After $700 Million Loss, Mulgrew Still Making Things Up

Somebody didn’t do the reading.

Appearing on Good Day New York this morning, UFT President Michael Mulgrew was asked about the union’s role in losing $700 million for New York public schools in Race to the Top, Round 1.

Mulgrew previously argued that the union’s charter bill would have helped the state’s chances because it included new provisions related to the enrollment of high-need students.

That was never remotely plausible given all the poison pills in the union’s bill, but at least he was referring to the latest available information. Now that the results are in and we know exactly where New York lost points, Mulgrew couldn’t possibly ignore the actual scores. Could he?

Oh, he did. From the interview:

”Why do you want everybody else to change and the teachers union stays the same?”

”Look, we’re willing to change and raise that cap. When the Race to the Top application says that the main priority of charter schools is to service the neediest students, and we have all the data that shows that they’re not [sic], we have to change that rule, so that they are being serviced, so it gives us a stronger application. So I was shocked at people saying, ëOh we can’t have that.’ But that’s what the application says.”

Except that it wasn’t the application says, nor is it what the judges said. New York lost 12.6 points out of 40 under the charter schools criterion. In the five reviewers’ extensive comments on this section–which repeatedly knocked the low charter schools cap–the only negative mention of high-need students was Reviewer 4’s worry that the “seemingly strong pressure to enroll” them might go too far. (I disagree.) [UPDATE: The upshot is that New York seems not to have lost any points due related to high-need charter students, which are mentioned in the RTTT rubric in the same subcriterion as high-quality authorizing.]

Mulgrew continued: “You have to do what’s in the application, not what you feel is expedient for yourself.”

He’s got that part right.

Download the Center’s full analysis of RTTT Round 1 scoring here. Below is the full interview (RTTT talk starts around the four-minute mark):