Tuesday, January 01, 2013

My Predictions For 2013.

Now that 2012 is over and a new year of 2013 starts. Here are my predictions for the NYC teaching profession and they are pessimistic.

Teacher Evaluation System:  I predict that before the end of the school year, the City and UFT will agree to hammer out a teacher evaluation system, under the threat of losing $250 million dollars of State aid (A measly 1% of the existing DOE budget that will remain untouched).  While the union will stand its ground on the January 17th deadline the State will allow the two sides to keep negotiating and release the money as long as an agreement is implemented for the 2013-14 school year.  Therefore, look for the teacher evaluation system, complete with "junk science", a punitive use of the Danielson framework, and an estimated 20% teacher "ineffective" rating for the 2013-14 school year.

PERB Decision: The DOE's PERB complaint that the union negotiated in "bad faith" will be thrown out as frivolous.  As for the contract, the three Arbitrator panel's decision about the contract will be issued during the summer when their will be less media publicity and will probably side with the union, for the most part.  The City's contention that they used the two 4% raises to avert layoffs of teachers will be rejected by the panel since the union never agreed to it  as required by the Taylor Law provisions.  In addition, the  Arbitrators will remind the City of the Mayor's failure to follow the "City pattern"  as he did with the other unions.

Union Election: Look for Michael Mulgrew and Unity to easily win the election.  Their only competition will be the newly formed caucus MORE.  However, MORE seems to be drifting more and more to the left, no pun intended.  More's emphasis seems to be "social justice" and not teacher based issues which will cause many teachers who have been disenfranchised by "Unity" to think twice about voting for MORE. Personalty, I would never vote for TJC because of their emphasis on the "social justice" issues.  However, as ICE and TJC have now merged, the "social justice" issues of TJC appears to have won out over the more teacher-centered ICE as the main platform for MORE. I predict that many teachers will probably sit out the election and result in another landslide victory for "Unity" and that is too bad. It will be interesting to see if those "fifth columnists" E4E actually runs in the elections.  It will be even more interesting to see how many real supporters they have?

Contract:  Look for the Mayor to ignore the PERB decision on the contract and "kick the can down the road" for the next Mayor.  Remember, the PERB decision is "non-binding" and both sides can ignore the conclusions.  However, the next Mayor will probably use the PERB decision as a basis for the contract sometime in the Spring of 2014.

Mayoral Election: As much as I hope it is not true, look for Christine Quinn to be our next Mayor.  Yes the same Christine Quinn who followed the Mayor's destructive education policy and is known as "Bloomberg Lite".  While she we probably stamp her mark on the NYC schools by selecting a new Chancellor and make cosmetic changes to the useless "CFN"s.  She will not change the DOE Charter School policy or the closing of schools in the City.  I hope I am wrong but at this time, I do not see anybody as a real opponent to Christine Quinn.  However, the union will finally receive a contract and let's hope it includes the well-deserved 4% retroactive raisers we were deprived of by Mayor Bloomberg.

ATR Buyout:  Look for the ATR issue to be resolved.  No new Mayor will waste 160 million dollars yearly and will reabsorb the ATRs into vacancies. Probably bringing back the 2009 agreement that allowed principals to hire ATRs at "newbie" salaries with the DOE picking up the rest.  As part of the negotiations look for an ATR buyout that will be more generous than Chancellor Walcott proposal and then withdrew after the Mayor objected to it. Probably closer to the six month UFT proposal.

There may be some other significant predictions I have missed but these are the most important and only time will tell if these predictions come true.


Anonymous said...

I think that's an unfair critique of MORE on Chaz blog, social justice, leftist, That's just an easy way to label us, we're on the picket lines with Con Ed, demanding answers during hurricane sandy, and raising a resolution to ask for a democratic vote of all members on any new evaluation agreement
We fight overtesting and underfunding of our public schools while our city is donating millions of dollars to privatized charter schools. We are organizing ATRs and demanding they be placed permanently before any new hires. MORE is defending teachers who are arbitrarily denied tenure after 3 years of great ratings. MORE believes all chapters should be well organized and active with leadership from the UFT. MORE not the unity leadership provided literature on its social media sites that shows common core, value added measures, and other government and corporate education directives turn our children into data , profits, not critical thinking members of our society. It was MORE that led solidarity actions on behalf of Chicago teachers, while UFT leadership said the lesson of the strike was to vote in the presidential election, we told the real lessons that smaller class sizes and a robust school day is worth fighting for. They may label us what they want but truth is we are the only caucus of the UFT with rank and file educators' concerns first, not our own.

Anonymous said...

I am a bit confused by your comments on MORE. You seem to be dismissing them because they are "social justice" without actually explaining what social justice stands they have taken and how those stands don't help our schools.

ed notes online said...

Please site the exact social justice issues that your appear to think are over riding teacher issues in MORE. Since you have not attended one MORE event or even apparently read the MORE web site, it seems you are getting a one-sided view of MORE. And for your info, ICE was much more social justice than TJC and in fact that was why we formed ICE -- to counter the narrow TJC and New Action agendas.

Show me what you disagree with here:
Plank 1 of the MORE platform:
1. MORE Respect, Compensation, Rank and File Leadership, and Fight Back for Improved Working Conditions.
LESS top-down bureaucracy and give backs
We are fighting for a transparent union that is ready to mobilize our members in pickets, rallies, and job actions to defend our rights, wages, and secure a new contract.

We are facing....
• Three years without a contract with no transparency in the negotiation process, while teachers, the union and public education are under systematic attack.
• Erosion of fringe, health and pension benefits, arbitrary denial of tenure, unanswered harassment by supervisors, increasing attacks on non-teaching personnel and replacement with privatized and less skilled workers.
• Backroom deals on teacher evaluations that threaten to render tenure meaningless and that will drastically change the working conditions of teachers with no input from rank-and-file union membership.
• An out of touch overpaid union leadership that overly relies on lawsuits and lobbying, accepting concessions while failing to build a union with the capacity to resist attacks.
• Highly-qualified teachers denied positions and forced into the Absent Teacher Reserve pool while less experienced and less expensive teachers are hired.

We will fight for.....
• A multi-year contract with retroactive pay and the protection of our rights including due process for all tenured teachers and class size caps without loopholes.
• Rank-and-file led decision-making and democratic votes on important policy decisions, a union that organizes and mobilizes to insure that our interests are protected.
• Structural changes, including elected organizers instead of appointed district reps to build a union that educates and mobilizes its members through pickets, jobs actions, and building alliances with independent community organizations, parent associations, student groups, and other labor unions.
• Union leadership and staff with the same pension plan and salary scale as members, with no double pensions.
• Restoring highly-qualified veteran “ATR” teachers to permanent positions before hiring inexperienced lower-salaried teachers and a funding structure based on average teacher salary, so schools can hire and retain experienced teachers.

Chaz said...

I have watched MORE and have even listed them on my blogroll. However, I stand by my opinion that MORE concentrates on "social justice" issues

Prove to me that you are more interested in getting teachers a raise and independence in the classroom than this!

10:00-12:00pm Discussion-The Importance of Social Justice Unionism & Preparing for Political Attacks.

or this!

MORE (Movement of Rank and File Educators) invites you to a day long retreat on the nuts and bolts of creating a strong social justice union by mobilizing our chapters.

Both came from the MORE blog. Enough said.

I do believe that an opposition caucus is necessary but it most be more teacher focused and while I may vote for MORE, its emphasis on "Social Justice" is not a comfortable fit for me. It is just my opinion but it is my opinion.

Chaz said...


By the way. I agree with many of the teacher based issues you raised. However, I am concerned that the message is subordinate to the "social justice" issues that MORE is emphasizing.

Anonymous said...

Mike Mulgrew will win election however the influx of non teachers into the voting ranks will cloud the win. Julie Cavanagh is the most viable candidate any opposition has ever run against Unity and I believe she will receive a greater percentage of teacher votes than any previous candidate. Quinn has the name recognition but Bill Thompson has a strong base and name recognition to go along with the fact that Quinn allowed the third term for Bloomberg. That will become amajor issue with voters one she cannot easily dismiss. Happy New Year Chaz.
old teach

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone from TJC, you are factually incorrect in your characterization of TJC and "emphasis" on social justice.

Also, you've got the nature of the collapse of the buyout talks wrong.

Your blog is losing great credibility by getting basic facts wrong.
Being distant from activism has its penalties.

ed notes online said...

So Chaz I feel you are missing some of social justice points. You should read the rest of the blog and point to all the trade union issues we deal with. Do you think that over a 1000 people signed our eval petition is inconsequential?

We are engaging in a discussion on the meaning of social justice internally and how to dovetail that with trade union issues. This is vis a vis the fact that CORE in Chicago is a social justice caucus that had 98% vote for a strike and got community support for their action. We understand that if teachers just call for their own raises no one will support them. We are about trying to find a winning strategy over the long term unlike Unity which has led us down the tubes. We need to get parents on our side and that won't happen unless we talk about class size and other issues of concern to them as they did in Chicago -- we see class size as a social justice and trade union issue.

The fact that these democratic discussions are so open to all and involve some struggle internally is a sign of health and democracy which are the keys to building a vibrant opposition. Not just trolling for votes by shouting -- we want a 30% raise for all immediately -- or we will? What? Given we did not even have a name until May and are trying to put together 5 different groups with different philosophies to build MORE while trying to run in an election I think we are doing quite well. And ICE is a vibrant part of MORE even if the senior element. If you read the ICE platforms in the past we may not have used the words social justice but we had the same concerns as MORE though different rhetoric, some of which we are struggling over. We welcome you to any events to join in the struggle.

ed notes online said...

On your 2nd point --MORE has a draft platform that is not published yet. We have 5 main planks and social justice is only one of them. That is not -20%- emphasizing social justice in our publications.
We do have people who are working very hard who have strong beliefs and in trying to build a wide ranging caucus we need to hear their voices just as we need to hear yours. Neither end should be shut out but don't get all tea party on us and insist you have to get everything one way.
I do think some of the MORE meetings have not spent enough time touching on hard core issues and at the Friday retreat we used that discussion on balancing social justice with trade union and finding the points of intersection. Julie led that discussion (while often holding Jack) and as the previous commenter noted, I have enormous faith in her and her abilities and will stand loyally by her side as long as she is willing to do this heavy lifting since her baby was 6 weeks old and while working full time. (I helped her shlep the baby and stuff by subway from park slope to harlem on a vacation day for a 6 hour meeting.)

I believe MORE has attracted some amazing next gen leaders like Julie and Republican Mike S. --and am proud to be working with them as long as they let this old fossil hang around. Really, ask yourself how a high school teacher who is a registered Republican can become active 6 months ago and become a main cog in making MORE operate? You know other people involved -- me, Fiorillo, etc. Have some faith Chaz.
The prime directive is to build an alternative to Unity. I am not always happy but that is not the important factor here. We all sacrifice something.

Chaz said...

Nice, how you try to include class size into the "social justice" definition when it is not in any definition I have read. As for my creditability? You have a right to your opinion just as my opinion that "social justice" is a problem for a non-ideological moderate like me.

The simple answer to attract more teachers to MORE is to eliminate the "social justice" mantra which is included by many leftist parties such as the Green and the socialist parties. Do you see people voting them into office? No, they are fringe parties and do not represent the general population.

While individually, I like many of the individuals running under MORE and will support Julie for the UFT presidency, I still believe the union should concentrate on teacher issues not societal problems.

Chaz said...


I appreciate all your support over the years and I will vote for MORE over Unity. However, maybe you are too close to see that MORE is seen by moderates like me as being too far to the left and not focused on teacher issues.

Teachers want a union to advocate for them not spending energy or resources on issues like a "living wage" or occupy Wall Street. We already have that with Unity. I don't need it from MORE.

Friends are always friends even when we disagree on issues.

Anonymous said...

No matter what kind of raise is won by the next contract, how many teachers will be left to collect it if the new "gotcha" evaluation system is installed? It's only you and your AP, supervisor or principal in the classroom with you, and their opinion, however biased or based on political axes to grind will dictate the results of any observation. They can write whatever lies they like and you are screwed. I would be willing to settle for less money and more job security by fighting the new and highly unfair evaluation system. A buyout for ATRS with only a couple of years to go before their 30 might be fine for them, but what about the many ATRs I have met who have 10 or more years to go? And what if you are forced to accept placement in a really crap hopeless school (as Flushing High School has been described) where you will receive poor evaluations no matter what you do? Better to remain an ATR than put your neck in such a noose.

Anonymous said...

If you don't see that teacher issues are a societal problem, then the U.S. Is hopeless. You happen to be one of the enlightened ones, relatively speaking that is.
That is why the current system is under attack. Our society does not place a high value on learning and the need for teachers.

When the masses are sleeping it is difficult to quickly move them into action, hence the term struggle.

Your comparison to Green Party, "Socialist" party reveals the sad state of ignorance by the so called progressive and enlightened. Again, relative.

Most people don't open their eyes until they have been in their personal struggle like your 3020-a. Though unfortunate, i think it would not have opened up your eyes had you not gobe through the experience. I bring this up so you are careful not to forget that there have always been "moderates" in history and eventually they fall under atrack because they were moderates, too.

Thanks for your posts in 2012 and I hope you keep them coming in 2013.
Have a Happy 2013!

ed notes online said...

From the very beginning we defined class size in terms of social justice. So let me explain how we get here. If we only put class size in terms of working conditions for teachers -- the ed deformers attack us as only wanting to make life easier for us and to hire more union teachers. As in Chicago we frame the issue as an attack on kids rather than on teachers. That makes is social justice in our view -- bringing parents and other supporters into the fight -- the uFT won't make this a contract demand and we say they should -- parents fighting for a better contract for us to help the kids.
Same with tenure -- kids benefit from a highly trained teaching staff.
That is why MORE is framing issues as social justice -- not only about teachers but about benefiting the students who we spend 5 hours a day dealing with. A healthy child with wrap around services makes our job easier. So yes, to me that is the social justice angle merged with core teacher issues. In fact having a floating pool of ATRs instead of reducing class size is an outrage for all. We must stop looking inward only.
And as always, we never let political disagreements affect our relationships though I hope to convince you in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Hissy Queens is all spleen!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Chaz and, after wanting to back MORE, i started to see the Social Justice. Lets not forget they kicked and screamed about Occupy Wall St. Most Americans did not support that movement, or the terrible display at the park. In this climate we can only discuss education and the support teachers and staff need. When this was brought up, they even said that the social issues and what is going on goes together. Come on- lets be real on what we are.

Chaz said...


While I will vote for MORE over Unity, your caucus is just not a good fit for me. While you believe class size is a social justice issue. I believe it is about what is best for the students and teachers, not a societal issue.

I believe that any union must represent its members and be focused on teacher issues, not a political philosophy.

When MORE becomes more mainstream and moves away from the "
social justice" plank, then I might consider joining.

Anonymous said...

It is too bad- when i see MORE's platform, it is not bad. Just get away from the social justice. Away from the politics. You do know there are thousands of teachers that do not agree with your idea of politics???

Anonymous said...

chaz is right on! I was already upset that our union gave $50,000 to Al Sharpton's organization and now MORE wants to include society's ills as part of their mission.

How about a union that concentrates on the teachers in the classroom?

ed notes online said...

I hope you are not equating Al Sharpton with social justice. As I've pointed out, social justice to me (and I think to most MOREs) is a connection with the issues facing teachers in the classroom with the impact on kids not just teachers. If you think that with the massive ed deform attacks on teachers and unions going on that a focus on just the teachers will get somewhere you are barking up the wrong tree. Look at groups like TFA and E4E which ignore the impact of poverty and pushed that problems can be solved in the classroom. Our union has done a lousy job in countering this attack. Chicago teachers are being vilified while Randi is praised due to their ability to get parents on their side.

Anonymous said...

I am not. I am just making a point that our union spends money unwisely and there is no reason that anybody that represents the teaching profession would give money to Al Sharpton.

It was not long ago that he teamed up with Joel Klein to start an organization that bashed teachers.

However, I do agree with Chaz that a union must be focused on teachers and not on a political philosophy.

Chaz said...

The Al Sharpton, Joel Klein connection can be found at http://chaz11.blogspot.com/2010/08/how-does-al-sharpton-feels-about-how.html.

I too like MORE's platform about teacher rights and "due process". I just feel the MORE "social justice" plank is a problem for me and other teachers who want a union that concentrates on the classroom teacher and their students and not on the poverty and family issues that we cannot control.

Norm, lets end this. It only serves the aims of the top-down Unity faction by continuing this issue that will not lead to changing your or my mind.

Assailed Teacher said...

What an interesting discussion. Thank you to everyone who participated, including Chaz and Norm. I think it is healthy to discuss this, for it gives MORE an indication of what might be going through many teachers' minds.

I am a member and supporter of MORE, and I do not consider myself ideological in any way. Like Chaz, I consider myself a pragmatist.

So Chaz, maybe I can share with you a pragmatic defense of "social justice". If we focus on bread-and-butter union issues, we will be just another trade union out for themselves. But, "social justice" allows us to clad our demands in what benefits children (because our demands WOULD benefit children). In short, social justice gives our platform an unassailable sheen of having the best interests of children at heart. Without it, we feed right into the criticisms that teacher unions are selfish, corrupt mossbacks.

Essentially, MORE is doing exactly what the ed reformers in that their demands are for the sake of our children's future. It has worked well for them. It can work well for us because, unlike the deformers, we actually do care about our children's futures.

It is nothing less than what CORE did in Chicago, and all indications show that most Chicago parents supported the strike.

And, in the end, if we do not engage the parents in this struggle, we die in the water, plain and simple. Change will not come from within the DOE. It will have to be shaken from the outside. Parents are the only people that can do that for us. They are the key to any teacher's movement's success anywhere.

Just my two cents. I am sure many will disagree with me, which I encourage since it will help me hone my own perceptions.

Anonymous said...

Funny! I don't see a debate over mulgrew pledging $1billion to the city using TRS. When did the rank and file vote???
What say y'all about that?
Is that the role of a union? Perhaps the city is getting their money from the teachers anyway. Wow! Bush didn't have to tap into pensions, Mulgrew pledges it. Did y'all notice the picture where Clinton is sitting next to mulgrew as mulgrew pledges...
All of this in New York Teacher.
That should be scrutinized.

Anonymous said...

I hope Norm does end this and sees the light. We need a new caucus and yours is our only hope right now. Stop with your equating social justice with teachers. PLEASE. You will never attract more people to you that way and that is your goal. Focus on what matters to teachers. Your view on politics does not matter to us. The country is anti- union thanks to the politics of it.

Chaz said...

Assailed Teacher:

I appreciate your defense of the "social justice" platform. However, I cannot in good conscious be a member of a caucus that has a "social justice" plank.

I rather support a union that supports teachers and their students exclusively and not fuzzy up the issues with "social justice". I this makes the union a "trade union", then that is what it should be. Maybe we should be more like the teamsters and less like Unity or MORE on focusing on their members.

Anon 11:56

I an disgusted with what Mulgrew did. Using member funds to pay for dubious social programs such as Charter School supporter Al Sharpton's organization and giving the City money when we cannot even get a raise form them!.

That is why I do not like "social justice" because it takes money from the members to solve the society problems. Is it any wonder our union is 72 million dollars in debt?