Parents and teachers may wonder whether the show-down over mass termination notices and several school closures was nothing more than a bargaining chip, as the administration sought contract concessions from teachers.
My guess -- and it is purely a guess -- is that firing the teachers instead of laying them off seemed like a "neat idea" to some folks in City Hall and the School Department a la Ollie North:
I thought using the Ayatollah's money to support the Nicaraguan resistance was a neat idea.
Because in the end, it is just a small technical detail -- fired without cause vs. laid off -- especially if neither has ever happened to you or anyone close to you.
As it turned out the the anger and political damage caused far outweighed whatever benefits they thought they were receiving, and the Mayor had to use this contract to at least blunt the outrage of the teachers.
Not that it is a great contract, but the whole process could have gone completely pear shaped.
To be honest, I don't know what was up with all the closures, one way or the other.