Carrion, former teacher and Democrat, blames an ‘out of touch’ teachers union for the impasse with City Hall

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Adolfo Carrion, with Carol Shea-Porter. (Barack Obama's flickr stream)
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It's "embarrassing" to have Governor Andrew Cuomo step in and impose a teacher-evaluation system in New York City, said mayoral candidate Adolfo Carrion Jr., a former Democrat and member of the Obama administration who is seeking the Republican and Independence Party nominations for mayor.

In a brief interview this afternoon, Carrion said the roughly $450 million in state aid that was contingent on an agreed-upon new teacher-evaluation system is vitally important for schools in the city, and that the United Federation of Teachers doesn't understand that.

"I think the leadership of the teachers union is out of touch with that reality," he said, adding  "I don't know that the the membership of the union is in line" with the union leadership. 

In the 1980s, long before he was elected as a city councilman and then as Bronx borough president, Carrion worked as a school teacher.

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He recalled that "a lions share of teachers didn't participate in union events."

Now, as the city faces a loss of education funding tied to the teacher evaluation system, Carrion said, there needs to be "a disincentive for not meeting deadlines."

"The city and the teachers union were at the table, and as far as I know, the teachers union removed themselves from the negotiations," Carrion said.

Carrion said he backed Bloomberg in the standoff with the teachers union, and suggested the Democratic mayoral candidates would not be able to do the same.

"You obviously have a mayor who has called into question that disconnect and is not backing down from defending the interest of the children and the families."

He said the quality the city needs in their next "mayor is you need a strong executive who is not politically beholden to that union and has the independence to negation with them from a position strength."

The mayor has said he'd prefer to have no deal on teacher evaluations than what he sees as a flawed one. The U.F.T. says it was the Bloomberg administration that caused negotiations to break down.

UPDATE: In a statement, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, Michael Mulgrew, said, "Mr. Carrion is going to need a better grasp of the facts if he hopes to be taken seriously as a candidate."