Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, January 17, 2013

On The "No Deal" (UPDATED)

First, let me preface my remarks by quoting something from the story in the NY Post about the lack of an agreement between the UFT and the DOE on teacher evaluations:

Despite the blowout, sources familiar with the negotiations did not rule out the possibility of an 11th-hour accord later tonight.

When the midnight deadline passes and the NYSED and the Regents issue statements saying that NYC did not make the deadline, that's when I'll believe that the VAM evaluation deal is dead.

Until then, let's operate under the assumption that while things look very bad for a deal right now, something schmutzy could happen before midnight to change that.

As for who is to "blame" for the lack of an agreement, Mulgrew says Bloomberg blew up the deal by refusing to give teachers a chance to meet with principals post-observation, Bloomberg says the UFT blew up the deal by insisting that it sunset in 2015.

All I know is that 90% of the evaluation deals in the state are one year deals, the UFT was giving the Little Colonel twice that and it wasn't enough for him.

It is quite clear that the only thing that was going to make Bloomberg happy in this deal was if he got to say that many teachers were going to be "I-Rated" and fired as a result.

That was what he wanted and if he didn't get it, he was going to take his ball, go home, and use his own media puppets and those of his corporate pals, Zuckerman and Murdoch, to bludgeon teachers for the next 11 months until the Bloomberg administration itself sunsets.

And so, barring some last minute deal, that's what we're going to have.

Beginning tonight, the corporate media is going to hammer the UFT and NYC teachers for the lack of the deal and back Bloomberg's push to lay off teachers to close a so-called "budget shortfall" that the mayor claims the city will have without the increase in state education aid.

Never mind that as Leonie Haimson points out here, the NYCDOE has been handing out contracts to companies under federal investigation for corruption - companies that have already stolen millions from the city.

The budget shortfall could be closed, or certainly minimized, if somebody just forced the Bloomberg administration to stop handing money out to crooks.

In any case, this loss of state aid will be depicted in the media as the fault of teachers and the schools are going to take the brunt of the budget assault Bloomberg is going to try and unleash.

I have some real problems with the way the union handled these negotiations, with the leadership's inability to articulate why VAM is voodoo and an evaluation system based upon high stakes standardized testing is damaging to students AND teachers.

But as the MORE people noted in their statement, we're going to have to close ranks for a bit and fight the onslaught that will come from Bloomberg, Cuomo (perhaps), and the corporate media, so I will save my critique of the UFT leadership for another day.

That Bloomberg is currently fighting with the school bus drivers and matrons certainly gives teachers some cover - it's not as if everything is rosy in the city that Bloomberg rules from his bullpen desk.

We'll have to see how this all plays out in the days, weeks and months to come.

I suspect things are going to get pretty rough in the short term.

But not as rough as they would have been if Bloomberg had been given the power to "I-Rate" thousands of teachers this year.

UPDATE - 8:30 PM: They're still negotiating, according to various Twitter feeds, but Beth Fertig tweeted that Mulgrew said the following:

's Mulgrew: "we are not interested in a sham offer. We would be open to a serious proposal" but says he hasn't yet heard 1 from

Also, have been told that Mulgrew gushed about some parts of the agreement at the DA tonight, saying teachers would love the growth model based upon test scores, as it would protect them against vindictive principals handing out "U-Ratings."


They're really looking to institutionalize high stakes testing and some kind of voodoo VAM and/or growth model as part of a negotiated evaluation system.


  1. "When we get there, that's when we made it". -Swan, THE WARRIORS

  2. Bloomberg blew it. I was at the DA, and there's no way they're going to reconvene it by midnight. Mulgrew received a note that the city wanted to talk while he was at the podium. But the fact is they do need the DA to vote on this, and Cuomo said he was not extending the deadline.

    Of course, I personally trust Cuomo about as far as I can throw him.

  3. For what little it's probably worth: Channel 1 did one of its snap polls on who was to blame for the failure to reach an agreement. The results: Bloomberg--54%, the UFT--19% and the remainder of votes--Both

    1. Thanks, I saw that. It's about as scientific as the APPR evaluation system, but I'll take it. That the bus drivers and matrons are on strike at the same time probably does not help Bloomberg in all of this.

  4. Mulgrew should have stood his ground and not signed onto the original eval deal (3012-c) in May 2010. Ever since he did that 180 on teacher evals, he has had to talk them up, which is really horrible.

    To be perfectly clear about how the law works, was it that it was to be enacted when the unions & districts worked out plans that used the main elements of the eval reforms? And when they dont agree to a plan, as in NYC's case, how does that line up or not line up with the law that is on the books?

    I need some clarification on this... anyone?

    1. The current evaluation system stays in place until a new system is agreed upon by the local district and the local union. Cuomo tried to force agreement by tying the 4% state aid increase to having an agreement in place. As far as I know, if the deadline passes tonight without agreement, we remain under the old system until the UFT and the city come to some new agreement. With the money off the table, I see no reason for the UFT to agree to anything, but apparently Mulgrew signaled he loves the idea of growth model evaluations based upon test scores at the DA tonight, so who know? Maybe the UFT will lose the money but sing on to an agreement later anyway!

      They suck, they really, really suck at the UFT and the AFT.

  5. Hey...Im reading all these blogs, and am with you....BUT, tonight...God Bless Michael Mulgrew...this is very important to many people...

  6. a spade a spade...Mulgrew comes up BIG with me...maybe there's still a little of Brooklyn in his soul...

  7. We will fight...if we have a LEADER...! Go Mulgrew...! For night Ive had in awhile...(working teacher)

  8. Reality, Looking forward to your post in terms of how you personally call it. Been follwing this issue for some time - happily surprised that it turned out the way it did.

  9. Mulgrew's willingness to continue to negotiate at this time is reprehensible. Mulgrew is just not willing to give up his pattern of pandering to Cuomo. Cuomo is Mulgrew's daddie. He has disconnected his grand ambitions from the extreme unfairness of evaluation driven by unreliable high stakes testing.

  10. Thanks for the reply, reality-based educator, but what I am trying to understand is:

    There is this awful law on the books (the one Iannuzzi and Mulgrew signed onto in 2010 (3012-c) that requires teachers have the 4-tiered ratings and 40% of the eval based on test gain. As well as the 2 years to "improve" or get the ax. Etc.

    Now, the consequence of being out of compliance with a law cannot be solely that some funds are withdrawn, can it? Yes, the law was enacted as part of the insane dash to win RTTT funds, but it is still a law, RTTT money or not.

    That is what troubles me. It is still a bad configuration (no matter how much Mulgrew talks it up) that teachers will be expected to conform to... I mean, that is what a law on the books means to me... So isnt this just a reprieve? Don't teachers still have this hanging over their heads, to be "worked out" eventually, but still necessitating the core elements of the law in whatever version is put forth?

    As for "sunset" - what does that mean? I mean, I know what it means, but doesnt the law itself have to sunset? If you try out a system to comply with a law and then that system sunsets without renewal, the law is still left standing. You still have to deal with that law itself, dont you?

    It seems to me you have to get rid of the law itself to be done with this insanity.

  11. That's funny that everyone else (90% of NY districts) got a one year sunset. That sure shows a lot of confidence in this bogus evaluation system! (And I thought Mulgrew was being bold when I heard he demanded 2 years!)

    So what happens after the sunset, if it's not agreed to for the next year? They all go crazy trying to rework and tweak what cannot be reworked into a sane eval system, for the next year, and then that doesnt work, and then mess around with it again...

    What a crazy vortex of crap this is!

  12. I don't think you, RBE (and MORE), should stop your very pointed and honest critique of the UFT, despite current negotiations. Keeping quiet and not letting the public and the UFT
    know how disconnected we feel from the union since their compliance with the deformers, has gotten us nowhere in the past four years. We
    do not need to be politically correct-- that's their tack. We need to keep getting out the truth.

    I hope you will continue to openly criticize the union on your blog, no matter what the politics at hand. It educates the uninformed and holds the union's feet to the fire. They have done what they have done to us precisely because we have supported them unconditionally way too long in all this.


  13. I fail to see what the grand preoccupation is with supervisory observations of teachers, followed by post-observation conferences, and then by observation reports.

    In some schools, there are even pre-observation conferences.

    Who seriously thinks that observation reports are of any value, whatsoever?