It seems that city residents like public school teachers, but aren’t particularly fond of the teachers’ unions. An overwhelming 85 percent of New York voters feel that teacher layoffs should be based on merit as opposed to seniority, a recent Quinnipiac University poll found.
Most voters felt that the unions did not improve New York’s educational system, and residents with children in public schools especially opposed seniority-based layoffs.
“By a huge majority, voters from every group oppose LIFO – last-in-first-out,” said polling institute director Maurice Carroll. “Voters, especially voters with kids in public school, want to keep the best teachers on the job, and to heck with seniority.”
The poll also found that voters support merit pay for outstanding teachers, and feel that it should be easier to fire bad teachers.
This can’t hurt Bloomberg’s campaign to end LIFO. The mayor proposed a budget last week that would lay off $4,660 teachers because of education funding cuts, and he has been enlisting help from upstate school district heads to abolish the seniority-based policy.
Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan has proposed a bill that would ban layoffs based on seniority or salary, and the Senate will likely vote on it within a week. Cuomo has said he’s open to discussion on the issue.
The same poll found support for gay marriage legislation and concern about the passage of ethics reform measures.