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New UFT Ad Blasts Bloomberg's Plan to Cut Teachers

By Jill Colvin | January 24, 2012 1:03pm

MANHATTAN — The city's teachers union has taken to the airwaves once again with a new ad blasting Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s education record as the two sides remain locked in a stalemate over teacher evaluations.

The 30-second United Federation of Teachers spot, which is set to run on major networks across New York through next Monday, criticizes the mayor on everything from school closures to the failed tenure of ex-schools chancellor Cathie Black.

"Ten years as mayor, and Mike Bloomberg still doesn't get it,” a narrator says over black-and-white images of Bloomberg and clipped newspaper headlines.

"Cathie Black, fudged education test scores, closing schools, parents shut out of the process," the ad continues. "And just last month, Bloomberg said in a perfect world he'd cut the number of teachers in half, doubling class size."

The UFT criticized Mayor Michael Bloomberg's pick of Cathie Black as Schools Chancellor in its new ad.
The UFT criticized Mayor Michael Bloomberg's pick of Cathie Black as Schools Chancellor in its new ad.
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It ends with a message to the mayor: "If you really want to do right by our kids, you'll work with teachers and parents, and stop playing politics with our schools."

The Shorr, Johnson and Magnus Strategic Media-produced ad comes as the mayor and UFT continue to spar over a new teacher evaluation system, which will eventually be used in teacher firing decisions.

After the two sides failed to reach a deal by a state-imposed deadline to qualify for millions in federal grants, Bloomberg announced during his State of the City Address that the Department of Education will begin evaluating teachers at 33 struggling schools regardless of what the UFT wants, dismissing up to half of the teachers at those schools.

A spokeswoman for the mayor brushed off the ad as a stunt, accusing the UFT of continuing to "block accountability measures that will help students."

“While the UFT focuses on political stunts and lobbying to keep bad teachers in the classroom, the mayor, governor, and State Education Department are working collaboratively to implement a rigorous teacher evaluation system that will help ensure our students have the best teachers,” she said in a statement.

The ads are set to run through next week during a host of popular shows — including "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," "Saturday Night Live," "Good Morning America," "The Late Show with David Letterman," Knicks games, "Top Chef," "Project Runway" and "Jeopardy!" — and are expected to reach more than 8 million viewers, the UFT said.  

The UFT ran a similar ad last year after Bloomberg threatened to lay of thousands of teachers because of budget constraints.