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Mulgrew Admits Union Sought to "Gum up the Works"

Mike Mulgrew's comments make clear that the UFT's intentions in these contract negotiations had nothing to do with helping kids. Everything in the contract requires far more scrutiny and far more explanation.

Mulgrew saw the teachers contract as an opportunity to settle scores rather than as a tool to improve schools for kids. He admitted to trying to undermine teacher evaluations, and alluded to ulterior motives behind the much touted lab schools and ATR reforms. That's an admission that he acted in bad faith, and raises red flags about the level of collegiality between him and the de Blasio administration.

Context

Chalkbeat obtained a recording of Michael Mulgrew's speech to the delegate assembly in which the union boss acknowledged that his goal in negotiating the new teachers contract had nothing to do with improving education and everything to do with score settling.

While Mayor de Blasio hailed the contract as a union working together with the district, Mulgrew characterized the partnership as "a creative way to one more time wink at Bloomberg and say, ‘Gotcha.’”

As for the substance, Mulgrew admitted that the revised teacher evaluation system was created with "a goal that this year would be the first and only year [teachers] would work under the new evaluation system." He added that the Union had insisted on the original 22 point evaluation rubric as "a strategy decision to gum up the works." He added further that this was something he "[doesn’t] get to say in public."

Hundreds of millions of federal dollars were granted to New York because of these teacher evaluations that Mulgrew didn't ever intend to follow through with in the first place.

On the new PROSE schools, advertised as schools free from some contract regulations to allow new approaches, Mulgrew admitted that his goal was to undermine charter schools. Charters, he should have remembered, are used to competition.

With regards to the 1,200 members of the Absent Teacher Reserve, Mulgrew continued to emphasize his success in establishing hurdles to the city's dismissing them. He had previously written his members that ATRs would now be placed more easily into schools, and only dismissed for "documented misconduct--not pedagogy."

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