The UFT and New York City school policy

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has been keen to show how he his different from his predecessor Michael Bloomberg. As I’ve argued elsewhere, nowhere is this clearer than in school policy. This is even reflected in the ease with which teachers are now getting tenure.

Bloomberg tried to make it more difficult for teachers to be awarded tenure. He hoped to make merit a genuine consideration. In the past tenure was nearly automatic and teachers were rated only on a binary satisfactory/unsatisfactory scale on which nearly all teachers were deemed satisfactory.  In 2013-14, only 60 percent of teacher received the coveted job protection–up seven percent from the previous year.

Now under de Blasio slightly fewer teachers are being denied tenure and those taking a little longer through a  probationary period are eventually gaining tenure. According to former Bloomberg Deputy Mayor Eric Nadelstern, “It’s a reflection that the teachers union has considerably more influence in what happens in the school system today than what they’ve had in a very long time.”

The head of the UFT Michael Mulgrew has said that de Blasio’s election constituted a “seismic shift” in education policy. Here is some more evidence that Bloomberg’s efforts to increase accountability and make the teacher evaluation system more sensitive to consideration of merit have been cast aside.

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