NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg continues to take heat for comments he made on his radio show last week.
Bloomberg, upset by the reluctance of the United Federation of Teachers to come up with an evaluation system, mentioned the UFT and the National Rifle Association in the same breath when talking about organizations being controlled by a vocal minority.
“The point I was trying to make was just like any other special interest group, the leadership of this union is more extreme and more obstructionist than its members,” Bloomberg said on Monday.
On Friday, the mayor drew fire for the following remarks:
“There’s a small group in the union. That’s typical of an organization like that,” Bloomberg said. “It’s typical of Congress, it’s typical of unions, it’s typical of companies, I guess, where a small group really is carrying the ball and the others aren’t necessarily in agreement,” Bloomberg said. “The NRA’s another place where the membership if you do the polling the membership doesn’t agree with the leadership.”
Bloomberg stressed on Monday that he was making specific reference to the union and not the majority of teachers themselves.
“I’ve said many times that our teachers are great,” he said. “You know, I’ve never seen a union before that tries to denigrate the job that is members are doing. The members of this union have done a spectacular job in the last 11 years.”
The mayor said an evaluation system would highlight the “amazing” job that teachers have done to improve graduation rates, adding that a “handful of teachers” could use “remedial work,” while others “cannot be in front of our kids.”
“The whole idea here is to promote good teaching and when we try to work with the leadership of the union, it’s standing in the way of any kind of promoting great teaching and certainly it’s not working for the interests of our children,” Bloomberg said. “It’s working for interest of a handful of teachers.”
Criticism of the comments continued on Monday.
National UFT President Randi Weingarten said the comparison in the wake of the Newtown elementary school shootings is disgusting.