Saturday, January 07, 2012

Why The Union Refused To Agree With The DOE's Conditions On The Teacher Evaluation System - No Teacher "Due Prtocess Rights"!

The framework of the teacher evaluation system that the DOE & UFT agreed to for the 33 restart/transformation schools is now little more than an exercise in futility as the two parties could not agree on what the final product would be. Despite the uproar in the daily tabloids, education reform organizations, and those fifth columnists at E4E, the major reason was the DOE's insistence in eliminating teacher "due process rights".

The problem with DOE's proposal is that if the teacher received two consecutive"ineffective" ratings from an Administrator the teacher would be immediately terminated, with only an appeal to a DOE hearing officer allowed while no longer receiving a paycheck. Based upon Leo Casey's analysis in the "U" rating appeal hearings, the teacher would have a 0.2% chance of success. Or one out of 433 cases overturned! That means that once a Principal targeted a teacher, that teacher was as good as terminated without any reasonable chance of appealing the decision in two years. By contrast, under the existing procedures, the Principal would need to give the targeted teacher three consecutive annual "U" ratings and the teacher would still have the right to have his or her case heard by an independent Arbitrator under the 3020-a State regulations, while still on the payroll to determine if the DOE can terminate the teacher.

Under the DOE's proposal, the Principal's decision is final because, according to the DOE, the Principal's decision "comes from god" and no Principal would give an unfair rating to a teacher that would jeopardize a teacher's career. It matters little to Tweed that many of these Principals have been exposed as petty, vindictive, incompetent, and worse. To Tweed, the Principal can do no wrong and even when they do, they are simply given a slap on the wrist and maintain their control of the school. Many of the more recent cases can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here. Yet the DOE wants these principals, many with little or no classroom experience to determine whether a teacher is "effective" or "ineffective". This is especially true of "Leadership Academy Principals" who make up 19% of the Principals in New York City. Had the union agreed to the DOE's proposal, it would be open season on veteran teachers.

The union did the right thing by opposing the DOE's attempt to eliminate teacher "due process rights" and need to hold firm against the media onslaught by the education reformers whose real agenda is to destroy the teacher unions and the public school system.


Michael Fiorillo said...

You are correct that the UFT did the right thing by resisting this evaluation system, which is clearly intended to give near-absolute power to martinets with checklists.

Now we must all pray for the continued good health of Shelly Silver, who is likely to be the sole obstacle in the way of Cuomo's gerrymandered commission.

Anonymous said...

Too much money is involved. Look for a compromise. Union will retain arbitrators, but arbitrators will have to give the principals some type of deference. It would not be a just cause standard as in 3020-a.
If that happens, instead of a .4 success rate; maybe it will be 1 percent.

Jeff Kaufman said...

I agree with you, Chaz but for argument's sake (since there is no way to prove this without an insider's view) why would the DOE and UFT agree to revamp the evaluation system if it was known, clearly, that the union is not at that point, yet, that they would bargain away our due process rights? To me, given our giveaway history, this exercise was played out in the media to soften the blow we will be dealt with when we "compromise" our due process rights. It is sad to see in so many schools how much power the principal has over teachers already. The grab for more is to be expected and, of course, the UFT's complicity is also understood. How are we going to stop the further erosion of our job rights?

Anonymous said...

As an ATR i have seen a lot of principals lately - let me restate that - I have not seen many because that would mean that someone might be interested in hiring me which of course is a crock or s--- Let me state this clearly - from what I hear from the other teachers and from what I see as to how these schools are run is that the principals themselves are utterly and tremendously incompetent. They can't control the kids at all - in fact most of them regard even the worst as angels and they seem to get off on giving the teachers endless amounts of meaningless paperwork and unfair observations. The principals need to be terminated not the teachers.

Anonymous said...

And the assistant principals are just, if the more, incompetent. They truly play a useless role!

veteran teacher said...

I feel Cuomo is all lip service(ie he'll appoint a 'commission' to make it look like he's doing something) because he knows that the UFT played a big hand in getting him elected and if he wants to have higher aspirations in 2016, he will need union support.

Bloomberg is basically trying to throw hail mary's. Everything he has tried to do over the past year plus has gone sour. He has two years left. The union reps all believe the UFT is looking to wait to get him out and negotiate with a new mayor.

Like a prior post said, I pray for Shelly Silver's good health