Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Union Must Stay Strong And Resist The Bullying Tactics By Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, & Commissioner King.

There is no doubt that the Governor, Mayor, and the State Education Department's (SED) Commissioner are bullying the teacher unions in accepting a flawed, untested, and objectionable "teacher evaluation system". Even the Principals across the State (except for the Leadership Academy Principals in New York City) have signed a petition asking that the "teacher evaluation system" be delayed until a pilot program is completed and evaluated. Commissioner King's response was to ignore the petition and go full steam ahead with a 40% testing component that almost all educators find objectionable. The result was that NYSUT went to court to block the 40% testing component and won an injunction. Furthermore, the DOE & UFT could not agree on the use of an Independent Arbitrator to determine if the teacher was really "ineffective" or was simply targeted by the Principal. In turn the DOE walked out of the talks and refused to have the disagreement mediated. The result was a major temper tantrum by the State Department of Education who blamed the unions for the impasse and the poor decisions by their own people.

Enter Governor Andrew Cuomo who backed Commissioner King and went on to say that the union influenced State Assembly did a disservice by requiring union approval. Now he is trying to bully the unions by issuing a 30 day ultimatum for NYSUT to drop their lawsuit on the 40% testing requirement and the UFT to submit to the DOE's appeal process with DOE approved hearing officers, similar to the "U" rating appeals. The Governor is trying to unravel the educational mess that he and the State Department of Education caused in the first place. Moreover, the Governor is trying to bribe the unions by adding money to the school districts that have a "teacher evaluation system" and punish them by withholding funds to school districts who cannot come to agreement with their unions.

The combination of the Governor, the Mayor, SED, and the news media onslaught might make the unions buckle but it is important that they stand firm and pressure the State Legislature to resist the bullying tactics and make sure that a fair "teacher evaluation system" is approved and if that means 4% less money for New York State schools in the short term, so be it. Protecting teacher "due process rights" and making sure that our students have a stable and experienced teaching staff is the priority here. Without teacher "due process" look for a constant teacher turnover as "newbie teachers" replaced experienced teachers at the expense of student academic achievement. It is "children first" isn't it Governor?


Anonymous said...

After this full frontal barrage from all barrels-Bloomberg, Cuomo, and MURDOCH of all people, if the UFT gives an inch here....we're fucking DONE...bye bye Charlie...

Anonymous said...

Question: What happens if the UFT rejects the 30 day deadline and then rejects a DOE compromise for the Dec 31st deadline of next year? My understanding is that the city will simply "lose" money for the turnaround/transformation schools and will "lose" the 4% additional funds that Cuomo promised. I think most teachers would rather not see that money considering the effects if would cause as it will not be used in the classroom anyway. However, agreeing to changes in the evaluation system will put all teachers in the crosshairs for the rest of their careers. (Or what will be left of their careers)

Anonymous said...

I hate to say this but I am really scared. The climate is so stacked against us.. and by us I mean teachers with 10-15 years and more. I pray that the union stands its ground and refuses to give in to these monsters. If the union gives in it might as well self-destruct because we will have sold out on everything to these creeps. If the union gives it the consequences will be disastrous for teachers and for students, who will be taught by incompetent newbie teachers who are in it to pad their law school applications. Anyone have anything constructive to make me feel better?? I can't believe how much hatred i can feel for other humans (Bloomberg and Walcott) and unfortunately Cuomo on whom I apparently wasted my vote. They are bad people simply really bad people.

Anonymous said...

Cuomo is just as bad as Bloomberg. If he makes a run for the presidency we are surely doomed!

veteran teacher said...

the union will not give in. bloomberg is trying to lobby cuomo into changing state laws. cuomo knows the unions got him in office and if he wants a 2016 run at the oval office, he needs union support. it is all political grandstanding. remember, a year ago, our mayor cried about lifo. what happened? nothing. nothing will happen with this. we won't get the 4 pct of state aid. that's fine by me. we now have until january 17, 2013 to negotiate, bargain etc.

nothing is going to happen, just like every year

Anonymous said...

I too am very worried about the possible consequences of what may be "down the road." I've recently reviewed the Danielson framework and find that it is virtually impossible for anyone at my school to reach "distinguished" or what NYC would call "highly effective" in respect to all of its categories. As for anything to make you feel better - I just don't know and also wish someone wiser than me would offer it up. Spread the word to the teachers in your school who might be living under a rock. Let family members and friends know about the unfairness that might be happening. Send a reply to the "voice of the people" section in the papers. Hope that our union stays strong and will not bend.

Anonymous said...

I quit my job because the principal was screwing me, my joke of an AP was screwing me, most of the students didn't give a shit about learning, my union rep. was clueless, and this whole mess was caused by Bloomberg and his three attack poodles.
My only advice is to build up your TDA as much as possible, and pray they don't take away the 7% fixed return rate, because unless you've got over twenty years in, you're screwed.
If they take away the 7% fixed return rate, the streets of the city will look like the opening scene of Umberto D.

Anonymous said...

I was in a restart school, and 60% of us got ineffective ratings.
If you have all Level 1 and 2 students, you don't stand a chance.
I quit, and now the restart schools are being switched to turnaround models.
I wonder if my school was changed also, and is slated to close?

Anonymous said...

It is so unbelievable what's going on across the State of New York in terms of the "new methods" for teacher evaluation!

If you're an "H" teacher, then you're "highly effective"! Congratulations!

If you're an "E" teacher, then you're not "excellent." You're simply "effective"!

If you're a "D" teacher, then you're not "doubtful." You're actually "developing." Developing into what?

If you're an "I" teacher, then you're that dreaded "ineffective" employee who's going to be thrown under the bus! Two of these in a row and you can be brought up on dismissal charges even if you're tenured. So, CYA and good luck!

The Commissioner of Education's decision in NYCBOE v. Arrak (28 EDR 302) is very insightful. It's important to note that the Commissioner accepted an Education Law §3020-a panel's finding that "there were no absolutes in teaching."

The Commissioner's exact quotation at page 303 is:

"The panel, in a commentary on respondent's teaching and questioning techniques, stated that there were no absolutes in teaching, and that respondent had to be evaluated for effectiveness. The panel decision notes the fact that respondent's students fared at least as well or better than the students of other teachers in the science department during the period covered by the charges."

So, given that there are no absolutes in teaching, how does Charlotte Danielson have the temerity to determine that teachers must do this, that, and the other thing in order to be considered "effective" or "highly effective"?

Too many political cooks spoil the educational broth!

Anonymous said...

At yesterdays DA, here is what Mulgrew said, and I quote:
"We want our schools to be better. Evaluation is probably the key."
Not more resources, smaller class sizes, teacher and community empowerment, early literacy education for all students, funding equity, dealing with the disadvantages our students suffer due to poverty and racism, administrators who are real educators, and the list of what we know can improve our schools could go on. But the president of the largest teachers union has taken the side of the governor and the mayor. How can we expect a real fight from a this union? Come to the State of the Union Conference on February 4th, 2012, at the Graduate Center for Workers Education, 25 Broadway, Manhattan, 7th Floor

Join teachers, parents, students and concerned community members in a conversation about how the UFT can FIGHT for smaller class sizes, an end to school closings, less standardized testing, an end to mayoral control and more!

Anonymous said...

In regard to high schools - has anyone ever thought about the complete mess this would be. Here are some questions high school teachers I'm sure can relate to:
1. What if I teach special ed and the IEP states that the incoming freshman reads and writes on a 4th grade level?
2. What if I am teaching 10th grade and the a teacher or two of my current students just gave them mercy "65s" the previous year when they should not have passed at all?
3. What teacher of the CTT or now ITT kids (co teaching) will be most responsible for grade improvements on the data?
4. Will a teacher who takes on a student teacher be responsible for the student teachers results?
5. Does a resource room teacher get assessed via value added? How could he or she? Well, it's not fair if he or she does not?
6. Hey, what about the teacher who teachers three classes of FIlm study? Are they really going to spend cash on an assessment for a class that might very well be thought in only a few schools?
7. Are guidance counselors in on the deal? Well, why not? They make more money than us teachers?
8. How come deans only have to worry about two classes while the rest of us have five to worry about possibly being scrutinized?
9. What about service providers? Hey, it isn't fair!!!
10. Ahh these APs. When I pass their classroom, I don't see them do anything but talk and chalk! Don't they have to follow the same script?

Oh, please - my head is going to explode here people. What a total and abolute mess this may be.

Anonymous said...

In answer to the post at 10:19pm- yes it was.

Ms. A said...

Please spread the word:

Responses to Race to the Top
Join us for a Webinar on January 31

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Sponsored by the Restructuring Group of ASCD Edge; moderated by Dr. Mamzelle Adolphine, group facilitator.

Promoting great teachers and leaders and using standards and assessments to improve instruction are two of the areas that the Race to the Top initiative requires schools to address. In this webinar, you will learn on how two strategies have been used to address each of these areas. One strategy illustrates how a seventh grade science teacher expanded her practice by using inquiry project learning. The other strategy focuses on how educational technology is used for assessment.

Dr. Stephen Appea is currently the principal of the Dr. Rose B. English School – PS/IS 327. He is an adjunct of City University of New York and an adjunct professor of educational leadership at Hunter College. Dr. Appea is the author of: True Clues: Famous African Americans. Educational Impressions 2009. He is the recipient of the United States Congress Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Congresswoman Yvette Clarke in recognition of outstanding and invaluable service as a principal to the community of Ocean Hill Brownsville, May 2011.

Lee Anna Stirling, Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia, teaches graduate curriculum and education leadership courses as an adjunct at the University of New England and other colleges. She has been a classroom teacher, administrator, and instructional coach. Lee serves on the Maine ASCD Board and hosts the ASCD EDge Inquiry Project Learning group. Topics of her articles contributed to Phi Delta Kappan, Maine Journal of Education, New England Journal of Higher Education and other publications, include teachers collaboratively learning with peers, school restructuring, arts in education, educators' morale, and inquiry project learning.
Title: Responses to Race to the Top
Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Time: 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM EST