By Steve Gunn
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg obviously means business.
He wasn’t just bluffing when he threatened to close 24 failing schools and reopen them in the fall with new management and radically different teaching staffs.
On Thursday, the city’s Panel on Education Policy voted to take the mayor’s advice and close the 24 schools in the fall. All of the teachers in in the schools will be forced to reapply for their jobs, and none of the schools will retain more than 50 percent of their current teachers.
Of course the teachers union is screaming about the move and doing everything it can to get the parents of students in the affected schools upset. Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, has threatened a lawsuit to try to stop the school closures.
An editorial in the New York Post put Mulgrew and the union in their places:
“Mulgrew & Co. have only themselves to blame,” the editorial said. “Rewind to December, when Mulgrew essentially walked away from talks over a meaningful teacher evaluation process. The UFT refused to sign off on any deal that had any teeth – i.e. anything that would hold its members truly accountable for their performance in the classroom.
“Indeed, bargaining broke down when the union demanded more protections for the worst-performing teachers. So the mayor when a different route: He decided that if the UFT didn’t want to help craft a system for enforce accountability, the city would adopt one that didn’t need a union sign-off: closing the schools.
“Ultimately, this isn’t about whether union bosses can be reasonable; it’s about whether New York kids are going to learn. Do what you have to do, Mr. Mayor.”