In today’s New York Sun, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Sol Stern, a long time teacher union critic, attacks Chancellor Klein and Mayor Bloomberg for “missing an opportunity” to take out the UFT by “the jugular.” Stern is referring to the recent contract settlement. Stern argues that Bloomberg caved before the threat of “120,000 angry union members demonstrating in the streets” during his re-election campaign, and forced a reluctant Klein to “bite his lip” and sign “yet another 200 page contract.” Among the main complaints in Klein’s bill of particulars are the following:
  • The contract contains no merit pay, nor any differentials for different subjects;
  • Seniority rules are still in place for assignments in the schools;
  • Tenure and due process for teachers remains intact;
  • The salary schedule is in place, and the increase is spread proportionately over every step.
 “The ‘givebacks’ that Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Klein portray as giant steps toward reform,” Stern maintains, “look, upon closer inspection, to be no more than baby steps – with the occasional setback. For every work rule eliminated from the contract, there seems to be another one or two in its place.” One of the “most bizarre of the new rules,” he opines, is the language which prohibit micro-management of lessons; he calls it a “direct slap at Mr. Klein [which] legitimizes the union’s complaints about the Chancellor’s ‘pedagogical tyranny’.” Stern also notes that the length of the contract means that Bloomberg and Klein will be "lame ducks" by the time it expires, with no chance to extract the sort of concessions he wants from New York City public school teachers.  The Sun requires a subscription for Internet access, but you can read the entire piece here at Checker Finn’s Gadfly.