Beth Fertig is WNYC’s Contributing Editor for Education. She previously covered politics, which included City Hall during the Giuliani administration, and the U.S. Senate campaigns of Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton. She also covered transportation and infrastructure.
City Forges Ahead on Eliminating Teachers at 33 Schools
Monday, January 30, 2012
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the city is moving ahead with plans to close and reopen 33 struggling schools even though it means replacing about half their teachers or, according to some, he's proceeding because it means replacing half the teaching staff.
"The only thing that matters is helping the children and yes, we will do that. Nobody should make any mistake about that," the mayor said at a press conference on Monday.
The city stands to lose 58 million dollars in school improvement grants this month because the Bloomberg administration and the United Federation of Teachers couldn't agree on a new teacher evaluation system. The city now believes it can keep the federal money by switching to a different model that requires it to close and reopen the 33 schools by the fall with different staffers.
Many teachers at the affected schools believe the mayor is bluffing, in order to force the union to agree to a new system that will make it easier to remove low-performing teachers.
“This is not about the money, this is about crippling the 33 PLA [persistently low achieving] schools, it's about closing as many schools as possible,” said Michael Solo, a teacher and union representative at John Dewey High School.
For more on the schools closings, and teacher negotiations, visit SchoolBook.