With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, the city and the teacher’s union are struggling to reach a deal over teacher evaluations.
“Today, the UFT was informed by the mediator appointed by the state’s Public Employment Relations Board that the city and the Department of Education have refused to take part in mediation designed to help us reach an agreement on a new model for teacher evaluations,” said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew in a released statement.
“In recent days, thanks to virtually around-the-clock bargaining, we have made progress, but important and difficult issues remain,” continued Mulgrew. “The city’s blind rejection of outside help in resolving these remaining issues is unexplainable and poses a serious threat to our ability to reach an agreement before Thursday’s deadline.”
The deadline for reaching a deal in order to receive federal money was today. If both parties can’t reach a deal after today, New York City’s public schools will miss out on an almost 4 percent increase ($250 million) in state aid approved by Albany last year in addition to $200 million in grants.
Back in December, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he wouldn’t move the deadline for completed new teacher evaluations. Cuomo said that if the district didn’t finish on time, they wouldn’t see any increase in school aid for 2013. By the end of 2012, only 200 of the 700 school districts had met the Jan. 17 deadline for completing, submitting and meeting the approval of the State Education Department on new teacher evaluation plans.
Mulgrew went on the defensive in advance of this week’s news. He wanted the public to know that the union isn’t responsible for what’s transpired.
“If no agreement can be reached, it will be because the mayor cannot be brought to accept our position of what a teacher evaluation system needs to be, and he will once again try to blame teachers,” said Mulgrew last week. “If that happens, our work will then center on getting out into our communities to make sure that parents and others know that we, as always, are fighting to make the school system better for the kids we serve.”