1/17/13

Albanese on Failed Teacher Contract Negotiations: "Enough, Already!"

Former public school teacher and five-term City Council Member Sal Albanese, a Democrat running for mayor, called the breakdown in the contract negotiations between the city and the United Federation of Teachers an "unmitigated disaster".

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Department of Education officials and UFT negotiators, who had a year to get the deal done, failed, he said, adding insult to injury by throwing $250 million out of the window with a bus strike affecting 150,000 of the city's most vulnerable students.

The breakdown, coming after the Bloomberg administration had demonized teachers and ignored parents for years, was no surprise to Albanese, who called the administration "unfit" to negotiate a teachers' contract.

A former public school teacher whose daughters teach, Albanese said he knows firsthand how a negative work environment affects classroom performance.  The city should focus on recruiting, training and supporting teachers, he said, not scapegoating them.

Had he been mayor, Albanese said, things would never have gotten this far. Instead of crafting self-serving media spin to cover the political dysfunction, he said, he would have been at the negotiating table -- and stayed until a deal got done.

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