Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, June 29, 2012

How Will The UFT Pull Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory?

I am very happy that the UFT won its arbitration case against the NYCDOE over the turnaround firings.

Still, I feel unsettled.

We have seen the UFT "win" rulings over school closures before, then fail to follow up their "victories" by ensuring that the schools the NYCDOE had targeted for closure are given the support they need.

Ultimately this is only a UFT "victory" if the union leadership decides to a) force the DOE to provide the appropriate support and resources needed for staff and students at these schools and b) fights the NYCDOE every step of the way if and when they try and sabotage these schools and the teachers working in them.

One final thing: this is still a "loss" if the UFT agrees to a system-wide teacher evaluation system that enshrines dozens of "local assessments" all throughout the year as part of the "local" portion of the Cuomo evaluation system.

Remember, the reason Bloomberg targeted these schools in the first place was because the UFT wouldn't give him everything he wanted on the evaluation system late last calendar year.

If the UFT decides to cave on that fight and allows the NYCDOE to put some onerous and odious evaluation system that requires dozens of "local assessments" into place on top of the new state tests that are coming as part of the Common Core jive, then this will be a short-lived UFT "victory," since many of the teachers at these schools will end up fired with "I" ratings in a couple of years.

As will many of the rest of us.

That's what this fight has always been about and I wish I could say that I have confidence that the UFT leadership isn't about to win this battle over the turnaround firings and still lose the entire war over the evaluations.

But eleven years as a UFT member has taught me to never underestimate the UFT's ability to sell members down the river and pull defeat from the jaws of victory - time after time after time.


  1. You "hit the nail on the head." I predict a disaster for these schools in September. A phase out vote will follow early next year, and there will be very little opposition from the UFT.

  2. The phrase "new evaluation system" sends a shiver down my spine. it's going to be ugly. I totally agree with you that the union will know how to turn this victory into a major loss for teachers. I'm glad I'm not young anymore.

  3. I have a different opinion as to why the DOE pulled out of the eval agreements for these schools. At the end of the day, I don't think the city wants these evaluations to kick in. Remember, it was Walcott who went up to Albany to ask that the law be scrapped and it was the union who went out to defend the merits of the APPR on Edwize. In fact, I think the turnaround play shows just how desperate the city is to avoid agreeing to this system (remember, no capricious U ratings once this starts).
    At the end of the day, I think the union really wants a million 'local' assessments to count as 20% because it means none of those assessments are high stakes for teachers all by itself (just like a lot of tests in our classrooms, or scholarship reports for HS teachers). for better or worse, I think that's their approach.
    The thing I'm concerned about is the UFT going back and telling the city they can have turnaround if there is a big fat contract for teachers. That would be a real betrayal and I, for one, wouldn't want money with that kind of blood on it.