Mayor Mike Bloomberg on UFT Ad Attacking Him: 'I Didn't See It'

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Mayor Mike Bloomberg, on his weekly radio show this morning, said he doesn't watch a lot of television. Well, actually, Mr. Mayor, that is pretty contradictory to some statements you made yesterday next to cast members from Gossip Girl. Get your facts straight, dude!

The mayor -- so versed in the the hit teen drama show that he could be writing recaps for Gawker -- is apparently less interested in watching television when he's being bashed.

WOR's John Gambling this morning asked the mayor for a response to the new Teachers Union ad that came out this week, criticizing Bloomberg for playing politics with schools.

"I didn't see it," Bloomberg said.

"Yes you did," Gambling responded.

"God as my witness -- well, I don't watch a lot of television," the mayor said. "If they want to waste the money of their members, it isn't going to change anything. We are going to fix this problem that we have where some of the teachers need remedial help and they don't get it and some just even with remedial help aren't effective and they shouldn't be in the classroom."

Echoing what he has said over and over and over again, Bloomberg used the question about the ad to discuss the importance of teacher evaluations and prioritizing students over union interests.

"If you have an effective teacher, you change that child's life," he said. "We cannot wait anymore."

Teachers need to be better evaluated, he argued.

"Our students don't have pass-fail and life isn't pass-fail. Only here do we think pass-fail is fine...In the private sector, your boss decides whether you are good or bad. And if your boss thinks you're not the right person for the job, he replaces you...We have this enormous group of phenomenally good teachers and there's a handful of teachers that just unfortunately aren't there."

Later in the radio show -- after Bloomberg said pretty much the same stuff he said yesterday about the continuing Ray Kelly drama -- the topic again returned to teachers when Gambling asked the mayor about the status of negotiations between the United Federation of Teachers and the city.

The negotiations had apparently stalled and might have restarted this week.

"No, no they never really broke off. Both sides agreed we had two days to go to a holiday weekend -- we're not going to get anything done. Let's go home. Okay, c'mon, that's not somebody walking out," Bloomberg said.

"Keep in mind, the UFT is a big union and the city has lots of its members as employees and so we talk all the time. And yes we've been talking. Progress or no progress -- y'know, that's not the way things work. They come together at the end or they don't, but they never come together until the end, and you never know really where you stand," he said.

"I think, in all fairness, the head of the Teachers Union Michael Mulgrew would like to have a deal. He represents his members. His job is to get the best deal he can for his members and protect all his members. My job is to get the best school system we can for our kids. This school system is going to be run for the kids," he said.

"He's a good labor leader and understands the issues. The ads -- I think that's just, I don't know why the members want him to go and waste all that money. I literally haven't seen it."

[SamTLevin / @SamTLevin]

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1 comments
Buddy Bronx
Buddy Bronx

In regard to poor teachers in the New York City school system, I believe there is one aspect of the problem in which few are recognizing. A supervisor/manager in the NYC DOE has 3-5 years in which to determine whether a teacher belongs in the classroom, requires further development, or should be removed. Mayor Bloomberg believes fifty percent of the teachers should be let go. Interestingly, due to the high turnover rate in the profession, the Mayor and the DOE are responsibile for hiring most of the teachers presently within the system. Additionally, the DOE is given up to five years to pinpoint a "dud" in the classroom and have the teacher removed. Why is the union getting the blame for something that is actually fully in control of the Mayor and the DOE? It is they who are: 1) responsibile for the hiring; 2) responsibile for the direct supervision and training of the new employee; 3) have the power to deny tenure to the teacher up to five years. Therefore, it is possible that the problem for employees that should not be teaching lies more with the hiring, training, and supervision policies of the DOE. They need to look at the hiring process not blame the union. Can we imagine any business organization having at the minimum up to three years and, if necessary, up to five years the ability and power to determine whether to keep an employee or advise the employee to find another career, but not doing so?

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