When Mayor Bloomberg told New York Magazine that he considers tenure for public school teachers a “stupid” concept, he was speaking “maybe too energetically,” Department of Education press secretary David Cantor just told me.

“He believes in tenure reform,” Cantor said. “Tenure done in a meaningful way — we’ve always supported it.” The mayor believes tenure should be based on serious evaluation of new teachers and should be delayed or denied when teachers aren’t up to the job, something that happens only rarely in New York’s schools, Cantor said.

In the conversation recorded in New York Magazine, Bloomberg compared college and university professors and public schoolteachers, saying tenure only makes sense for the former group, professors who need protection to say what they think honestly. In his remarks the mayor might have gotten overexcited, Cantor said. “I think that he spoke maybe too energetically to draw the distinction he was trying to make.”