Friday, March 25, 2016
The Union's Spin Zone.
This post is about two issues that have come up in the the last week. First, about the union's attempt to put "lipstick on the pig". Attempting to show that forcing ATRs to take provisional positions outside their district was a good thing. The second, the leadership's attempt to ram "junk science" down the throats of their members. Let's look at the two issues that our union leadership is spinning to their members.
Forcing ATRs to take provisional positions outside their district:
One of the "givebacks" the union leadership gave the DOE was the right for the DOE to force elementary and middle schools ATRs to take provisional assignments in another district in their Borough. Did the union ask their ATR members who are affected by it if this was acceptable? Of course not! That brings me to the Ed Notes online post where Norm Scott spoke with Amy Arundell about why the union agreed to allow the DOE to force ATRS to take provisional assignments outside their district. Amy's response, according to Norm Scott, was as follows:
The wider exposure has helped ATRs get jobs and out of the ATR pool.
Amy's statement on its face is probably true but ignores the real issue. The placements are provisional and not permanent. Almost all of these provisional appointees will find themselves back into the ATR pool at the end of the school year. Moreover, most of the ATRs do not want to leave their district since the provisional assignments are in more challenging districts and in schools of deep poverty with low academic achievement and high teacher turnover. Finally, many of the ATRs live and taught in their district and are now being forced to travel a hour or more to another district with a different culture, "a stranger in a strange land". Yet, our disconnected union leadership didn't bother to discuss the issue with the affected members.
While I have the up most respect for Amy Arundell, who has helped many of the members throughout the years, the latest being a fellow blogger from the Bronx, her response to Norm Scott is just the typical union spin when the truth is that most ATRs would not take a provisional position outside their district and results in few, if any, veteran ATRs (10 years or more) obtaining a permanent position. Instead it adds to the hardship to the life of most ATRs. To read more about the ATR's lack of mutual acceptance, see my post Here.
Union's position on using "junk science":
In the last DA the union leadership reiterated their support of using student test scores in teacher evaluations, (see the Ice blog) claiming the only alternative was 100% Principal observations. While I understand that there are too many principals (especially those from the infamous Leadership Academy) who do not like to collaborate with their teaching staff and giving them all the power to evaluate teachers is a problem, the use of "junk science", which will be 50% of a teacher's grade is just as wrong, if not more so.
Under the old "S" and "U" system at least, the Principal would have to prove to the 3020-a independent arbitrator that the teacher was incompetent and few teachers were actually terminated since the "burden of proof" was on the DOE and it was extremely difficult to prove the incompetence. However, in the new "ineffective" system the "burden of proof" shifts to the teacher and unless they are part of the lucky 30%, they are as good as terminated.
The union spin is that there were only 700 double "ineffectives", compared to 2,000 consecutive "U" ratings. However, how many of the 2,000 "U" rated teachers were actually terminated? I bet it was less that the 700 "ineffectives" who where and will be terminated is almost a surety.
Don't believe the union spin, its all about what's best for them and not what's best for their members.