By Ben Velderman
NEW YORK – It may be the Christmas season, but “peace on Earth and goodwill toward men” isn’t evident yet in the New York City school system.
Instead, the seemingly endless sparring match between school officials and union leaders over teacher evaluations has been ratcheted up.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said Thursday that the district must get in synch with state law that requires 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation to be based on student test scores.
“The current system makes it impossible to distinguish great teaching from good, good from fair, and fair from poor,” Walcott said.
Walcott warned that if the local teachers union – the United Federation of Teachers – doesn’t get on board with that plan by December 21, the district will lose out on 4 percent of its state aid, reports the New York Post.
That would equal a loss of about $250 million, and would result in teacher layoffs, higher class sizes and the cancellation of art, sports and library programs, the Post reports.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew dismissed the warning as “bogus” and accused Walcott and Mayor Michael Bloomberg of “playing politics with our schools.”
Actually, it’s Big Labor leaders like Mulgrew who have injected politics into the day-to-day operations of the school district. School leaders simply want to make sure kids are being taught by competent adults.
The UFT, on the other hand, is only concerned with saving members’ jobs and keeping the dues dollars flowing into union coffers.