Saturday, December 08, 2012

To My Union: No Contract, No Teacher Evaluation System.

It appears that the UFT might be caving in to the City and State pressure and will sign a teacher evaluation system, once some minor "sticking points" are ironed out without negotiating a long overdue teachers' contract.  This is totally unacceptable to me and many of the rank and file.  We are only a handful of unions that were refused the "City pattern", the two 4% raises that all the other City unions received and for our union to surrender their only real bargaining chip for a teacher evaluation system that nobody likes or wants is unbelievable.

I agree with nyc educator, Accountable Talk, NYCDOEnuts, and Ednotes online that the proposed teacher evaluation system should not be implemented but scrapped altogether.  For the DOE it simply is a "gotcha program" that could result in 20% of the teachers rated "ineffective" based upon a previous pilot study using  "junk science" that is proposed for the teacher evaluation system. Furthermore, it will be easy for the Administration to abuse the Dainelson program rubric agreed upon for use by the DOE and our union to further increase teacher "ineffective" ratings.

The "value added measurement" (VAM)  that is 20% of the teacher evaluation system is simply "junk science" and discriminates against teachers who have high needs and economically disadvantaged students.  Even the State admits that they must use an "adjustment factor" to account for English Language Learners, Special Education, and Economically disadvantaged students in the VAM calculation and admits that the "adjustment factor" is a work in progress and may not accurately reflect real academic outcomes.

I can just see how a vindictive Administrator would push some of the worst preforming and behaving students into a class which will disrupt the learning environment for the teacher he or she does not like or want and switch higher achieving students into a class of a teacher she likes.  The potential for abuse is very real and the teacher evaluation system would be the nail in the coffin of the targeted teacher.  Remember, only 13%^ of those teachers rated "ineffective" would have real "due process" while the other 87% should be looking for another job.  Therefore, the teacher evaluation system is really a termination program that an Administrator can manipulate to remove a teacher he or she wants out of the school.

We should not be held hostage by the City and State when the DOE budget is 22 billion dollars and withholding a measly $250 million dollars of extra funding is a drop in a bucket and can be easily absorbed by the Tweed bureaucracy, assuming the State follows through and actually withholds the extra money.  No contract, no teacher evaluation system.  Hear that Michael Mulgrew? Better yet how about letting the members vote on it?


Teachmy class MrMayor said...

Chaz, you mean things like giving a teacher a class full of kids that are off track and have failed the class for a myriad of reasons, put it near the end of the day where they are likely not to go (as they have already proven in the past, by their record), and not tell the teacher, so they can approach the class in a much different method, knowing what they were up against, and it be the only class of its type?? Those type of vindictive things?

Anonymous said...

Agree 100%

zulma said...

Or the 1st period class that starts at 7:45 a.m. or 8 a.m. and there's only 4-7 kids out of 34 showing up. The veteran teacher has a well-detailed, engaging lesson with all the materials and various visual aids for all 34 kids, and have proof that the teacher has sent letters, made calls to parents, and have spoken to the students,who cut his/her class, during the course of the day and administration comes in to do an informal and formal observation in the same week. That's the teacher who will most likely get an expected u-rating (unfair of course, if only the "u" meant that).

Anonymous said...

I teach a class of 32 with 24 current & 4 former ELLs. I am not a certified ESL/TESOL teacher and only 4 students are being pulled-out for ESL services.

To use last year's state test as the baseline against the upcoming Common Core stadards-based test to calculate my value-added is insane. The email sent to teachers from Shael about the anticipation of drops in scores tells me all I need to know about how many points I am likely to earn.

At work I continue to try my hardest every school day. At home I find myself wondering if I should be finding a lawyer asap or if there is any chance this school year will remain S/U?????

NYCDOEnuts said...

I've just trademarked the terms "Deputy Chancellor Michael Mulgrew" and "Deputy Chancellor of Human Resources Michael Mulgrew". But you and your readers are welcome to use it.

Thing that gets me the most is that, when the knife does come, their approach to the outcries will be to pretend that any member who had expected a raise was clueless. I hate that Unity snark.

Anonymous said...

The only way I accept a new teacher evaluation system is if everyone from the chancellor on down teaches a class and are judged the same way teacher will be judged. Let us see how well they do. Lets see them teach the worst classes and lets videotape it. Most of these people get out of teaching because they know they could not last in the classroom. . I want to see Dennis Wallcott teach a class. I want to see the network people teach a class. After all these are the people who are supposed to be the educational leaders.Okay now its time. Lets see them lead by example.

Anonymous said...

In one year my school will be closing. I will become an ATR. If this evaluation suystem goes through it will be better to be an ATR than a full time teacher. I will not returm to the classroom as a teacher even if a school wants to hire me.

28 year retired NYC teacher said...

Unfortunately for the in-service teachers, the leadership of the UFT (Unity) does not have to submit this to a vote of the membership. I may be wrong, but I understand that legally they don't even have to submit an agreed upon contract to a vote of the membership.
What you don't seem to consider is that the UFT has to play ball with the city, and works as much for the retired teachers as it does for the in-service teachers. Remember that things like the scope of the coverage under the medical benefits plans, and 7% interest rate for the cash TDA are not contractual. Why wouldn't the city, for example, demand to rework the contracts with the medical providers to reduce the scope of coverage? Or demand to lower the interest rate it pays on the TDA cash account? As a matter of fact this did happen last year when the UFT agreed that the TDA cash account would only pay 7% instead of 8 1/4%.
Remember that the retired teachers also vote in the union elections, and they vote for Unity. They expect the UFT to protect these benefits. And also remember that even the in-service teachers vote 80% or so for Unity because they just don't read these blogs, and they are confused about everything.
Unfortunately, I think that with all the trade-offs, the UFT has to be considered as mainly a
BARGAINING UNIT which tries to get the best mix of salary and benefits IF YOU ARE ABLE TO KEEP YOUR TEACHING JOB.

NYC Educator said...

I would love a vote on this. I'm mystified as to why on earth we aren't tying this to a contract. To me, it looks like our best and only bargaining chip. Of course I'm just a lowly teacher, so what do I know?

Anonymous said...

Great post and I just love the graphic.

Chaz said...


The 7% is guaranteed by the State and the City cannot take the 7% from the TDA without the union agreeing to it.

The 1.25% the UFT gave up was the City contribution that paid for the two days before Labor Day as vacation days.

28 year retired NYC teacher said...

That was my point: the union agreed to it! And why do you think that the UFT agreed to it or refused to fight it?
The whole point of my post was that the Unity leadership knows that it cannot take a completely adversarial position with the city. If they accept the new evaluation system it will be because they think they'll be able to spin it to the clueless in-service membership. Maybe in combination with some supposed concession by the city.
But why should they let the membership vote on accepting the new evaluation system?
Everybody gets sold out a little bit by these people: the rubber room teachers, the ATR's, the in-service teachers, and the retirees.
I do understand your frustration though, because it means that you personally have already been sold out three times.