Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, December 20, 2012

On Mulgrew's Evaluation Letter

James Eterno at ICEUFT posted this letter that UFT President Mulgrew sent to Chancellor Walcott:

The letter below was sent to the Department of Education by UFT President Michael Mulgrew. It describes
the conditions necessary for there to be any future meetings between the UFT and DOE regarding 
development and implementation for a new evaluation system.
Dear Chancellor Walcott,
The Department of Education’s demonstrated inability to manage the school system correctly has led us to
have serious concerns about getting anything constructive done with you. Two and half years ago the state
decided to change this year’s standardized tests to the Common Core standards and since then you have
done nothing to create a curriculum based on the Common Core. You have now left teachers in a 
horrendous situation where they are scrambling to try to get material appropriate for these new tests to
teach their children.
Inevitably, this will lead to a drop in standardized test scores — which I know once again you will try to
blame on the teachers because you will not take responsibility for your incompetence. Despite all of this
and many other examples, the teachers in our schools have worked through Hurricane Sandy and many
other challenges to serve the children in our care, even as the union has continued to try to negotiate a
new evaluation system.
We were recently informed by our members in the schools that you have launched a new program, the
Teacher Effectiveness Intensive Three Week Cycle, without any planning or proper training for the schools.
Charlotte Danielson’s rubric requires intensive training in order for it to be used correctly, but you have
refused to certify or intensely train people so that they can properly use this tool. Your decision to launch this
new program without a plan that would lead to its successful implementation is mind-boggling to us.
Given this history, at this time we will only meet with you to discuss a planning and roll-out process 
for the new evaluation system — in case we ever get to such an agreement. We understand that 
an evaluation system that will create a constructive practice in each school that will enhance
instruction and benefit our
over 1.1 million students is a critical opportunity. An evaluation system that will change the culture of 
our schools is something that the UFT has been working on for over three years. 
We hope that you will not be party to wasting such an important opportunity. We await your 
communication to set up such a meeting on the planning and roll-out process for the benefit
of our children and our schools.
Michael Mulgrew
Michael Mulgrew
UFT President
 Here's my take on the letter:

This means there will be no deal by the fake December 21st Mayan/Walcott deadline.

It does not mean there will be no deal.

Before January 17 (the actual deadline), Governor Cuomo will parachute in and "negotiate" something between the aggrieved parties.

Perhaps Bloomberg will not get everything he wants in that kind of agreement, but you can bet it will weigh more heavily in his favor than ours.

And then the UFT leadership can deflect blame onto Cuomo and claim they did all they could to protect us but it was out of their hands,

Ironically, Mulgrew (or whoever wrote Mulgrew's letter) gets two of the main problems many teachers I speak to have about the new evaluation system:

1. The new "tougher" Common Core tests are being given the same year the new "more rigorous" evaluation process based on test scores goes into place - and yet they aren't cutting anybody any slack for that but fully intend to "i" rate as many as they can this very year.

2. The Danielson rubric is a horror show that can be used to "i" rate just about anybody, given the complexity and scope of the checklists contained therein.

How rare to see the leadership actually understand and address the concerns of the membership.

Of course it's not just Bloomberg who is fully committed to going full speed ahead on teacher evaluations this year with all the unpiloted and half-baked nonsense that's been added - NYSED Commissioner King and Regents Chancellor Tisch are also fully committed to this as well.

It seems pretty clear that the political and education establishments in both the city and the state are looking to implement the most harmful, damaging teacher evaluation system possible regardless of the consequences to students, teachers or schools.

How else do you explain their refusal to pilot this stuff or grandfather components in so that teachers don't feel the system is rigged against them?

It's a pity the geniuses at the UFT and the NYSUT didn't think about this stuff beforehand, but they tend to be a reactive rather than proactive bunch, so now we are living with the consequences of their actions.

As always, I hope to be wrong about this - I hope Mulgrew holds fast to no agreement throughout the Bloomberg year+ and negotiates a fair agreement with whoever replaces the Mayor of Money - one that is not rigged to "i" rate as many teachers as possible.

But the UFT has not shown the willingness to hold out for that, nor have they taken to the airwaves to explain their positions to the public.

So I fully expect a sell-out before the January 17 deadline.

Again, hope I'm wrong.

Seriously, nothing would make me happier.

But you'll never go broke betting heavily that the UFT (and indeed, the AFT) leadership will sell out its members time and time again for political expediency or just for the hell of it.


  1. Mulgrew always, always "telegraphs" ahead his next move and public communications to Walcott. If you don't believe me, just ask any DOE party hack. So, this letter is only another part of their carefully choreographed negotiation process. It is sort of like aprofessional wrestling match. Everything is planned so noone gets hurt. Is there any one out there on thew eb gullible enough to think that Walcatt will demand that Mulgrew retract his slander of "incompetent" or face a defamation?. Not likely! Much to my dismay, Mulgrew seems willing to negotiate with the DOE and work towards a more balanced agreement. This is a tragic blunder since the DOE is always unreliable, the DOE has violated previous agreements such as the CFE legal settlement, the DOE fails to give public notice about school closings, the DOE fails to protect the safety of children in buildings that have mold or toxic lighting or toxic asbestos....There is no rhyme or reason to negotiate with the corrupt DOE regime. The DOE/Bloomberg are not and have not negotiated in good faith with the UFT towards a new contract. The DOE/Bloomberg have not followed pattern bargaining with the UFT which is a form of specific pay discrimination. But they have demanded more and more give backs. It is what is. The DOE is unreliable. The UFT leadership is corrupt and speaks with a forked tongue. But, our union contract is protected by the Triborough Amendment. The UFT does not have to agree to a change in the evaluation system outside of a new negotiated contract. IF not the case, let the lawyers fight it out. The UFT should win that case. Mulgrew,why would you negotiate at all? unless you are all about selling us out at the real deadline of January 17, 2013. Maybe it just takes an incompetent UFT president to defame and incompetent Chancellor Walcott. Aren't they both poodles of the same worst of breed?

  2. Such true words! There is NOTHING in the law that says individual school districts must agree to a new evaluation system. Of course school districts will "loose" money for more evaluation nonsense, but who cares? Bottom line, school districts and the teacher unions have the cards in their hands on this. Stay strong and stay true. There is way to much at stake here to agree to a sell out. We don't need the money and we don;t need the evaluations.