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Mayor, Union Back In Talks Over New Teacher Evaluation System

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city's teachers' union have until Thursday to come to an agreement on a new teacher evaluation system or the city will lose millions of dollars in state funding. NY1's Courtney Gross has the story.

They started the week trading insults.

"The leadership of this union is more extreme and more obstructionist than its members," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday.

"All we have asked them to do is apologize for those comments," union head Michael Mulgrew replied later.

The teachers' union never got that apology, but by Friday the rhetoric was toned down.

"When you have all the mishigas in the papers and everything there is, I think it's fair to say, always communications between staffs," Bloomberg said on his radio show Friday.

City Hall and the United Federation of Teachers are back at the negotiating table, attempting to hammer out a deal over a new teacher evaluation system.

They have until Jan. 17 to agree on a new system or the city could lose $250 million in state funding.

"You know me, I am always optimistic. I always think things are going to work out," Bloomberg said.

"Well, we're negotiating," Mulgrew said. "We're having some good moments and then we're having some bad moments."

The city and the union have had more than a year to reach an agreement. The deadline was installed by the governor's office who has encouraged them to reach a deal.

But it's unclear how far apart the two sides still are.

The UFT continues to be concerned with implementation.

"How do we change it from a gotcha system with no support to a support and development system," Mulgrew said. "Those are big issues."

Support that for some struggling teachers can only go so far.

"We've got a big investment in those teachers and you don't want to walk away," Bloomberg said. "But if it turns out that they still can't do it, you made a bad investment. Cut your losses and that teacher shouldn't be in front of the classroom. And that's what we are trying to work out."

The UFT says it plans to negotiate with the Department of Education over the weekend.

Though both sides are more optimistic, they each acknowledge that time is running out.

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