On Friday, an independent arbitrator issued a binding ruling to stop the “turnaround” of 24 schools, where some 3,500 teachers lost their jobs so that the city could claim federal School Improvement Grant funding. The federal program requires that the principal and at least half the teachers be fired; the school gets a new name, and voila! All is transformed, turned around due to the magic of mass firings.
But the arbitrator agreed with the union that its contract had been violated.
Mayor Bloomberg, however, is not one to be easily deterred. So he announced not only that he is suing to overturn the “binding” arbitration judgment, but he will ignore the arbitrator’s ruling because he only announced his conclusion, but not his reasoning!
Fortunately the school year is over because there is general confusion among the staff at the 24 schools. The teachers who were fired may retain their old jobs; many, however, have already found new jobs. Some of the principals who were fired will stay fired. No one knows for sure who will be working where when school starts, or for how long.
There is a literature about schools that says that schools do best when there is stability, collegiality and trust.
But not in these 24 schools.