Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Last In, First Out” proposal, to nullify a law which forces layoffs of teachers to be based on seniority, may officially be on the table for discussion, but many legislators, especially Democrats, say it will not get very far.
“I’ve spoke to several of my Assembly colleagues, even my Senate colleagues, and this is nothing that we would do. Mainly the city ones, we would never do that,” said Democratic Queens Senator Shirley Huntley.
With more than 6,000 jobs on the chopping block, the mayor says school principals should be able to fire the worst teachers, regardless of how long they have been on the job.
Many lawmakers say despite the mayors claim that the provision hurts poorer districts, they argue that a provision like the mayor's should be negotiated through collective bargaining.
“It’s just giving too much leverage to the City of New York,” said Huntley.
Some say it has nothing to do with bad teachers but comes down to cash.
“Economic realities -- I think that’s the real reason we’re being faced by this particular push at this period of time,” said Queens Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry.
Senate Republicans said they were considering Bloomberg's "Last In, First Out" proposal, but were holding their cards close to the vest.
“I don’t think we’re even close to something coming across the finish line, so to speak,” said Republican Senate Education Committee Chair John Flanagan.
Republican Brooklyn Senator Martin Golden was also vague, but made it clear eliminating seniority protections is a tricky move.
“I’m not one way or the other on the issues. I want to make sure that the teacher who works hard in the public school system, that he or she is protected,” said Golden.
When Senate Republicans aren't jumping at the bit to change seniority rules for layoffs, you'd have to say that the chances that Bloomberg, Zuckerman and Murdoch (the Roman Ruling Triumvirate of NYC) are successful at getting the changes through are pretty slim - especially with Silver and the Dems in the Assembly so opposed to the changes.
We'll see - things could switch, Bloomberg could buy people off, etc.
But so far, Bloomberg has not convinced the people that matter that these changes should happen.
Neither has Murdoch or Zuckerman, despite this piece of bragging via an anonymous Bloomberg aide in the New York Magazine article on Cathie Black:
Black is but one part of the sophisticated campaign to rewrite the teacher-layoff rules. The Post’s news pages have been trumpeting a group of younger teachers who are supposedly rebelling against the inflexibility of the UFT’s leadership; the group is fueled in part by $160,000 that a private group co-chaired by Klein passed along from the Gates Foundation, one of the most powerful backers of Bloomberg’s education reform. Closing the circle, Klein now works for Post owner Rupert Murdoch. The ultimate target of all this lobbying is Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose backing is key to any significant overhaul of teacher-layoff policies. “A lot hinges on where Andrew comes down,” one Bloomberg adviser says. The mayor’s campaign contributions to State Senate Republicans could pay off as well. “If we have [Republican majority leader Dean] Skelos onboard and pass a good bill out of the State Senate, and raise enough public attention on the issue, through editorials and ads and everything else, and the governor is pounding away, it gets harder for Shelly [Silver, the Assembly majority leader] to ignore it,” another Bloomberg strategist says. He also highlights a further bit of leverage. “Quite frankly, this is Rupert’s top issue,” he says. “Does Andrew really want to lose the Post over this? And also make enemies of Mort Zuckerman and Bloomberg in his first few months?” If Cuomo pushes for the union and the city to negotiate a relaxation of the seniority rules, it would be an enormous victory for Bloomberg, with a minor assist from Black. But her real campaign is only beginning.
I'll say this for the anti-tenure/anti-seniority ed deformers - they're well-coordinated, well-heeled, well-oiled and well-funded.
I guess that's what happens in an oligarchy.