May 15, 2011
By Michael A. Harris
A Quinnipiac University poll released last week shows that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has won the support of city voters in his efforts to repeal the state’s last in, first out policy for public school teachers.
With nearly 5,000 teacher layoffs proposed in the mayor’s executive budget, Bloomberg is lobbying state lawmakers to implement a merit based system for determining who stays and who goes. Currently teacher layoffs are based solely on seniority.
“When it comes to LIFO, the mayor has won the public opinion war,” Maurice Carroll, the polling institute’s director told LaborPress. “82 percent of New Yorkers say that if teachers are going to be laid off based on performance, not on seniority and that is Bloomberg’s point. He’s made it with the public, whether he’s won it with the legislature that’s another question; if you want to know will it happen the answer is no.”
Carroll added that he didn’t think the poll would impact lawmakers’ opinions on the issue. While legislation has passed in the State Senate, it has stalled in the Assembly and Governor Andrew Cuomo has sent mixed signals as to whether or not he’d sign the bill, even if it were to pass.
The same poll shows that a majority of New Yorkers don’t like the way the mayor has handled education and want to see mayoral control of the schools continued in the future.