Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Back In The Day: Cuomo, Mulgrew, Iannuzzi, King Announce APPR Deal

As we await news of the latest teacher evaluation reform in New York State, let's revisit February 2012 for another big announcement on teacher evaluations by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, former NYSED Commissioner John King, UFT President Michael Mulgrew and former NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi:

ALBANY — Student test scores and classroom observations will be used to assess New York educators under a new evaluation system announced Thursday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo heralded as a national model.

The agreement between state officials and union leaders ended two years of tense negotiations and put a court battle on hold.

With the clock ticking on a tight deadline, Cuomo and educational leaders on Thursday said they had broken through the major logjams standing in the way of the new teacher evaluation system — which would also bring in approximately $1 billion in federal funding over the next few years.

The move also strengthens the role of the state Education Department, which must approve the evaluation agreements developed by each of the state's 700 school districts.

"Today is a great day for the schools in the state of New York. Government works today," Cuomo said, as he was joined by Education Commissioner John King Jr. as well as Michael Mulgrew and Richard Iannuzzi, heads of the United Federation of Teachers and New York State United Teachers.
"Today's agreement is good for students and fair to teachers," Iannuzzi added.

To get the federal funding, the new evaluation system must be completed and implemented by year-end. Unions and management of local school districts, including the vast New York City system, had been at loggerheads over the weight to give student performance on standardized tests and the appeals process for teachers who receive the lowest rating.

With that in mind, Cuomo said he would impose his own system in his budget plan if unions and department officials couldn't agree by Thursday — which marks the deadline for the governor's 30-day amendments, or final touches, to his budget proposal for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
The announcement followed an all-night bargaining session in which the warring sides appeared to compromise on two key issues. The New York City-based UFT and State Education Department agreed on a plan for appealing evaluations in which teachers scored poorly and might face firing; and NYSUT and the state resolved differences over the so-called local test portion of the evaluation.
Under the plan, teachers are evaluated on a 100-point scale: 60 points are based on classroom observations and student portfolios; 20 points come from scores that students get on a standardized state test; and another 20 points come from tests developed by the district or a third party.

Much of the fighting between the labor leaders and state officials was sparked by Cuomo's last-minute push to allow student test scores to count for up to 40 percent of an evaluation. Districts have the option to use state tests for up to 40 percent of an evaluation, but it must be bargained with the union. NYSUT's Iannuzzi said the union would likely end the lawsuit it filed last spring over the increased weight given to state tests once the new evaluation system is finalized.

Additionally, the State Education Department will now have veto power over evaluations that are deemed insufficient. Unions and school districts will also develop a "curve" for the point system by which teachers and principals are rated. Educators will fall in one of four categories: ineffective, developing, effective and highly effective.

Those rated "ineffective" could be fired if they do not improve.

King down played the concerns of some school administrators that the evaluation system would add significant new work to the strained staffing at many schools. He said the new evaluation system will also "dramatically change" the jobs of many principals for the better, by putting them in the classrooms where they can offer constructive feedback to their staff.

"The role of the principal is to provide their teams with instructional leadership," he said. "Principals should be spending significant time in the classroom."

So far, about 100 school districts statewide have agreed on evaluation plans and another 250 are close.

Still, questions remain about how the State Education Department will regulate this new system and whether it has the capacity to review and approve them all by year's end.

"Whether they are going to be able to approve these new evaluations as efficiently as it was described here today, I'm a little bit suspicious," said Tim Kremer, executive director of the state School Boards Association.

And Iannuzzi stressed that the relationships between school districts and their unions will still be a key factor in whether the evaluation plans go smoothly.

"The ingredient you can't write in law is the ingredient of collaboration and trust" between unions and management, he said.

It's interesting to see how much has changed in three years.

Where three years ago they were touting principals as the drivers of observations and fonts of educational wisdom, in the latest iteration of New York State teacher evaluations as pushed by Governor Cuomo, the principal has been superseded by outside evaluators.

Back in February 2012, they said principals would be in classrooms "where they belong", offering "feedback" to their staffs.

In the latest iteration, outside observers will drive by on some unknown timetable to observe teachers they don't know in schools they've never been to in order to provide meaningful evaluations of teachers.

Yeah, that'll work great.

Want to bet we'll be re-doing APPR teacher evaluations in a year or two again when the plan they're working on now turns out to be a miserable failure.

The one constant you'll notice in all the iterations of evaluations in New York State is that the union leadership is always there on stage next to Cuomo for the sell-out announcement.

Bet whatever comes in the next day or so that some teacher union head will offer some variation on the Iannuzzi prouncement from back in the day:

"Today's agreement is good for students and fair to teachers," Iannuzzi added.

Because rhetoric about how good the sell-outs they negotiate never gets old or stale in the mouths of teachers union heads.


  1. Not always. It became pretty stale to Richard Iannuzzi as Mulgrew's Revive buds blamed the ex-NYSUT President for the system all of them had publicly supported and none of them had lifted a finger to stop. All over the state I heard it called the "Iannuzzi APPR."

    1. Here we are a year later and Karen Magee, the Iannuzzi replacement, is happy to have the Board of Regents mandate a new system.

      Faces may change but the spirit of sellout remains strong at NYSUT.

    2. Iannuzzi should get some credit for forcing Cuomo to agree to individually negotiated APPR agreements. Most of these local agreements were favorable to teachers. This is the main reason that 96% of teachers have rated effective or higher.

      In a perfect world, Iannuzzi, Mulgrew, and Weingarten should have openly and defiantly rejected any use of test scores to evaluate teachers. The political pressure from a popular (at the time) governor may have made this impossible.

      Karen Magee declared WAR on Cuomo's 2015 education agenda and then she brought a white flag to battleground. Nothing but a bunch of mealy-mouthed crapola came dribbling out of her mouth. Mulgrew even worse. How dare they pretenfd to fill the shoes of Albert Shanker.

    3. Shanker was just another power hungry top down unionist who created the rigged system of "democracy" that we have in our unions today. The system that gives all power to the few in charge and leaves the rank and file to be sold out.

    4. I agree that Cuomo, as a first term governor with as sky-high approval, had the upper hand back in 2012.

      Still, when union leaders use the same deformer frame for these issues as the reformers, it doesn't help matters.

      Putting forth a coherent critique of VAM, the state testing regime, etc. and a coherent explanation of how so-called student performance tracks income levels and thus was unfair to teachers would have been one strategy to deal with Cuomo and his deform agenda back in 2012.

      I don't recall them going that route.

    5. I agree, Brian.

      I took down my Shanker shrine a long time ago.

      Okay, actually, I never had one.

  2. Yes, we all get to smell the stench of another great victory, an enduring victory - one for the ages. We have achieved a lasting peace in out times. Our enemies are now are friends , ignorance is knowledge and war is peace. Thank you Mulgrew and let all teachers come together to celebrate this great victory!

    1. ” If you were fortunate enough right now to be standing over George Orwell’s grave in the sweet garden of the churchyard at Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, you would hear, piercing the roar of his revolving corpse, a plaintive, despairing voice crying out: “Bury me deeper. Now. Please.”