Lew's View: UFT contract hurts children

Is the new teachers contract in NYC bad news for children? Find out why Fox 5 Vice President and General Manager Lew Leone thinks so.

Lew Leone is the vice president and general manager of WNYW-FOX 5. He is taking to the airwaves with his thoughts on current affairs. It's called "Lew's View." The views expressed are not necessarily those of the station or its employees.

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In this commentary, Mr. Leone explains why the city's new contract deal with teachers is bad news for children.

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"It's disappointing that a mayor who has spent so much time talking about fighting inequality would agree to a contract that delivers so little for the children he swore to represent."

Those aren't my words. They are taken from Mayor de Blasio's report card issued by a group called Students First NY, and they sum up the raw deal New York City's students received in the union contract negotiation.

Last week, I described the financial failure of this deal and today I'll explain why it also fails our children.

The UFT was working without a contract since 2009, which gave de Blasio tremendous leverage in the form of retroactive pay in order to gain concessions that would directly help improve student outcomes. He not only squandered this opportunity by giving the UFT everything they asked for, New York City is now paying top dollar for teachers but the new deal is actually worse for kids.

How?

Well, the mayor agreed to eliminate the extended day program which offers help to the neediest learners.

He agreed to help force ineffective teachers in the reserve pool back into the classroom.

He gave up the opportunity to move closer to a performance based pay model and went easy on teacher evaluations. He actually shortened the school day when it has been proven that kids needs more time in school.

And worst of all, he gave veto power to the union on the creation of 200 innovative schools.

Doesn't the mayor know that the UFT, also known as the "Keeper of the Status Quo" by definition is not capable of innovation?

Why not just adopt some of the successful practices employed by charter schools instead of wasting time by creating something called PROSE (Progressive Redesign Opportunities Schools For Excellence).

PROSE is just a silly way for de Blasio to work the word "progressive" into the contract and it will be a waste of time, energy and effort.

New York City Schools had been making some real progress since the ability to run the system was taken away from the UFT in 2002 when mayoral control was established. With this new deal, de Blasio has taken care of the adults, turned back the hands of time, ceded power back to the union and set New York City Schools up for failure. Our kids deserve better.

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