Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Take On The UFT Call For PERB Mediation In The Evaluation Fight

From the UFT website:

UFT President Michael Mulgrew issued the following statement:
Today [Jan. 15] the UFT was informed by the mediator appointed by the state’s Public Employment Relations Board that the city and the Department of Education have refused to take part in mediation designed to help us reach an agreement on a new model for teacher evaluations.

In recent days, thanks to virtually round-the-clock bargaining, we have made progress, but important and difficult issues remain. The city’s blind rejection of outside help in resolving these remaining issues is unexplainable, and poses a serious threat to our ability to reach an agreement before Thursday’s deadline.

Ah, what to make of this?

NYCDOEnuts thinks it's a head fake, that the deal is actually done and this is just more theater to make it look like the UFT fought hard before caving in to a bad deal.

I'm not so sure about that.

It looks to me like the city is not giving any ground in negotiations, not giving Mulgrew any face-saving concessions and is saying "Take what we are offering or don't take it, it's your choice, but we're not changing our stance no matter what you do.  It's a take it or leave it offer..."

This puts Mulgrew between a rock and a hard place.

APPR is partly his baby, he stood up on stage with Cuomo, Tisch, King and Ianuzzi last February after the governor successfully throttled the NYSUT/UFT lawsuit against the Regents/NYSED for changing the APPR test component system in violation of the Race to the Top legislation.

It's hard for him to head one of the few districts in the state that doesn't have an agreement, especially when he sent Leo Casey out to attack any naysayers about APPR last February and smiled over it with Cuomo, Tisch, and King.

And yet, it's also an election year and if he says yes to a destructive system, he's going to pay a heavy price both this year and the next time elections come around - especially if the DOE uses APPR to fire thousands of teachers as we all suspect they will.

He won't lose the election this time around, or even come close to losing, but a bad eval agreement could cause him some grief down the road.

So he seems to be laying down some markers, making some moves that allows him to push back against the city if a deal is not reached and say "Hey, we tried, but the DOE didn't want to meet us in mediation."

Whatever the city wants, it must be really, really bad for Mulgrew not to be able to agree to it.

I suspect he caves anyway and hopes he can bluster his way out of the inevitable backlash he gets once the rank and file get a true understanding of how bad this sell-out is.

But as I've told you before, I'm a cynic when it comes to Mulgrew, Weingarten and the AFT/UFT.

I always expect the worst out of them and usually I am unhappily rewarded with just that.

Of course I could be completely wrong about all of this and NYCDOEnuts could be right - maybe this is all just theater from the UFT to make it look like they're fighting the DOE tooth and nail and the agreement is already etched and notarized, just waiting some big wig signatures.

One thing I do know - if the bus union goes out on strike tomorrow, that really makes the whole Race to the Cuomo Evaluation Deadline even more chaotic a thing to watch.

Interesting times...


  1. Hmmm, I have been around the corner a few times with these folks and as I see it the little dictator is the fly in the ointment. Weingarten and Christie have kissed and made the deal in Newark and I cannot see a situation where Cuomo will allow Christie to out do him in the education arena. So, it must be Bloomberg who has decided to take a tea party like stance against all who oppose his swan song. The bus strike? uft evaluations? the nra? That is my take and Mulgrew you can bet is burning up the e mails and phones with Randi. But, I believe the mayor is even telling Cuomo where to get off on this issue.

  2. I guess it'd be nice if I were wrong, but I think the union has a real motivation to sow confusion like this here. They need to make sure there isn't a lot of time between the announcement of the deal and the DA vote. Otherwise, there may be enough time for real opposition from a vast amount of members. I don't think that's something they can do. At worst? I think the union threw a few new items on the table at the last minute to cause this sideshow, and will take them off the table sometime tomorrow so that a deal can be announced.

    1. I agree with you, NYCDOEnuts, I think the union does have real motivation to sow confusion and make it look like they're really fighting the DOE tooth and nail. It's hard to know what they're doing here, but I suspect the PERB move was as much about p.r. as anything else just in case they don't come to an agreement. The cynic in me says you're right, however, and this is all just theater and the deal is done. I just have seen these guys operate way too much to not be cynical about them or their motivations. But we'll see what happens...

    2. We will. Certainly interesting times.

  3. The basic fact that the UFT is trying to make a deal with the DOE at all is a very bad indication of the next humiliating defeat. Whenever a deal is made, it will be be harmful to all teachers because the DOE will misuse testing to fire and humiliate teachers.

  4. Here is my take: No matter what "agreement" is made between the DOE and the UFT the Delegate Assembly has the final say on this. (Of course we all wish WE could vote on it, but that was shot down last month) My point is that if the DA agrees to this, every single chapter rep/delegate has 100% of the blame resting on his or her shoulders. I urge every teacher in NYC to make sure that their chapter rep/delegate shows up on Thursday to vote down any new evaluation deal that is designed to destroy our careers. Lastly, if your chapter rep/delegate does not show up on Thursday and a new "deal" is made, you should personally hold your rep responsible for this nightmare.

  5. The sad reality is that ANY APPR is going to be bad for teachers. The pushback that you hear about in Hamburg NY is only a minor bit of language and a deal will be struck any minute. SAME with NYC. You WILL have an APPR, all the blogging about Mulgrew by teachers is incidental. Nothing but a mass action will help at this point. And that will never happen. Many/most teachers do not understand the APPR, it's impact and it's extent. SAD.

  6. If the PERB won't mediate, then this evaluation bargain is not within the framework of a collective bargaining agreement. The UFT could walk away from the table and not not violate collective bargaining law. But, the UFT leadership is easily intimidated by Cuomo, Bloomberg and other wealthy intimidators.Simultaneously Mulgrew is tortured by visions of power and prosperity that will be his for a clever betrayal of his union's membership. So, sadly, Mulgrew speaks with a forked tongue as he waffles back into his milquetoast persona. We, the rank and file, must make Mulgrew persona non grata!

  7. ....tough call...the corporate jet...or ....nothing...?

  8. From a Unity person:

    Under the new plan, it it goes into effect, every teacher who receives an ineffective rating will receive a teacher improvement plan and an independent evaluator unconnected to the DOE or UFT who will visit their class 3x the following year. If that evaluator challenges the principal's findings of the previous year, the DOE will have a very difficult time moving to 3020A. The burden of proof is still on the DOE to find that teacher ineffective. If the evaluator agrees with the principal that the teacher is ineffective, they will have an easier time moving to 3020A.

    As far as 13% of ratings being appealed, that number is based on the estimate of U ratings given over the years that have been unfairly given because of union activity and harassment cases where it was clear the teacher deserved an S but the principal wielded his/her subjective power over the rating. I will find out, but it is my understanding that members would still be able to appeal ratings, but I assume a committee will be formed, much like the current grievance committee which decides which grievances go on to step 2 or arbitration. This committee would then decide which appeals move forward. Again, this is my understanding but I will seek direct confirmation.

    Each part of the evaluation (observations, state tests and local tests) yield a certain point value. A teacher who receives a 0-64 would be rated ineffective. This has already been written into the law and cannot be changed. The current negotiations involve everything else including how local assessments will be created and how all of this will be determined by license, grade level, ELL or IEP students, etc.

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