On John Gambling’s radio show this morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked about the New York Daily News report on teachers accused of sexual misconduct being able to keep their jobs and had rather blunt words to describe the situation, suggesting if a teacher “were a serial ax murderer, you might get a slap on the wrist.”
Mr. Bloomberg emphasized he had little control over the city’s inability to fire bad teachers.
“State law says you have a right to certain kind of arbitration,” he explained. “The arbitrators are picked jointly by the teachers union and the city, … some of their rulings don’t make any sense. The theory is that they don’t want to be too tough on union members because then the union will never allow them to be selected.”
“The allegation is — I don’t know if it’s true or not — but the allegation has always been is that some of these arbitrators … just will not impose any penalties,” he continued, before dryly pivoting to a joke to demonstrate the severity of the situation. “Maybe if you were a serial ax murderer you might get a slap on the wrist, but I don’t want to overstate that.”
Earlier in the discussion, Mr. Bloomberg argued that unions are often simply unwilling to behave sensibly in occasions that conflict with the interests of their members.
“Why does the teachers union fight something that to you and I would make a lot of sense? It’s because they’re there not to advocate for education, they’re there to protect their members.”