Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Here Comes The UFT Sell-Out On Evaluations

Warning, warning:

After weeks of name-calling and finger-pointing, the city and the teachers union are returning to the bargaining table on Wednesday to hammer out a new deal over teacher evaluations.

The two sides have until Jan. 17 to reach an agreement or risk losing $250 million in state aid, but they haven’t met since talks stalled before Christmas.

“We have a significant amount of time blocked for the remainder of this week and next week to have discussions on issues that we both feel are important,” said schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

“The major thing is that we both agree that we need to sit down and devote a significant amount of time to having fruitful discussions and work out the remaining issues — not just for the money, but for the benefit of our students and our teachers.”

I was waiting for this announcement.
Mulgrew said he wouldn't negotiate again until there were discussions about roll-out, about how APPR would be implemented.

As far as we can tell publicly, there have been no negotiations or discussions about that.

But the merry men and women with the double pensions at the UFT are back to negotiating an evaluation system with the DOE with 8 days to go until Cuomo's evaluation cliff deadline.

I fully expect the UFT to cave to a bad deal by January 17 -  a deal that will use the junk science known as VAM (87% maximum margin of error!) to evaluate teachers based upon test scores, that will use a 57 page rubric that is so complex that no one will ever be rated "effective" with it, that will require a Student Learning Objectives process that will essentially be unworkable.

There are certainly cases where applying objective measures badly is worse than not applying them at all, and education may well be one of those.

In my job out of college as a consultant, one of my projects involved visiting public school classrooms in Ohio and talking to teachers, and their view was very much that teaching-to-the-test was constraining them in some unhelpful ways.

But this is another topic that requires a book- or thesis-length treatment to really evaluate properly.

Maybe I'll write a book on it someday.

The UFT, which happily helped develop the APPR teacher evaluation system based upon junk science, is about to do just that - allow a system that applies so-called objective measures badly.

As NYCDOEnuts pointed out last week, this system is their baby - the UFT and the NYSUT were in on the development of it.

Mulgrew and Iannuzi stood on stage with Cuomo, Tisch, and King when this deal was announced last February.

They aren't interested in actually fighting this system - or even the roll-out of it.

They're interested in making it look to members as if they're fighting this system and the roll-out of it.

This is about internal union politics and the boys and girls in the leadership keeping their double pensions and perks and privileges.

So I fully expect some last minute deal with Mulgrew and the leadership caving to almost everything Bloomberg wants, then sending out their soulless Unity minions to sell the deal as the "best we can do in such a challenging environment."

I have an alternative - make the environment less challenging by telling people all the problems this APPR system is going to bring.

Tell them how students will have to take tests all the year through, in every grade in every subject, not to gauge their progress but simply to evaluate their teachers.

Tell them how these test scores will be run through a value added measurement algorithm with a median margin of error of 52% and a maximum margin of error of 87% and used to bludgeon teachers as "ineffective."

Tell them about the 57 page Danielson observation rubric that is so complex that Danielson herself couldn't get rated "effective" on it.

Tell them about the Student Learning Objectives that will be supposedly be used as an "objective" measure of teacher performance but will be anything but.

That's what the UFT ought to be doing - telling parents and the public just how harmful this system is, how it has been developed not to improve schools but simply to "prove" schools are "failing" and teachers are "bad".

Instead the UFT leadership fights a phony fight, wrestling-style, made to look real, but that is, in the end, nothing more than a sham.

As always, hope to be wrong about a sell-out on evaluations.

But I doubt I will be.

If I am, I happily will say I was wrong and will give Mike and his merry men and women credit for standing up to the deform movement.

But since Mike and his merry men and women were in at the development of the APPR system in the first place, it's hard to see how that happens.

1 comment:

  1. The UFT is going to sell out and throw its members under the bus. Where did the 40% for test results come from? Why not 35% or 60% or 2%? What about the 87% maximum margin of error in the VAM.

    This evaluation system is the equivalent of handing an assault rifle to a toxic DOE for the purpose of firing teachers. There is no way the UFT should even be in talks on an evaluation system outside of contract talks. What an unbelievable betrayal of its members!

    Ka-ching, Ka-ching..... you can already hear the cash register ringing as Mulgrew walks away with his multi-million dollar job working for education reform.