Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, January 7, 2013

UFT Leadership Channels E4E

I knew that lame UFT ad they're running on teacher evaluations sounded familiar.

MOREcaucusNYC points out why:

Here’s the text of the video that the Unity Caucus of the UFT is airing on local television stations about the new teacher evaluation system:

Across the country — from Los Angeles to Newark to Washington — many districts have successfully negotiated new evaluation measures. There is simply no reason New York cannot do the same for its teachers. There is simply no reason that a city that has been at the leading edge on so many other things can’t lead on this.

It’s time…to put politics aside and agree to a fair evaluation system that gives teachers the support they need to help kids succeed. That’s the way to move our schools and our city forward.

In truth, only the second paragraph comes from the UFT video. The first? It’s part of a recent piece in the NY Daily News written by a member of Educator4Excellence, an astroturf ed reform group funded by hedge fund billionaires and Bill Gates. This same group has called for the end of seniority rights, tenure, and the current salary structure.

They then go on to point out all the problems with the APPR system:

  • At least 20% of the evaluation, and perhaps as much as 40%,would be based on student test scores. These “value-added” test scores vary wildly from year to year, and teachers who rank highly one year often finish in the bottom the next year. There is a margin of error of almost 60% in a single year using the VAM methodology, and at least 90% year over year. These tests were designed to measure student performance, not teacher effectiveness. Nevertheless, your career will hinge on them.
  • A teacher who fares poorly on the 40% of the evaluation that includes VAM test scores cannot be rated effective, regardless of how effective he or she is deemed to be by administrator evaluations.
  • The remaining 60% of the evaluation would be based on principal evaluations and other measures. In NYC, evaluations would likely be conducted using the Danielson Framework, a 57 page rubric that contains so many elements that it would be impossible for a teacher to be ranked effective on all of them in a single teaching period, or even over multiple observations.
  • A teacher rated ineffective two years consecutively will be subject to an expedited 3020a hearing within 60 days and to termination should the charges be upheld. Under the current system, the city must prove a teacher incompetent. The new evaluation system would require a teacher to prove his or her competence or face termination. How a teacher would establish competence has not been discussed publicly.
  • If your ineffective rating stems from principal harassment, your odds of getting a fair hearing are slim. Only 13% of cases may be selected for review, and the union gets to decide who gets a hearing. The other 87% of teachers will have to take their chances.
  • Tenure will effectively be a thing of the past, as two negative evaluations will mean termination, regardless of how many years of excellent service you have rendered to the city.

Here's the clicker that really gets to the difference between MORE and the current UFT (and for that matter, NYSUT and AFT) leaderships:

MORE is tired of the current leadership surrendering our rights. We oppose the collaboration and capitulation that has led to this volatile situation. It’s time for us, as a powerful and united force, to oppose the agenda of the ed reform movement.

To be clear, MORE opposes ANY teacher evaluations based on standardized test scores and faulty value added measurements.

Now I am still of the opinion that Mulgrew and his merry men and women plan on selling us out in a deal very, very soon.

As always, I hope to be wrong about that.

But as NYCDOEnuts pointed out yesterday, this is their legislation - they helped develop this system, they stood on stage with Cuomo and Tisch and King when the January 17 deadline for coming to a local agreement on it was made.

No wonder they can't actually criticize this garbage or fight to kill it - they helped bring it to fruition.

In addition, the UFT leadership has never been very good at standing up to media or political pressure.

As the pressure ratchets up, they will get closer and closer to caving.

And maybe that's exactly what we need for many of the rank and file to see what a morally and intellectually bankrupt entity the current UFT leadership is.

Maybe we have to hit bottom in the school system with this APPR fiasco and deal with thousands of "U" rated teachers losing their jobs before UFT members realize that the current leadership is bereft of ideas and new leadership is needed.

Chicago teachers had many years of dealing with the worst excesses of ed deform before CTU was voted in.

The same may have to happen here.

But the groundwork has already been laid for where to place the blame for APPR.

This is Mulgrew's baby, this is Weingarten's baby, this is Ianuzzi's baby.

I have already seen younger teachers and people who usually are apolitical about things in my school get very angry over the current course of ed deform in the system - the daily meetings, the forced common rubrics, the forced common assessments, the forced monthly instructional rounds and all the other deforms pushed by Tweed.

Just wait until APPR, with the 57 page observation rubric and the evals based on test scores and the Student Learning Objective process that will be unworkable, comes into being.

I get the sense that the arrogant people in the leadership think nothing can ever happen to them, that so long as they continue to finagle and manipulate their power, all will be well for them.

But there is a lot of anger out there these days, much of it from people who used to not get angry at this sort of stuff.

When Mulgrew and the UFT leadership sells us out on APPR, many are going to blame them for this - as they should.

The UFT leadership refuses to stand up for an education system not based upon standardized testing, test scores and FEAR.

MORE does.

That won't matter much in this election cycle.

But it may in the distant future.


  1. Love the analysis - right on. MORE needs to have time to build out an organizational structure that can challenge the Unity outreach to most schools. My guess is some form of active person promoting MORE and countering Unity in 1/3 of the schools begins to be a game changer. At the last DA MORE could announce a relatively low number of schools endorsing the call for a vote on any eval deal. Show me 300 schools and it become a serious challenge for Unity given that each school might have a local area outreach which could spread to the neighbors -- but organizers are needed to do this kind of work. Maybe it will take Chicago style firings to create the same culture that got so many people out so fast after CORE formed. They seemed to have about 100-150 core organizers and that was enough to take the union.
    And as my Chicago pals point out we a)have a massive area to cover (Chi is like Brooklyn) and 2) Unity is much more adept at dancing and shaking than the old Chi ldrshp. And with a lot more money (though loses in membership as charters grow and debts may hamper them). Hope I'm still alive to see something happen.

  2. The purpose of the Danielson Evaluation system and the VAM methodolgy is to bring on a complicated, difficult to understand rubric with an unreliable VAM methodology in order to fire a large number of teachers. The UFT knows this is what the DOE wants to do. Yet, the UFT knows that Bloomberg has less than one year left. The UFT also knows that the current contract remains in place until there is a new contract because of the Triborough Amendment. The UFT does not have any justification for making a deal
    on a new evaluation system. The UFT is not interested in finding out what the rank and file members think about this issue because the UFT is preparing to make a deal and throw its members under the bus.

  3. Latest UFT Mantra: Only 9 years left until Lhota is gone. Let's wait him out.

  4. Yes, the analysis is great.

    What isnt so great is that there are just 3 commenters thus far, showing support to this 5-day-old post, with me being the 3rd. Out of how many city teachers who will be impacted by this major deform?

    And it is like this on a lot of kindred spirit local educator blogs, which I am so glad exist!

    Showing me we still have a LOT of work to do.

    (Still waiting for a lot of heads to pop out of the sand)