On John Gambling’s radio show this morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg took some time to comment on teacher evaluations that Governor Andrew Cuomo called for in his State of the State speech earlier this week. Without specifying how exactly these evaluations would take place, Governor Cuomo called for an independent commission to determine the nuts and bolts of the ultimate policy. Mayor Bloomberg focused his thoughts today on the problems with having granting an independent arbiter additional authority in the process.
“The unions say, ‘Oh we want an independent person.’” he said, dismissing a union-proposed idea of letting an independent arbiter hear appeals from teachers receiving poor marks from their principals. “The principals’ job is to decide who’s good, who’s bad. It’s their judgement, that’s their job.” The Mayor further argued that occasionally subjective actions is simply the way that things work with bosses. “None of us in the private sector work that way, and none of us in the public sector should work that way.”
Mayor Bloomberg further added that having good and bad management decisions is “just part of the real world.”
Unhappy with this answer, a caller later in the show asked Mayor Bloomberg what he’s “afraid of” when it comes to independently monitoring principals’ decisions, pointing out that many principals now in the system have less teaching experience than in years past. In response, Mayor Bloomberg contended that management skills are distinct from teaching on the ground. “Nobody suggests that the coach of the New York Giants can throw the football the way that Manning can,” he said. “You’re right that they have less experience, but it’s not clear that they don’t have better skills.”