Shortly after unveiling ads last week attacking Gov. Cuomo's education plans, the heads of the city and state teacher unions met with aides to the governor, the Daily News has learned.
City teachers union President Michael Mulgrew and New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee attended the meeting on Friday at the state Capitol.
Sources say the unions during the meeting may have agreed to temporarily pull their attack ads, leaving some insiders to question whether the sides are trying to hammer out some type of agreement on how to move forward.
“We talk to elected officials all the time," said Mulgrew spokeswoman Alison Gendar. "We use strategically-placed ads to move the education discussion in the right direction. At this moment, the UFT and NYSUT, our parent organization, are engaged in the largest grass-roots campaign in recent memory to empower teachers and to protect our students.”
Norm Scott reads this as a sell-out:
Sources say the unions during the meeting may have agreed to temporarily pull their attack ads...
This goes into the category of Mulgrew "threatening" to go to court to enforce the CFE lawsuit over state funding that was "won" 10 years ago. Threatening. Why not wait another 10 years to go to court?
Cuomo puts outrageous demands on the table and the unions put nothing on the table. So they negotiate from where Cuomo started and even if they split the baby -- 4 year tenure instead of 5? 35% based on eval instead of 50%? It is - as Fearless Forecaster often says -- a LOSS.
I agree - this is the union leadership at NYSUT and the UFT putting up the white flag of surrender just as the battle has gotten started.
Why would NYSUT and the UFT agree to pull down their attack ads on Cuomo when he has threatened to destroy public education?
We know what his agenda is because he told us publicly back before the election:
ALBANY — Vowing to break “one of the only remaining public monopolies,” Gov. Cuomo on Monday said he’ll push for a new round of teacher evaluation standards if re-elected.
Cuomo, during a meeting with the Daily News Editorial Board, said better teachers and competition from charter schools are the best ways to revamp an underachieving and entrenched public education system.
“I believe these kinds of changes are probably the single best thing that I can do as governor that’s going to matter long-term,” he said, “to break what is in essence one of the only remaining public monopolies — and that’s what this is, it’s a public monopoly.”
This wasn't the first time Cuomo had publicly vowed to break public education - he had said pretty much the same thing at a Forbes forum attended by AFT President Randi Weingarten in June 2014:
CUOMO ON TEACHER EVALUATIONS AT FORBES SUMMIT -- At a private Forbes magazine-sponsored discussion forum in June, Governor Andrew Cuomo told an audience of wealthy philanthropists that state-mandated performance evaluations should be the basis for hiring, firing and tenure decisions. Forbes published video clips and a transcript from the panel on Monday, with excerpts set to appear in its December 15 issue. Capital reported in October that Cuomo and American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten participated in the discussion at the Forbes 400 Philanthropy Summit.
“As a general rule, I am against public monopolies,” Cuomo said at the event, a sentiment that he repeated later during a pre-election interview with the Daily Newseditorial board. “I am in favor of competition and incentives in any system. ... The teacher evaluations system, I think, is the bedrock of this issue. ... There will be incentives. You can promote the stronger. You can help the weaker, and that’s the way markets work and systems work that will break down the ‘public monopoly.’” Watch this clip for more: http://onforb.es/1yaTglY
When Cuomo proposed his budget for the year, the promise to "break" the public school system was at the core.
In fact, the Daily News declared that Cuomo had "declared war" on it:
ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo on Wednesday declared war on the state’s educational establishment.
“Our education system needs dramatic reform and it has for years,” Cuomo said. “I believe this is the year to do it.”
In painting a picture where 250,000 mostly minority and poor kids have been trapped in failing schools the past decade, Cuomo threw down the gauntlet with the teachers unions as he unveiled an ambitious education reform plan that would make it easier to fire bad or lecherous instructors, revamp the much-maligned teacher tenure and evaluation systems, and increase the cap on charter schools by 100.
Cuomo, in his combined State of the State and budget address, also proposed:
He’s also pushing for a controversial education tax credit for those who donate money to private and public schools. But, as first reported by the Daily News on Wednesday, he linked it in the budget to the adoption of a state DREAM Act that would provide state tuition assistance to the college kids of undocumented immigrants.
- Giving the state more power in trying to fix failing schools.
- Developing new standards that teachers must meet to enter the profession. The governor noted that nearly a third of incoming teachers were not reading at the level of a high school senior.
- Having the state cover the full SUNY or CUNY tuition for “top” graduates who commit to teaching in New York schools for five years.
- Rewarding high-performing teachers with a $20,000 bonus incentive and offering improvement plans to help those who score poorly.
Cuomo’s aggressive education agenda comes after months of heated rhetoric from the governor, who has vowed to break what he called the public school monopoly.
Hoping to provide lawmakers enough incentive to buck the unions and act, Cuomo pitched two different potential state education aid increases for the coming year — one for $1.1 billion if his reforms are enacted, and one for $377 million if they are not.
“Education, the great equalizer,” Cuomo said. “This is the area, my friends, where I think we need to do the most reform, and, frankly, where reform is going to be difficult given the situation in the way education is funded in this state.”
So Cuomo has declared on public schools and public school teachers, the unions launch an ad blitz (which I didn't think was very good, btw) and that ad blitz, along with the grassroots campaign the unions started to make sure legislators know Cuomo's reforms cannot be accepted wholesale, begins to do some damage to the governor.
We know the ads and the grassroots campaign must be doing some damage, otherwise Cuomo wouldn't be asking the unions to pull the ads down and pow wow over the education budget.
And what does the union leadership at NYSUT and the UFT do in response to Cuomo's crying "Uncle" over the ads?
They agree to pull the ads down while the two sides talk.
Are they kidding me?
Cuomo has declared war on public schools and public school teachers, he has promised to "break" the public education system, his agenda is not very popular around the state and the unions have gotten a little momentum going in the counterattack and now they agree to a ceasefire?
What they ought to be doing is doubling down on ads, run one like I devised that gets at the core of the problem of Cuomo's evaluation reform, and hammer him over and over and over until the war is won.
There is no compromise here - Cuomo has vowed to destroy teachers and public schools.
How does the union leadership rationalize compromising with a guy who has promised to destroy us?