City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez said Friday that teachers in New York City public schools do everything possible to prepare their students and that Mayor Michael Bloomberg insists on discrediting them.
The commentary by Rodriguez, who chairs the council's Higher Education Committee, came in answer to a study purporting to show that the least-qualified teachers are often assigned to schools serving minorities.
"At a time when the city is in negotiations with the teachers' union about a new plan to evaluate them, he has been using tactics to discredit them. That began when he compared them to the National Rifle Association, and now we get this," the former educator told Efe.
He was referring to Bloomberg's comments this week that many teachers do not agree with the stand their union takes, just as NRA members don't always agree with their organization, which angered educators and politicians who asked for an apology.
Bloomberg has said that he didn't mean to liken the teachers union to the NRA and said that the controversy that has blown up is just to distract attention from the contract negotiations.
A study by the pro-charter school lobbying organization StudentsFirst says that the best teachers are never assigned to school districts with a high percentage of minority students and with low academic results.
African Americans and Latinos make up 68 percent of New York's roughly 1 million public school students.
The city school system is controlled by Bloomberg.
"My experience is that most teachers around the city, no matter in which communities they teach, give it all they can," Rodriguez said.
"The city's big failure is not investing in the education system for children of ages 0-5 years, and as a result teachers are working with students who come to their classrooms without the academic development that should begin at an early age," the councilman said. EFE