Bloomberg Would Only Fire Half the City’s Teachers Hypothetically

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NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a news conference at City Hall to discuss the removal of Occupy Wall Street protesters early today from Zuccotti Park on November 15, 2011. Hundreds of protesters, who rallied against inequality in America, have slept in tents and under tarps since September 17 in Zuccotti Park, which has become the epicenter of the global Occupy Wall Street movement.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photo: Spencer Platt/2011 Getty Images

Mayor Bloomberg's team is doing some damage control today after he was quoted fantasizing about cutting half of the city's teachers. He meant hypothetically! "If I had the ability to just design the system and say 'ex cathedra this is what we’re going to do,' you would cut the number of teachers in half and weed out all the bad ones," Bloomberg said, according to CBS. "And double the class size with a better teacher is a good deal for the students," he added. Unions were not pleased, but he didn't mean it like that

The mayor's spokesman clarified: "The Mayor raised a hypothetical which he explicitly said could never actually happen — if you could double salaries for good teachers while getting rid of bad ones, would you take that deal? People can disagree on the answer to that academic question." He also complained that the mayor's quotes were not used in full and provided the entire chunk of the speech:

Education is very much, I’ve always thought, just like the real estate business. Real estate business, there are three things that matter: location, location, location is the old joke. Well in education, it is: quality of teacher, quality of teacher, quality of teacher. And I would — if I had the ability, which nobody does really, to just design a system and say, ‘ex cathedra, this is what we’re going to do,’ you would cut the number of teachers in half, but you would double the compensation of them, and you would weed out all the bad ones and just have good teachers. And double the class size with a better teacher is a good deal for the students.

"So the mayor thinks this is a good idea ... to have class size in high schools of 70 kids," said United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew. "Clearly the mayor has never taught. And probably the mayor's having another Cathie Black moment."