Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Walcott's Threats To Fire Guidance Counselors And Social Workers, Cut Programs "Unconscionable"

Chancellor Walcott threatened layoffs and program cuts unless the UFT agrees to the evaluation system he wants by December 21.

That includes cancelling after school programs and shedding guidance counselors and social workers from the DOE payroll. 

David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center, responded to Walcott's threat at a rally in front of City Hall today for increased funding for schools:

“At the same time that the state has walked away from its obligation to fairly fund the poorest schools in our state,” said Sciarra, “to then turn around and use the threat of withholding funding for those very same programs that kids need, frankly, is unconscionable.”

You can be sure the media parrot heads at the News and the Death Photo Post will back Walcott on this and begin ratcheting up the message that the UFT's refusal to agree to Walcott's evaluation system is bringing about massive cuts and firings.

But that charge is false.

Dennis Walcott and his boss, Michael Bloomberg, have decided to play chicken with the UFT and refuse to agree to a reasonable, workable evaluation system.  They want a test-heavy system that will have teachers subjected to having 40% of their evaluations based upon test scores - 20% from state test scores, 20% from city test scores.  They want tests added to every subject in every grade, 3-12, so that every teacher will teach a subject and a grade that is tested.  They want to use a value-added formula similar to the piece of crap they used for the Teacher Data Reports - you know, the one with the 52% median margin of error, the 87% maximum margin of error.  And they want to begin firing teachers as soon as they come up "I-rated" as part of this unfair, unscientific and damaging system.

I am of the opinion that the UFT leadership, having already caved to the governor last February on this crap, will cave to Chancellor Walcott come late December.

What they ought to be doing is framing the issue exactly the way NYC Educator framed the issue here - the UFT wants a fair, rigorous evaluation of teachers, not a system that is rigged, inaccurate and baseless.

Unfortunately they've been letting Walcott and the corporate reform-friendly editorialists frame the issue for them.

So I suspect they will come to the membership in a couple of weeks and say "Gee, we wanted to hold out for a better system, but we were getting killed in the papers and we just couldn't allow Walcott and Bloomberg to put through these cuts, so welcome to APPRville."

What is truly unconscionable is that NYC teachers will soon be subject to a test score-based evaluation that will be error-riddled, is characterized by wide swings in stability and ultimately will tar every teacher in the city as "ineffective" if they hang around long enough.

Why would anybody in their right mind, any "good teacher," want to stick around and subject themselves to such a system?

Why would any "good teacher" want to teach in the toughest schools with the kids who need good teachers the most when they know it will mean a "I-rating" and a loss of employment in a few years?

Walcott is bullying the UFT and teachers right now with his threats, but once this system is in place, the real victims of the bullying will be NYC students as they watch their teachers subjected to this inaccurate, error-riddled evaluation system and either leave for better things or get "I-rated" out of the teaching profession.


  1. If Mulgrew sells us out with a back room, crappy evaluation system that was never agreed to by the rank an file, 3 things will happen: 1) Mulgrew WILL be voted out of office in the spring. 2) Teachers will quit in droves, 3) Teachers will be fired in droves. Bottom line-Teaching in NYC will no longer be considered a profession and will consist of a constant door of cheap TFAer's who leave every 2 years. The parents of NYC will be pissed and eventually the public will actually "demand" that their schools bring back experienced teachers who want to actually stay in the schools that they teach in. The problem with all this is that it will take years and years to fix.

  2. I agree with #3. Teachers will be fired in droves. I doubt #1 will happen. Dunno about #2. But APPR will have to be in place for a while before most of the rank and file see how badly Mulgrew sold us out and decide they want to get rid of him. And even then, Unity will probably just add more retirees to the voting ranks and engineer a way to stay in power.