This came in an email as a suggestion for MORE to take up the cause and I think it should. But I wonder if the UFT which supports and vehemently defends the new evaluation system will be calling for a waiver.
It is now possible for states to request a waiver from teacher evaluations for the upcoming school year. Randi Weingarten and the AFT (parent body of the UFT) has asked for it and, in an astonishing about-face, Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education and the person responsible for tying federal funding to teacher evaluations, has followed with the offer of a one-year moratorium.
This makes sense! Many states have already applied for their waivers, but not New York. Cities and districts throughout the state need time to make their way through the incredibly complex process (over 200 pages in NYC) of implementing a teacher evaluation system. We need to rally behind Randi and the AFT. Unions upstate--NYSUT and Rochester, in particular--have been outspoken in their support for the moratorium. In fact, there's been a lot of agreement among many different interests that a moratorium is needed.
Now is the time to call on our union and help make the request for a waiver an issue. Speak to the mayoral candidates, let them know this matters to you. Let your colleagues and friends know that an option is there for the taking, and New York has not jumped on the chance to give our school systems the time they need to do this right.
The UFT and NYSUT leaderships have already sold us out on APPR and they're not going back on that sell-out.
Mulgrew and Iannuzzi stood on stage with Cuomo back in February 2012 to announce they were dropping a lawsuit against the state for increasing the state test component of the evaluation system - a lawsuit they had won in a lower court - and while Iannuzzi talks some about a moratorium, don't listen to what he says, watch what he does. As for Mulgrew, there's been no talk of a moratorium from the UFT on evaluations at all - instead we've gotten reams of email propaganda from Mulgrew about how wonderful and fair the new system is.
When both of these unions file a lawsuit against the APPR system for being poorly designed and fundamentally flawed, when they argue that good teachers are going to get hacked up and destroyed in this system because it is so badly designed and fundamentally flawed, when they stop talking about how wonderful the Danielson rubric is and instead point out the absurdity of using it in practice four to six times a year for every teacher, that's when you'll know they're serious about protecting their members and putting a stop to the abuse that is going to come with APPR.
So far, the UFT is all on board with this piece of garbage. They've spent more time attacking critics of the APPR system like Diane Ravitch and Carol Burris than acknowledging the flaws in the system that are going to lead to thousands of teachers getting "i-rated" next year.
Some have speculated that Mulgrew, whose sister helped run a company that made millions from business contracts with the DOE, may have family/financial reasons for selling his members down the river.
Michael Fiorillo has pointed out that the UFT and NYSUT leaderships have become co-partners with the NYSED and NYCDOE in the management system of employer/employee relations, with the unions playing the "good cops" to the NYSED's and NYCDOE's bad ones as they both lead us to a world with fewer work protections and less employment stability.
While the union heads often talk a good game and sometimes even take actions to make it look like they're fighting back against the powers that be, the overall trajectory of the last few years has been a downward spiral of power, prestige, work protections, benefits, and job autonomy for teachers.
Whatever words the union heads use and whatever small steps they take to "fight" the system have done little to mitigate the erosion of teachers' rights and protections.
You can bet the leaderships of both the state and local unions benefit from these circumstances or they wouldn't be happening.
Whether the corruption is as blatant as payoffs from the DOE to Mulgrew through his sister's education company or a little more nebulous - you help us bring your teachers to slaughter, we'll make sure you stay in power and keep sucking up those union salaries, double pensions, and other perks - the reality is that the union leaderships at both the UFT and the NYSUT have long ago sold us out on evaluations and they're not going to go back on that without an enormous amount of pressure coming from the memberships to force that.
With Mulgrew winning re-election handily through the corrupt UFT election process last May that saw more retirees vote than current members, you can bet he's not too worried about having any pressure from the membership this year and besides, whatever pressure does come from below, they can relieve that by making some essentially useless gestures like co-location lawsuits and the like that ultimately do not stop the ravages of the reform movement but do make it look like the UFT is trying to fight them.
Until New York teachers wake up a realize that the union leaders in both the NYSUT and the UFT have sold them out and will continue to sell them out until they throw them out of power, nothing is going to change.
Chicago threw the bums out of power. Washington threw the bums out of power. Newark almost threw the bums out of power. Mulgrew won re-election with over 80% of the vote.
Throwing the bums out of power doesn't guarantee victory over the ravages of reform - witness the firings in Chicago this week - but it does guarantee real opposition to it as opposed to the phonied up opposition we get from the corrupt union heads in this city and this state.