So, you've probably heard by now that Mayor Bloomberg has unilaterally decided to avert teacher layoffs by not granting raises to teachers for the next two years. Say this about the guy, he's not afraid to pull the trigger.
Now, both the UFT and CSA have come out against this, saying that the Mayor doesn't have that authority. And while they may technically be right, in practical terms it probably won't matter. As long as a contract hasn't been signed, the Mayor does have the practical authority to do this.
But is it the right thing to do?
Well, certainly teachers always deserve more money. You'd be hard pressed to find me ever arguing against that. But let's look at the facts here. Just three days ago we all woke up with the expectation that nearly 4,500 teachers were going to be laid off and booted from the system. You think class sizes are bad now? Is that really the education system we want? Furthermore, (and this isn't entirely clear to most people) most teachers are still going to get raises next year. Step increases, which you earn just for being in the system another year or for increasing your education, are still going to be happening. Teachers are going to get raises, just not as big as they may have thought. Honestly, in this economic climate, that's a deal I would take.
Again, the unions have come out against this, and I guess that's there job. They always need to ask for more. But I hope that this is posturing on their part and not the start of an actual fight. If given the choice between no additional raises for everyone and layoffs plus raises for everyone else, I'm going for the no-layoffs plan. In the end, it's better for everyone.