Facebook Twitter

Mulgrew on Cuomo’s proposals: ‘It’s back to blame everything on the teachers’

The city teachers union president said watching Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveil a host of education policy proposals on Wednesday felt like going back in time.

“Look, there were certain things I liked — the tuition credit,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said after the speech, referring to Cuomo’s proposal to pay the tuition of top students at SUNY and CUNY who commit to teaching in New York for five years.

“At the same time, you want to recruit teachers to work in the hardest schools in the state, and then you say, if you go there, we’re going to take them over and throw you out,” he added, referring to Cuomo’s proposal to put low-performing schools under the control of “receivers” and override union contracts in order to replace teachers. “It’s back to blame everything on the teachers.”

Many of Cuomo’s education proposals — including adding to the state’s charter-school cap, reducing local input into teacher evaluations, and allowing struggling schools to circumvent labor agreements — represent attacks on core union issues.

In recent weeks, the city and state unions and advocacy groups like the Alliance for Quality Education have kept their focus on calling for additional funding for school districts. They say more funding for districts with concentrations of high-needs students, not new accountability measures, are what’s needed.

“The truth is, there’s no epidemic of failing schools or bad teachers,” New York State United Teachers President Karen McGee said in a statement. “There is an epidemic of poverty and under-funding that Albany has failed to adequately address for decades.”

Cuomo offered an additional $1.1 billion, or half of the state union’s recent request, in exchange for his package of reforms.