Wednesday, January 25, 2012

UFT Blasts Bloomberg On Teacher Evaluations

The city teachers union is blasting Mayor Bloomberg’s education record in a television attack ad that’s airing amid the tense standoff over teacher evaluations.

uft bloomy ad 1-24-2012 3-38-10 PM.jpgOur Ben Chapman reports:

More than eight million viewers are expected to see the union’s 30-second spot, which pulls no punches in its critique of the mayor’s education reforms.

“Ten years as Mayor, and Mike Bloomberg still doesn’t get it,” begins the narrator’s criticism of Bloomberg’s record on schools, starting with his appointment of Cathie Black as schools chancellor.

“Fudged education test scores, closing schools, parents shut out of the process,” the somber voice continues, over a montage of photos of city students.

The ad -- which doesn't specifically mention the evaluation controversy -- finishes with a harsh message to the mayor, who hasn’t been on speaking terms with the teachers union since Dec. 30, when city officials walked away from talks on instructor evaluations.

“If you really want to do right by our kids, you'll work with teachers and parents and stop playing politics with our schools,” the voice says.

City officials hit back at the union’s $1 million ad, calling it a “political stunt” that distracts the public from the real issue of teacher evaluations.

“The Mayor, Governor, and State Education Department are working collaboratively to implement a rigorous teacher evaluation system,” said Bloomberg spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua, adding: “It's a shame that the UFT continues to block accountability measures that will help students.”

The city stands to lose nearly $60 million in federal aid for 33 failing schools because city officials and the union were unable to reach a deal on instructor evaluations.

At the state level, the lack of a comprehensive evaluation system for teachers and principals threatens nearly $1 billion in federal education money.

Despite signs of a thaw at Monday’s legislative hearing on Gov. Cuomo’s education budget, on Tuesday city union and education officials said they still had not met to discuss the issue.

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