Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mike Mulgrew, Just Say No To "Givebacks" And Demand The City "Pattern"

It certainly appears that our union have again made some terrible decisions when trying to negotiate with Michael Bloomberg & Joel Klein for a new contract. I like many others had thought that the Randi Weingarten/Michael Mulgrew crew had secretly worked out a contract in exchange for the union allowing a continuation of mayoral control, neutrality in the mayoral elections, and the elimination of the 8.25% fixed interest rate in the TDA. It now appears that is not the case.

While it is true the City has penciled in two 4% raises for teachers in their budget, it now seems likely that we will not be getting our City "pattern" raises until the union agrees to "givebacks" to compensate for any wage increase. What are the "givebacks" Bloomberg & Klein want? Just read what Bloomberg said in Washington D.C. with the Secretary of Education standing next to him. While I am not part of the 300 person negotiating committee or the 30 member executive group that actually sits down with the City, it is very obvious what Bloomberg & Klein wants from us.

Tenure decisions: While tenure has always been controlled by the Principals, Tweed and the City wants to use actual student data that they can manipulate to determine tenure. This seems strange since Principal don't need student data to give or not grant teacher tenure. Is this a underhanded way to reduce school input on tenure decisions? I would like to know how the CSA feels about this.

ATR Time Limit: This is Chancellor Joel Klein's most important issue. He wants a six month time limit but will accept a longer time limit to eliminate the ATR problem that he created in the first place. To date the union has not budged on this and I hope they never will. How many ATRs filled the vacancies that were around before the October 30, 2009 deadline? Not many, none of my ATR friends filled one and I suspect the Principals were able to find a way around the issue without hiring ATRs.

Terminating Teachers: Under Bloomberg/Klein the sevenfold increase in reassigned teachers are mostly caused by Tweed allowing Principals the power to remove teachers on false or frivolous charges. This increase in reassigned teachers have overwhelmed the 3020-a process making a 2 to 3 year stay in "rubber rooms" quite common. Since Arbitrators and transcribers are paid by New York State and are paid sporadically, many 3020-a hearings are drawn out as both groups make this a low priority item. This has resulted in the DOE making settlements with many a charged teachers. However, teachers who know the charges are untrue rather take their chances with an independent Arbitrator than admit guilt. This forces the DOE to bolster their "weak cases" by practicing "character assassination" against the teacher that furtherextends the 3020-a hearing process.

School Closings: The expected ncrease in school closing is just another ploy to allow for the increase of "Charter Schools" and "Small Schools" at the expense of large neighborhood schools. Just look at the problems Tweed caused at Jamaica High School and Beach Channel High School are examples on how to destroy a neighborhood school.

It is the union's responsibility to listen to the other caucuses, including your allies at "New Action" and many of your own "Unity" members not to give any "givebacks" whatsoever. The pattern is two 4% raises minus the 0.58% we owe for getting the two days before Labor Day. No other union allowed for "givebacks" in this pattern and we will not as well.


Anonymous said...

Just think a few years ahead or our next contract. Bloomy will rightfully demand post tenure reviews tying into test scores on tenured teachers. Good bye to high salaries and good bye to decent pensions, we will all be contractors working on a 3 or 5 year contract.

Anonymous said...

How do gym, art, music teachers get evaluated? i'm all for improvement, but let's be realistic: this isn't South Korea, where Obama last week stated was a model for our schools. Two different cultures.You think he might have thought first before asking Duncan and Bloomberg to visit. In the end, it will and always has been about social class and accessing the fast track.

Anonymous said...

Two different cultures are right, say nothing about how South Koreans are inclined to exaggerate and self-hallucinate.

It has everything to do with South Korean parents, and has little to do with South Korean teachers.

When parents sacrifice more for their children, more can be asked of them, and kids tend to give more.

Anonymous said...

In some small schools principals teach one class. Do they also follow the same criteria with respect to tying their students' grades and their principalship position? Or are these principals inflating their passing rates since they're supposed to be role models for teachers and exposure to their inepitude would be too shameful? Either way, principals are not being held accountable when they also teach a class. The principal, at the school where I teach, also teaches HS History, has a passing rate of less than 70%, at one time, less than 60%. Here's something interesting. Two years ago NONE of her students passed the AP Government class. Students complained to the Quality Reviewer about her lack of knowledge and her inability to teach it well. Yet, the QRer ignored the students' complaints. If this had been the results of an untenured teacher, no tenure would be granted as per BloomKlein. Yet, what about removing principals who don't have good passing rates and can't teach, especially since the students constantly complain that they don't understand the principal's teaching method! Double standards, yes indeed, double standards!!