If you don’t listen with rapt attention to every Friday visit by Michael Bloomberg to John Gambling’s radio show, there’s a good chance you may have missed the mayor comparing the local teachers’ union to the NRA As the New York Times points out, the comparison was “almost an aside” toward the end of a “lengthy stream of consciousness” about negotiating a new teacher evaluation plan with the United Federation of Teachers. The mayor was making the point that in some groups, the rank-and-file largely disagrees with the leadership’s decisions. “It’s typical of Congress, it’s typical of unions, it’s typical of companies, I guess, where a small group is really carrying the ball and the others aren’t necessarily in agreement,” he said, and should have stopped right there, but didn’t: “The NRA is another place where the membership, if you do the polling, doesn’t agree with the leadership.”
If you weren’t listening, the teachers sure were. On Sunday the union released a letter signed by 70 high-profile city types (including Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, and Comptroller John Liu), condemning the comparison. “Such an offensive comparison not only vilifies New York City teachers, but also mocks the work they do,” the letter reads, according to CBS. The teachers’ union also released a separate statement calling the comparison “completely inappropriate, and a demonstration of how difficult [Bloomberg] can be to deal with on any issue — much less one as complex as a new teacher evaluation system.” The teachers plan to ask for an apology on Monday, but seeing as how Bloomberg is already steamed at them for ads bashing his legacy on education as they try to work out a deal on the evaluations, we’d be amazed if they get one.