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StudentsFirstNY Weekly Education News Roundup: June 17-21, 2013

In this week's education news: UFT endorses NYC mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, GOP mayoral candidate Joe Lhota praises NYC charter schools, and the new teacher evaluation system shows larger number of ineffective teachers.

UFT Endorses Bill Thompson for NYC Mayor

New York Times // June 19, 2013

The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) endorsed Democrat Bill Thompson for New York City Mayor. The New York Times reported that Thompson has previously made an effort to reach out to his education critics meeting privately with charter school supporters to allay some of their concerns. But after receiving the UFT endorsement, some groups wonder which way Thompson will go on education issues:

Glen Weiner, acting executive director of StudentsFirstNY, an advocacy group, said he was concerned Mr. Thompson would adopt the union's policies, including its demands for retroactive raises. Mr. Thompson said on Wednesday that he supported raises, but did not comment on whether he would agree to retroactive payments.

"Espousing the teachers' union policies would turn back the clock on our kids," he said. "We don't want kids to be forced to attend failing schools."

Bill Thompson Indebted to Teachers’ Union for Endorsement

NY Daily News // June 20, 2013

The United Federation of Teachers hopes that their newly endorsed candidate Bill Thompson will allocate $4 billion in back pay for its members and give them additional protections under the new teacher evaluation program if elected mayor.

According to the NY Daily News:

The UFT is widely presumed to be the most politically powerful of the municipal unions. Clearly, Thompson believes Mulgrew will help lift him over his rivals. Unless he starts to demonstrate independence from the would-be labor kingmaker, the voters will have cause to question whose interest he will represent.

GOP Mayoral Candidate Joe Lhota Praises NYC Charter Schools

New York Post // June 20, 2013

NYC GOP mayoral candidate Joe Lhota is calling for NYC to double its number of charter schools, in stark contrast with the Democratic candidates for mayor.

The New York Post reports:

“I am a big believer in charter public schools and so are parents, as evidenced by the wait lists to get in. Parents want and deserve more choices. Charter schools have successfully improved the education of tens of thousands of New York City children,” Lhota said.

The center said there are 56,000 students enrolled in city charters and another 52,900 on waiting lists.

New Data Shows Different Results in Teacher Evaluation

Wall Street Journal // June 17, 2013

NYC's Department of Education released data related on the 2011-12 state tests used in the new teacher evaluation system imposed by the state Education Department, which will hold teachers more accountable. Based on student scores last year, about 6 percent of the city’s fourth through eighth grade teachers were rated ineffective.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

City officials have said that, under the city's current teacher-performance system, far too few were flunked by principals, who had only two choices: a rating of satisfactory or unsatisfactory. In 2011-12, under the old rating system, 2.6% of the city's roughly 73,000 teachers received unsatisfactory ratings, and the rest were rated satisfactory.

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