Wednesday, April 15, 2009
It's good to be a billionaire. You find entire newspaper organizations in your pocket and they print puff pieces that aren't news at all. Bloomberg couldn't have gotten better press if he had placed an ad.
Under the title Teacher Quality Pays, the Post recounts the mayor's 'accomplishments' in education, none of which are actual accomplishments. Most items are leftovers from the 2005 contract, such as the 37.5 minutes our fearless leader Randi negotiated for us in exchange for a tiny raise that doesn't cover the cost of living, as NYC Educator frequently points out. The Post also claims a 43% "hike" in teacher pay, which is technically true. However, let's subtract the 6% we got got working an additional 37.5 minutes (more pay for more work is NOT a hike). That leaves us with a 37% increase in the 8 years of Bloomberg's tenure, barely more than 4.6% a year.
In addition, the Post repeats the lie that this hike has led to teacher pay parity with the suburbs. Mayor Mike claims "Teachers in New York City are now paid, for the first time, roughly comparable with what they can get in the suburbs. That's never been done before." The top teacher salary in NYC is 100K, and that is earned only after 22 years of service. While it's hard to pin down an "average" salary for the suburbs because of the many districts, I found an article from 2005 in the Times that states that "One in 12 teachers in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties now earns more than $100,000, and the ranks are growing fast..." The article quotes a teacher who was making 116K. A graphic in the Times pointed out that in '05, 32% of teachers in Manhasset, for example, were making more than 100k and the median salary was 90k with a median experience of 18 years. In other words, there are districts that actually pay quite a bit more than NYC has ever done, and who manage to retain those teachers for long periods of time. They do what the mayor pays lip service to: attracting and retaining quality teachers. Let's not forget that half of NYC teachers leave in 5 years.
So this tribute to a billionaire in the Post contains no news at all, and that is bad news for teachers. If the dailies are willing to present a distorted picture from the past as news, what chance does a good man like Bill Thompson have? Especially when Randi Weingarten refuses to endorse him after 8 disastrous years with Bloomklein at the helm?