Mayor De Blasio Defends System, But Admits Need For Tougher Evaluations

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A stunning decision to overturn teacher tenure laws in California has New York City parents mobilizing to seek the same thing here.

Teachers thought they had it pretty good when the union and Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed to a new contract that provides 18 percent raises over the next five years, but now parents are mounting an aggressive campaign to eliminate teacher tenure and weed out unsatisfactory teachers, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Wednesday.

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“For too long our children have been condemned to low-performing schools,” said Mona Davids of the New York City Parents Union.

Davids told CBS 2 that a variety of groups are banding together to file a suit similar to the so-called “Vergara” suit in California, Kramer reported. On Tuesday, the judge in that case tossed out tenure protection rules saying tenure protects teachers at the expense of students.

“The most unsatisfactory-rated teachers, the most ‘U’-rated teachers, are found in minority neighborhoods and we need to look at that because if we have almost 80 percent of minority kids not reading, writing and doing math at grade level that’s a problem. Maybe it’s the quality of the teachers,” Davids said.

There was union push-back. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said the case “stoops to pitting students against their teachers.”

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And while a spokesman for United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said his boss wouldn’t comment on a New York lawsuit that hasn’t been filed, he did comment on the California ruling, saying “What shocks the conscience is the way the judge misread the evidence and the law.”

Mayor de Blasio defended the tenure system.

“The tenure system, done right, is a valuable piece of the way we educate because what it’s going to allow us to do is get quality teachers, get them to stay in our school system,” the mayor said.

Despite supporting tenure, the mayor did concede that the city needs a tough teacher evaluation system because, “every profession has individuals who start down the road and just should not continue.”

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