Mayor Takes Swipe At City’s Veteran Teachers
By: Josh Robin
Mayor Bloomberg may have taken his sour relationship with teachers to a new low Wednesday, after he knocked veteran teachers as no better prepared for the classroom than their younger counterparts.
Mayor Bloomberg may have taken his sour relationship with teachers to a new low Wednesday, after he knocked veteran teachers as no better prepared for the classroom than their younger counterparts. NY1’s Josh Robin filed the following report.
Teachers Peter Lamphere and Julie Cavanagh have 19 years in the classroom between them — enough time to believe there’s no substitute for experience.
“All of us know that we get better at our jobs as we go along. I think it’s extraordinarily true with teaching,” Lamphere said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, though, isn’t so sure veterans in the classroom are the best. On the one hand, he admits seniority gives teachers the ability to learn more. But while speaking to reporters Wednesday he added, “The length of time that you have worked is irrelevant to whether or not you can do what our children need.”
The remark shocked teachers and is ramping up the school wars during a sensitive time.
“If you look at the schools that Cathie Black and Mayor Bloomberg sent their own children, they boast about the number of years experience that their teachers have,” Cavanagh said.
“What I would say to the mayor is I’d be more than happy to spend some time with him in side of schools, and so this way he can develop a better understanding of what he’s talking about,” said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew.
The mayor is calling for more than 4,000 layoffs and wants it done solely on merit. He’s also dismissing a plan Governor Andrew Cuomo put out Tuesday on how to handle reducing the ranks of teachers.
Law now requires layoffs to be done by reverse seniority, also known as “Last In, First Out,” or LIFO. Like Bloomberg, Cuomo says the city should move past the policy.
But Cuomo’s bill doesn’t directly change the law, it only speeds up and expands an evaluation system.
“If it doesn’t repeal LIFO, as the law of the land, it simply kicks the can down the road, and it will kick some of our best teachers to the curb, and I think that would be a travesty,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor gave Cuomo just hours to come up with a better bill, like the one the Republican-led State Senate just passed.
Cuomo’s spokesman says the bill is a first step, adding any changes should be done by collective bargaining. This, as layoff notices are set to go out this spring.
As for Bloomberg, some see a troubling irony in his knock on experience. After all, he cited just that in his successful bid to over turn term limits and win another four years at City Hall.