CHARTER BOSS VS. UNION BOSS IS NO CONTEST
By YOAV GONEN Education Reporter
May 1, 2009
...An unusually conciliatory Randi Weingarten, head of the city's teacher union, took a flurry of jabs yesterday from Harlem charter-schools operator and former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz during a televised debate.
The powerful pair -- who for a decade have butted heads over charter schools, labor contracts and the fixes for the city's ailing public schools -- again showed the gulf between them, even as Weingarten appeared ready to extend an olive branch.
"You could call Mike Bloomberg tonight and you could say, 'Mike, I don't think tenure is working. Let's not have a system where teachers get lifetime job security irrespective of performance,' " Moskowitz told the labor leader on NY1.
"Let's not have a system where the standard -- and this bugs me so much about the contract -- the standard [for removing a teacher] is incompetence."
[Maura Larkins' note: Incompetence isn't even the standard. I've often wondered why my district never dismissed any of its incompetent teachers. I've concluded that the district feared that the targeted teacher would respond, "But look at these other teachers, they're clearly more incompetent than me." The district can't dismiss underperforming teachers because it doesn't know where to begin. As long as a teacher keeps quiet, the district seems to maintain a hands-off policy. The district only fires teachers for political reasons, in my experience.]
Weingarten deflected much of the criticism by contrasting states like Massachusetts -- which have strong unions and excellent schools -- with areas in the South that lack both unions and good schools.
"So it's not the unions and it's not a particular union contract" that's to blame, she said...