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Bloomberg, UFT Say No Deal Reached Over Teacher Evaluation Plan

Both NYC And The Union Have Stopped Talking, Continue Blame Game
Mayor Bloomberg (file/credit: Edward Reed via Flickr)

Mayor Bloomberg (file/credit: Edward Reed via Flickr)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Despite a midnight Friday deadline, no deal was reached between New York City and the teacher’s union on a teacher evaluation plan.

Both sides have stopped talking after a breakdown in negotiations over a way to evaluate the city’s 75,000 teachers, the city is at risk of losing up to $450 million in state aid and grants, CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will not extend the midnight deadline.

“Since we established one of the strongest teacher evaluation models in the nation last year, 98 percent of school districts have successfully implemented them,” Cuomo said in a statement.  “The remaining districts and their unions have until midnight tonight to do the same or they will forfeit the increase in education aid they have been counting on and both parties will have failed the children they serve.”

Each of the state’s nearly 700 school districts was told to submit a plan on how it would evaluate teachers by Jan. 17. All but four districts — including New York City — had submitted plans by Wednesday.

“The [United Federation of Teachers] insisted changing the method of scoring teacher evaluations in a way that would ensure that fewer teachers would be labeled ineffective,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

To which UFT President Michael Mulgrew responded “That’s a lie.”

“I am sorry to announce that I have notified Gov. Cuomo and other state officials that — despite long nights of negotiation and a willingness on the part of teachers to meet the DOE halfway – the intransigence of the Bloomberg administration on key issues has made it impossible to reach agreement on a new teacher evaluation system,” said Mulgrew. “It is particularly painful to make this announcement because last night our negotiators had reached agreement – but Mayor Bloomberg blew the deal up in the early hours today, and despite the involvement of state officials we could not put it back together.”

“Thousands of parents have gotten a lesson this week, as the Mayor’s ‘my way or the highway’ approach has left thousands of schoolchildren stranded at curbs across the city by the school bus strike. That same stubborn attitude on the Mayor’s part now means that our schools will suffer a loss of millions of dollars in state aid.”

“There was a deal to be had here, we were actually very close,” Bloomberg said Thursday, accusing the union of continually moving the finish line back during their negotiations.

“I’m sitting here trying not to be too angry, cause what I just saw was an elected official trying to cover his backside,” said Mulgrew.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott echoed “we were very, very close.”

“We want the right deal for our children that will not hurt them in the long run,” Walcott said.

The State Education Commissioner, John B. King, Jr., released a statement Thursday afternoon saying “Even at this late hour, Mayor Bloomberg and United Federation of Teachers President Mulgrew still have time.  They can still put aside what seem to be minor differences and resolve this crisis.”

“We have a detailed perspective on what each side is proposing.  I’m confident that if the Mayor and Mr. Mulgrew act quickly, we can review a plan in time to meet the deadline,” King, Jr.’s statement read.

Bloomberg said there were two major stumbling blocks. Bloomberg said the union wanted the agreement to sunset in 2015, which he said “would sabotage the entire agreement.” Bloomberg said that was a non-starter because the teacher evaluation period itself was two years – and the sunset deadline means nothing would get done.

Bloomberg also said the UFT wanted to double the number of arbitration hearings.

“In failing to reach an agreement… the saddest part is that our students will pay the cost,” Bloomberg said. “I can’t tell you how much it pains me to see this happening.”

“The Mayor said a lot about sunsets, sunsets, but the fact of the matter is the the city agreed to it,” Mulgrew said.

Under state law, 20 percent of the ratings must be based on students’ growth on state tests. Another 20 percent must be based on local measures and the remaining 60 percent must include classroom observations and can also include parent or student surveys.

The question now remains whether a last-minute deal can be hammered out Thursday night.  The UFT said given the heated environment and lack of time, that seems unlikely.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)