Union Says Mayor's Attitude Is 'I Am Always Right And Everyone Else Is Wrong'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered stinging criticism of the New York City teacher’s union Tuesday for “dragging their feet and throwing up roadblocks” during negotiations over teacher evaluations.

“We will not go back by making a deal that protects adults at the expense of kids nor will we do a deal that purports to do one thing when we all know it’s impossible to do it the way they wanted it structured,” Bloomberg said.

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The comments were directed at talks that broke down last week and cost the city millions of dollars in state grant money.

A law, which was passed in New York in 2010, required school districts to submit evaluation plans.

Twenty percent of the evaluations are to 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.

However, the mayor and other city education officials balked at what they believed were unreasonable demands being made by the United Federation of Teachers.

Among the contentious issues was the union’s demands that the evaluation deal sunset in June of 2015.

Bloomberg said that provision would render the system “meaningless” because as the mayor put it “it takes two years to get an ineffective teacher out.”

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The union also sought to double the number of arbitration hearings.

“Some have suggested that we should accept their last offer, pretending it was adequate and taking the state’s money. We will not do that. We are not going to be complicit in a fraud,” Bloomberg said. “We are not going to sign an evaluation deal that is a fraud and a hoax on the public. The public has a right to expect us to put the best teachers, the teachers that can do the job in front of their kids.”

UFT President Michael Mulgrew reacted to Bloomberg’s comments, saying “He’s gone from ‘my way or the highway’ to ‘I am always right and everyone else is wrong’ And people wonder why negotiations haven’t been successful.”

“Most people would be embarrassed that the state’s highest education official has directly contradicted their statements about a new teacher evaluation system.  But not the Mayor,” Mulgrew said in the statement.

New York City lost out on $250 million in state aid. It is money they would have been eligible for if a deal had been in place by Jan. 17.

However, an additional $200 million in grants could still come to NYC schools if an evaluation deal is agreed to by Feb. 15 after the state education commissioner extended his deadline.

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