the can down the road, kicks some of our best teachers to the curb.”
Cuomo said Thursday he understood the mayor’s frustrations.
“I think the mayor is or was frustrated in dealing with the legislative process in Albany,” Cuomo said. “I understand how one could get frustrated with the legislative process in Albany.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)