The city of New York and the United Federation of Teachers recently announced a tentative contract. Leslie Brody reports in The Wall Street Journal that the deal “would give members compounded wage increases of 2% in February 2019, 2.5% in May 2020 and 3% in May 2021” and notes that “It would expire in September 2022.” Brody explains that “the total cost of the 43-month agreement is $2.1 billion, which would be offset by health-care savings and funding already in the city’s labor reserve, for a net budget impact of $572 million.” The starting salaries of teachers in New York City “will increase over the next three years to 61,070, up from 56,711” and the maximum salary will rise from 119, 565 to 128, 657,” according to Philissa Cramer in Chalkbeat.
As part of the contract, the city will provide bonuses of 5,000 to 8,000 to teach in 180 high-need schools in what mayor Bill de Blasio referred to as the Bronx Plan. Eliza Shapiro notes in The New York Times that the schools selected for the plan are not mandated to join it, because their participation must be approved by the school’s principal and the chapter leader of the teachers’ union.
One other notable feature of the deal includes a program to initiate pre-service screening of teachers to ensure that they are suitable candidates for employment, and are thus likely to succeed in the city’s schools. New York joins cities such as Boulder and Los Angeles in screening pre-service applicants, according to Reema Amin in Chalkbeat. Amin states that “evidence from other cities offers a mixed review for the approach,” citing concerns about the accuracy and predictive effectiveness of the measures.
Some critics of the plan note that “the average annual raises fall below the 2.8 percent the federal government has identified as matching the rising cost of living,” according to Philissa Cramer in Chalkbeat.
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