Hearing at City Hall focuses on teachers' union contract

Education officials and union representatives met Thursday to discuss the teachers' union contract. The meeting is the second one in a series of hearings that are being conducted by the City Council Education Committee.

Executive Director of Labor Policy Dan Weisenberg told the committee that the teachers' union contract hinders his organization's efforts to recruit and retain high quality teachers. The Department of Education blames the contract on the lack of good teachers in failing schools and the long process of getting rid of bad teachers.

But members of the City Council Education Committee fired back saying that the contract is a product of agreements made by both the United Federation of Teachers and the Department of Education. The members say the Department of Education has a responsibility too.

The issues with the contract are the teacher transfer process, teacher tenure and circular 6, a contract rule that removes teachers from patrolling lunchrooms and bathrooms. The Department of Education feels that parts of the contract affect security and safety at the schools.

But Randi Weingarten, president of the UFT, says if teaching under the contract is such a cushy job than why do one in four teachers leave within a year.

Both the UFT and Department of Education say they are willing to work together, but say the fingerpointing has to stop.

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