NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — According to the New York City Department of Education, the number of discipline cases against public school teachers has dropped significantly since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, while running for mayor, de Blasio said his predecessor demonized teachers and promised a new era of cooperation with educators.
So what might that mean when it comes to disciplining teachers for incompetence or misconduct?
According to the education department, in the first four months of last year when Michael Bloomberg and Dennis Walcott ran the schools, the DOE filed disciplinary charges against 145 educators.
Meanwhile in the first four months of this year, with de Blasio and Carmen Farina at the helm, the DOE charged 101 educators, the department said.
That represents a 30 percent drop in disciplinary charges, Aiello reported.
Mayor de Blasio defended the numbers when asked why they were lower.
“I think that’s a very short time frame in which to judge,” the mayor said. “Those who aren’t meant for the profession we’re gonna help move along. Those who have discipline problems we’re going to take them seriously and follow up rigorously.”
Reform advocate Tenicka Boyd, a city public schools parent, said she fears the decrease in teacher discipline cases is a policy choice.
“I think it represents lax enforcement by the de Blasio administration. It’s clear that he’s not really interested in disciplining teachers, but providing political cover for his allies,” said Boyd.
Another education reform advocate, former journalist Campbell Brown, said the discipline numbers bear watching as de Blasio’s tenure unfolds.
“If this is a trend line then we have to know why. If the standards have changed parents deserve to know why,” Brown said.
The mayor said one thing has changed. He’ll improve teacher training to help bad educators get better.
A review of last year’s discipline decisions showed firing teachers for incompetence is very difficult. 55 percent of the time, a hearing officer rejected termination in favor of suspensions and fines.
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