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Union, City Remain At Odds Over Teacher Evaluation System

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TWC News: Union, City Remain At Odds Over Teacher Evaluation System
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The deadline for a new teacher evaluation system is fast approaching, and the fight between the city and the union is only getting nastier. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Why has Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the teachers' union stopped negotiating over a new teacher evaluation system? Each points at the other.

"The teachers' union is going to cost us a lot of money," Bloomberg said. "It looks like they've said they don't want to negotiate."

"He can play all the games he wants," said Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers. "The simple fact of the matter is that I don't think he ever wanted to agree to an evaluation system."

On January 17, the city will automatically lose $250 million from the current school year budget if they haven't agreed on a new way of evaluating teachers. But instead of meeting around the clock, the two sides haven't talked in more than a week.

On Thursday, the city filed an labor complaint, accusing the union of illegally bringing other issues into the evaluation talks, issues like salary raises and limits on school closures.

"There's no question what was said to our people, directly to staff, directly to the Chancellor and a letter: 'We aren't going to negotiate unless, we want to talk about other things,'"

Mulgrew said raises and other policy issues are always on the table, since the union has been without a contract for three years. But he denies the union would have held up the evaluation deal over it.

What the union said it wants to discuss is how the evaluation policy will be rolled out. Mulgrew said that needs to happen before he has any more discussions about the policy itself.

"This is all we all said to him: 'If we get a great agreement and we roll it out wrong, it's going to be a mess that you're not going to be here to clean up,'" Mulgrew said. "So this is very important to us. We asked for a meeting, they had a hissy fit, and now the antics."

They do agree on one thing.

"If New York City loses $280 or $250, or whatever the number is, million, that's a lot of kids that are going to get hurt," Bloomberg said.

When the schools chancellor said several weeks ago that he had begun planning for what would happen if the money was lost, he called it a worst-case scenario. Now, everybody involved acknowledges that the worst-case scenario is a very likely scenario.

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