Minutes after a Mayor Bloomberg–backed bill on teacher layoffs squeaked through the State Senate, Governor Cuomo decided to offer his own bill to consider merit in addition to seniority. For weeks, Cuomo has rejected Bloomberg’s call to include a LIFO repeal in the upcoming state budget. A City Hall insider told the New York Post that the governor’s proposal is a “total dodge,” and the Daily News said that Bloomberg was “big-footed” and “blind-sided” by Cuomo.
The Bloomberg-backed proposal made it past the Republican Senate but faces a tough road in the Democratic Assembly, whereas both the teachers union and their biggest ally, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, back Cuomo’s bill.
So what’s the difference between the two? Although Cuomo’s proposal would speed up statewide evaluation standards currently being drafted by the Board of Regents and allow merit to be a factor in deciding who stays or goes, the big discrepancy is in what those standards measure. The Regents are creating at least four categories to be considered along with seniority: highly effective, effective, developing, and ineffective. The Bloomberg-backed bill had nine, including disciplinary problems, absenteeism and lateness, criminal record, and a failure to obtain a teaching certificate. If you had a kid in the New York City school system, which criteria would you rather see used?