Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The PERB Complaint: Nothing To See Here, Folks

The Post and Gotham Charter Schools have stories up tonight about how the NYCDOE has filed a complaint against the UFT with the PERB board for failure to negotiate in good faith over the evaluation system.

The Post article is most succinct:

The teachers’ union has refused to sign a long-awaited agreement with the city on a new teacher evaluation system unless it gets a guarantee of wage increases in the next contract, Department of Education officials charged today.

They claim the union also sought to derail talks on the rating system, which started in April, by mandating that the city confirm how many schools it will close next year first, according to a complaint filed by the DOE.

Gotham Charter Schools got an interview with UFT President Mulgrew:

 Mulgrew said the complaint’s characterization of the union as recalcitrant was inaccurate and risible.

“I’m kind of laughing at it, to tell you the truth,” he said in an interview. “‘We will be happy to meet with you [to discuss implementation]. We await your communication.’ That’s the last communication we’ve had with them on this. … I’m sitting in my office, and the DOE has not called.”

The PERB complaint won't be heard in time to meet the governor's fiscal cliff deadline of January 17 for all evaluation systems to be agreed upon in all districts.

Mulgrew told Gotham Charter Schools the NYCDOE complaint is "just a publicity stunt" and he's right about that.

But I wonder just who's behind the stunt.

As Accountable Talk noted tonight, Mulgrew is not demanding a new contract and salary increases in exchange for the evaluation system - he's demanding the promise of salary increases in the form of some guarantee, whatever that is.

If I remember correctly, Randi Weingarten got a guarantee from Chris Cerf when she was making the Teacher Data Report agreement with him that the TDR's would never be published in the media.

The NYCDOE promptly broke that "promise" a few years later, claiming Cerf was no longer employed by the DOE, the promise no longer held and nothing was more important than releasing the TDRs with the 87% margins of error to reporters.

So you can see how far DOE promises go - about as far as 50 cents at Starbucks.

You can see, too, how useless it would be for Mulgrew to fight to get a promise of salary increases in exchange for the evaluation agreement.

But it is certainly in the interest of Mr. Mulgrew and his Unity hacks to get the story out there that they're holding out for more money, for a list of school closures and other so-called tough stances that actually have nothing to do with evaluation process.

Perhaps they think that will assuage the UFT rank and file when Cuomo finally comes in and forces a deal before the January 17 deadline.

They may be right about that.

But if they were really looking to stand up for the rank and file, they would be telling the public how damaging the new evaluation system is, with its 57 page observation rubric and test score-based component with large margins of error and wide swings in stability, not making believe like they're holding out for money before they sign away the future.

They would also be telling the public just how badly this kind of evaluation system is working in the two states that have already instituted it, Tennessee and Florida, and calling for a redo of the RttT law before NY State follows suit.

But they're not doing any of that.

No, sir - they're letting Bloomberg, the DOE and the education reformers frame the issue for the public in the media and then playing games and delaying tactics to make it look like they're fighting for the membership.

In other words, it's business as usual at 52 Broadway, and I'm tired of that business.

I bet you are too.

I bet you want MORE than business as usual.

I bet you want a union that does the job of informing the public exactly how damaging these education reform policies are and how they're meant to be damaging in the first place.

Well, you won't get that kind of union from Mike Mulgrew and his merry men and women at 52 Broadway.

Instead you'll get games and promises that ultimately end with the reformers getting their way on almost everything they want.

In the end, this PERB complaint and the alleged tough stances the NYCDOE is claiming the UFT has taken in the evaluation fight feel more like diversionary tactics than any real indication that Mulgrew and Company have really seen the light and are going to fight a coherent, strategic battle against this damaging APPR system and the corporate education reform movement.

There's nothing to see here, folks.

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