Mayor Bloomberg kept saying that he wanted to make it harder for teachers to get tenure without good test scores, and he wasn't kidding. This year just 58 percent of the teachers up for the coveted job security provided by tenure got it. Last year 89 percent of those eligible got tenure. At the same time, however, fewer teachers were outright rejected for tenure than last year with only 2.9 percent getting a no compared to 3.3 percent last year. The rest of the teachers have at least another year to shape up or ship out.

There are a number of reasons for the precipitous drop, but the biggest is that last year the city changed the standards for tenure, making the onus on principals to show why teachers deserve tenure rather than why they don't. That and an increased reliance on teacher data reports, which rate teachers on how well their students perform on standardized tests.

"As chancellor my responsibility is to ensure we have the best teaching force in front of our children," Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said yesterday when announcing the numbers. "Tenure was never something that was supposed to be granted automatically."

Automatic or not, the UFT, the biggest teaching union, has some issues with the numbers and how they came to be. They claim that many principals were forced by the DOE to defer decisions on some teachers. Further, they blame the low number on politics, not lack of progress. "If that were really the case—that 40% of the people are problematic—the people who are doing the hiring really should be fired," the union's secretary told the News. On the other least the city didn't have to fire 4,100 teachers, right?