Deflatable Giraffe





A Study in Sabotage


Teachers union torpedoed state's shot at $700 Million

New York Daily News Editorial

Thursday, January 28th 2010, 4:00 AM


The teachers union played a more destructive role than previously understood in all but certainly scuttling New York's shot at as much as $700 million in federal education funding. Surprise. Surprise.

Well known is how the United Federation of Teachers pressured lawmakers to support anti-charter school poison pills, undermining the state's application for Race to the Top aid. But there was more to the union's sabotage.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan established grant criteria that included using student performance data to boost achievement and assess teacher effectiveness. Duncan also required states to show the support of local districts and unions.

State Education Commissioner David Steiner drafted a memorandum of understanding in which districts and unions "shall agree to negotiate in good faith" on those issues. Chancellor Joel Klein signed. UFT President Michael Mulgrew refused.

Instead, the union submitted a document stating, "Test score data cannot be used for teacher evaluation or individual compensation." Mulgrew also demanded extra arbitration for teachers found ineffective under a new grading system.

Both provisions fly in the face of Race to the Top requirements of using data to rate teacher performance and of making it easier to get incompetent instructors out of the classroom.

Steiner was forced to submit an application without the crucial backing of the UFT. And there went New York's chance for that $700 million.


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