Teachers' Union Thrilled Mayor Finally Jumps On BoardBy Marcia Kramer

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.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

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.

Marcia Kramer

Comments (42)
  1. BIG BOSS says:



  2. JP says:

    TENURE is only the right to due process hearings!! not lifetime security.

  3. P.Doyle says:

    I do not for a moment believe that teachers work for “little” money. Those times are long gone.
    I do believe that teachers in NYC have a very very difficult job. Teaching in general is a taxing job, both physically and emotionally, in addition to to its intellectual demands. Unless you have spent time in a few classrooms with a bunch of kids – some of whom don’t want to be there – some of whom will go home to a place where there are NO books and no encouragement to learn – unless you have done that, you really don’t know what you are talking about.
    I have no big problem with earned tenure. I do have a problem with who is going to decide and on what basis. Is it a professional administrator who has spent little or no time in a classroom?
    Are children to be evaluated like products from a factory?
    How do you measure the intangibles that an effective teacher instills in students? I don’t trutst anyone on the NYC BOE to do it.

  4. Donald .P says:


  5. Allan Aronson says:

    The current rise in anti-teacher rhetoric is not benefiting the most important constituency in the equation-the children. Children are listening very carefully to this discussion and are coming away with the conclusions that teachers are no longer their role models but people to be distrusted, disrespected and the cause of many of society’s ills. Politicians feel free to bash teachers instead of having the strength to stand up and support them with proper funding to reduce class size, improve school conditions and increased training and development.

  6. Baskerville says:

    Unions are generally deplorable and lower standards wherever they exist.

    Having said that, parents expect miracles from teachers. Good students begin at home with good parents. Bad students begin at home with bad parents. Hold parents accountable. It’s the only way.

  7. Ronnie from Morris Park says:

    The education failure mayor will be your claim to fame in the future. Did you make a “donation” to the group that allowed you speak today. Now the middle schools are failing our children with over 11,000 kids finding out just now they didn’t pass and go to 9th grade but had to leave their high schools and return to 8th grade. Will we hear chants from the mayor and his DOE lap dog Klein to close these failing schools? Only if he wants to weasel a charter into one of them. His tenure should be revoked after 8 years of smoke and mirrors

  8. nathan says:

    As the hubby of a spec ed teacher and dad to 2 g/t kids, i love it. Perform better or stop whining.

    1. tenured and secure says:

      What the general public needs to understand is that, for the most part, teacher performance is not on the decline…it’s the strength that the principals/assistant principals have gained from the Bloomberg-Klein administration and the ability given to them to bully teachers with whom they cannot get along…yes, even good teachers – ESPECIALLY good teachers – because we are not about the statistics; but about honesty and not passing kids who do not deserve it. SHAME on the monster that Bloomberg has created and the hatred he has for teachers. What happened to him when he was a kid?

  9. tenured and secure says:

    I’m in agreement regarding the UFT’s fight for children as well as teachers. However, regarding the parents’ influence in the schools, not so much. Speaking from personal experience, parents have gained more influence over the past years, especially when they are willing to work with administrators against the teachers who are disliked by their principals. I would like to see the parents utilized in a more constructive manner. Let’s work together for the students…after all, real teachers don’t tell the parents how to parent,,,we don’t like parents telling us how to teach.

  10. jerry says:

    Our country would be in a sorry state, if not for the unions !! The UFT fights for the children as well as the teachers. And may I add, that parents have seen their role in influencing changes in the schools, GREATLY diminished under the Bloomberg administration. The UFT has fought many battles with Bloomberg and Klein to change this.

  11. tenured and secure says:

    Hey, Jerry…it’s Joel not Joe. Having said that, I’m going to write an actual original comment. First of all, Bloomberg may have a lot of money and power, but not enough that he can take away tenure from teachers who have secured it through the collective bargaining agreement and years of satisfactory service. As long as we still have a semi-functioning union that is being paid to work in our best interest, Bloomberg can only talk about taking away tenure. Since it’s all about statistics with this businessman, why not try holding parents and students more accountable, instead letting all of the responsibility and blame fall continually on the teachers’ shoulders? Keep this up, and all the money and tenure in the world will not be enough to coerce the best individuals to teach the kids… except, maybe of cours, Guggenheim’s “Superman.”

    1. jerry says:

      You make excellent points ! Parents and students must be held more accountable.
      And sorry, I meant Joel.

  12. maria says:

    Tyranny of teacher’s unions? Lou have you stood in front of a NYC classroom? Do you listen to stories of kids who come to school unfed? Do you know what it’s like to work for this city? The reason education is failing is NOT the teachers, it’s the politicians whose first budget cut is education. So, my friend before you lambaste teachers and the unions, stand in front of a classroom in NYC and teach.

  13. Vlad says:

    The worst for American business, School education, Police, Fire departments, Government, State and City jobs are Unions. They kill competitions, they protect lazy workers. They use tax payers’ hard earning money. They are very greedy particularly in this very hard economy time. America has to rid off Unions, rid off lazy workers.

  14. jerry says:

    The schools in NYC are in terrible shape, not because of the UFT, but because of the Bloomberg/Klein policies of the last 8 years.And btw to all the haters directing personal attacks at me…I am a retired NYC teacher with 34 years of top-notch service to the children I taught.

  15. not an english teacher says:

    Disheartened teacher, maybe your resume was filled will as many grammatical errors as your post and that is why you can’t find a job.

    1. MsD says:

      not an english teacher: There was no cause for insulting another person’s credibility. That comment was so unnecessary!

  16. valerie says:

    I agree that unions have outgrown their original purpose. Unions workers (most, not all) will do minimum work because they can’t get fired! How is this fair to the rest of us? How is it fair to give tenure to teachers who are not performing at their best?

  17. Lou Janicek says:

    This is a great first step. Bravo Mayor Bloomberg. Together with Gov. Christie’s efforts in NJ we are seeing the first tentative steps in getting the education of our children on track while gaining a semblance of control over the out of control costs of education. Perhaps we are also seeing the beginning of the end of the tyranny foisted by the Teachers Union(s) in their outrageous demands for unrealistic salaries/benefits and their very often, failing educational policies and philosophies.

  18. jimbe41 says:

    Good luck Bloomberg…even the president will have a tough time fight the Union. In my opinion Union are just as powerful as the government today

  19. P Crosby says:

    Why should anyone other than Supreme Court Jstices get lifetime job protection.

  20. disheartened teacher says:

    Mayor Bloomberg can talk all he wants, because he is not protecting my job… And to further comment, due to bureaucratic baloney, mis-information, improper guidance and mentoring, I am a 7-12 licensed math teacher sitting at home. I worked 5 years full-time with the BOE, and was told that I need to complete the necessary courses for complete licensure. (That was stemmed from the improper procedures used to hire me…) My position was demoted to substitute and have not changed even though everything was completed by the following year. Whenever a school is willing to hire me, they are told not to because of the overload of excessed teachers. What does that make me…? I have an impeccable record with work ethics and enhanced student performance and communication. It is sad that even after 11 years as a teacher, I have yet had one union rep stood up for me and/or assist me in getting back into the classroom. All my union dues were in vain! I have lost hope in the American school system that will spent money and give opportunities and tenureship to international teachers and is yet to help an effective teacher that is more than capable. And as for the reason I am home is now due to lay-off in an educational institution that deals with “last in, first out”. Go figure… I won’t give up on teaching but I have given up on living to achieve the American dream…maybe it is time for me to move away…

  21. MasterG says:

    @retired guy glad you’re retired. It’s that kind of thinking that has caused us to lose all of our quality jobs to unscrupulous Chinese manufacturers who don’t care how their toxin-laced products affect our health

  22. retired guy says:

    I worked for a school district for 10 years. The AFT is the most militant union I have ever seen except for maybe the Teamsters. Unions are a problem today, they have WAY outlived their usefulness. Maybe we should just bring teaches in from China. That is where most other jobs went thanks to the greed of unions. In this case I support the Mayor.

    1. leah Bat-Har says:

      That’s where the jobs went due to the greed of the large Corpratists! The problem is the willful destruction of unions by militant greedy multi-national corporations.

  23. concerned citizen says:

    Concerned taxpayer. It’s “whose”, not “who’s”. Perhaps you are one of these overpaid and tenured, yet incompetent teachers? Or are you just a product of their work?

  24. d. goodwin says:

    Again a non educator is making policy decisions. This is the main reason for failing schools, that and uninvolved parents. Hw do we know that th rating officer approving tenure, is an objectivee individual? What if the administartor is not skilled enough to hwelp techers improve enough to be highly rated? How do you measure the effectiveness of a teacher accuarately?

  25. concerned taxpayer says:

    Concerned parent, you’re an idiot. You must be someone who’s kids can’t learn.

    1. Mamacuds says:

      Why is it necessary to call someone an idiot? Teaching is a very difficult job. You have students who want to be entertained. Administrators who want you to teach a certain way with no regard for what type of students you have. Teachers are hired right out of college without any training or support. If they are trained it is after they have been in the classroom/observed by their supervisor. It is too late by then.

    2. TEACHER says:


  26. concerned parent says:

    jerry you’re an idiot, you must be a teacher

    1. Tchr says:

      If you are so concerned- concerned parent- spend a week doing the job of a teacher in an average NYC classroom.

      1. TEACHER says:


    2. bb says:

      There are usually 2 sides to this and other stories. Yours (as unsubstantiated reasoning as it is) should be resubmitted.

  27. jerry says:

    There he goes again…our anti-union, anti-teacher mayor thinks he is helping education, while in fact, fewer and fewer people will study to be teachers. The low salaries, terrible working conditions, unreasonable demands on teachers, and the complete loss of creativity in the classroom to make room for 6 hours of test-taking strategies daily…all make teaching a most undesirable profession. Thank you Joe Klein and Mr. Mayor.

    1. Old Man says:

      Of COURSE YOU ARE A TEACHER! Talk about low salaries….why don’t you teachers compare your paychecks with most of the working public? You will find that you in fact make pretty darn good money. Quit whining! Quit living off the public trough! If it’s so bad…….CHANGE JOBS! You teachers are spoiled brats!

      1. leah Bat-Har says:

        You have no respect for teachers, who work very hard for little money, and you suggest they are living off the public trough? Shame on you

    2. Leah Bat-Har says:

      you are absolutely correct Jerry

  28. StormsNYC says:

    makes sense to me! Long gone is the social contract between teachers and the community at large where teachers received lower pay than most other jobs, but in return they received a great pension. This change came about due to a number of factors, including collective bargaining by the unions. Now society is realizing that teachers cannot have it both ways, with a great pension and higher salaries and benefits and job security. If you want to have better comp, you have to be more competitive and reward those that earn the rewards with results. Why can’t capitalism work in public education?

    1. maria says:

      Capitalism can’t work because children are not a commodity; further, if you want capitalism to work in public education, then get ready to reach deep into your pocket and start paying based on merit–you know there are some teachers doing fantastic work.

    2. Leah Bat-Har says:

      here is your spelling test

      How do you spell nepotism?

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