Mayor Bloomberg prompted sighs of relief from 4,400 teachers today, while drawing the wrath of about 75,000 others, as well as many principals. Bloomberg announced that, to keep from massively cutting teaching jobs, he will instead freeze any raises for the next two years for teachers and principals in the Department of Education.
If his plan comes to fruition, it will also render all the recent wrangling about “last in, first out” irrelevant.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew issued a response that Bloomberg “has the power to unilaterally rescind the proposed layoffs, and I’m glad that he has made the right decision to avoid massive disruptions to our schools.” He is not, unsurprisingly, so keen about how the mayor is doing so: “[Bloomberg] does NOT have the power to unilaterally decide on the teachers‚ contract, and we have reached NO agreement on his proposal to freeze teacher pay. If the mayor has concrete ideas on the next contract, he and his representatives should bring them to the bargaining table at the Public Employment Relations Board, where our contract is currently in mediation.”
The Mayor and the UFT have been playing especially nicely lately. Like a student who stays up all night before a deadline, New York State filed its Race to the Top deadline yesterday at the last second. The application was supported by Bloomberg and Mulgrew, included a charter school cap raise both could live with, and was backed by a resounding 70 percent of local teacher unions around the state.