Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Deformers Want To Argue Students' Civil Rights Are Violated If Teachers Aren't Eligible For Merit Pay

Let's say some deformers file a lawsuit here in New York State against teacher tenure and seniority rules sometime soon.

The laws in New York are a lot different than they are in California, so they'll have to adjust the thrust of the suit.

From this Jessica Bakeman article in Capital NY, you can see how the deformers are not only dreaming big, they're dreaming too big:

New York and California’s teacher tenure rules are broadly similar, with some important differences. Unions have argued that New York’s laws are significantly more stringent than California’s, while reform leaders say the two sets of laws are the same in essence if not in content.

While both states have a probationary period for new teachers, after which teachers are generally given tenure, New York’s is at least three years, while California’s is eighteen months. Union leaders say New York’s law allows for more time to help and observe teachers.

In California, unlike in New York, uncertified teachers can be awarded tenure, and disciplinary hearings for California teachers can legally extend far longer than similar hearings in New York.
Union-allied defenders of teacher tenure here also say New York City’s intensive and controversial new teacher evaluation laws ensure quality among teachers, and point out that tenure reforms implemented under the Bloomberg administration led to a significant decline in teachers approved for tenure.

Sedlis said a potential legal complaint would likely focus on lengthening New York’s probationary teaching period and changing the way teacher seniority is used.

She said the city’s controversial absent teacher reserve, a pool of teachers without full-time jobs but who are still paid by the city, is “a clear example of tenure gone wrong.”

Beyond probationary periods, certification requirements and evaluations, education reform leaders are looking to take on larger long-term sticking points between their groups and New York’s city and state teachers’ union, including merit pay.

“It’s more about what’s missing,” Weisberg said when asked what he would like changed about New York’s tenure laws. “Laws should require that highly effective teachers be rewarded in terms of compensation.”

Merit pay would be anathema for the U.F.T., and fundamental disagreements about pay based on performance prevented the union from agreeing to a contract under the Bloomberg administration.
Sedlis agreed that legal action would be an opportunity for “parents and advocates to give every aspect of the law a fresh look.”

“Countless policies can be challenged,” she said, adding that a lawsuit could “force some real changes at the management and policy levels.”

They're going to sue over merit pay?


Is this the "craft" they plan to add to the New York case?

New York laws are different - it takes longer to get tenure, in NYC many teachers never get tenure at all and some have to wait well over the mandated three years to get it.

In addition, the APPR teacher evaluation system allows districts to fire teachers who come up "ineffective" two years in a row.

The argument that was used in California - "grossly ineffective" teachers cannot be fired without a long cumbersome process - doesn't hold water here.

So the deformers are looking to broaden the case, adding seniority rules around layoffs and performance pay to the mix.

They may be able to craft an argument around seniority, but I have a difficult time seeing them craft one around performance pay.
I'd like to see the judge in New York who agrees that students' civil rights have been violated because their teachers are ineligible for merit pay.

Often these deformers exist in a deform echo chamber where they say stuff that makes sense to everybody in their little circle, but once they get outside that circle, people look at them like they're crazy.

Arguing that students' civil rights have been violated because their teachers aren't eligible for merit pay is one of those cases.


  1. Let's see if I got this right. By design, only a small percentage of teachers are highly effective and eligible for merit pay. Therefore, the vast majority of unfortunate children will be taught by teachers not receiving merit pay. To rectify this situation, all of the rest of the teachers will be replaced by novices whose evaluations are as of yet unknown. Someone please help me!

  2. This is starting to upset me. I first read about it at Ed in the Apple, then again over at Chaz, and now here via Capital NY. Let me just say it -again- to make myself feel better ...
    ...the rule is NOT 18 months. It's 2 years. The judge claimed it was 18 months in his decision because the district had to make a March 15 deadline. His claim in erroneous (as his decision) and to accept it is to accept part of the premise of his erroneous decision.
    In fact, his claim is a lot like the Yellow Cake Uranium claim made by another republican jackwad back in 2003. It is part of their big lie and it should not be accepted by critical, intelligent people.
    Lots of other stuff I'd like to comment on this piece, but I should probably save it for a separate comment. You may read it fo ryoursel fon page 9 of the decision.

    The fact that Jessica Bakeman apparently didn't read it -and she gets paid to write about this stuff- is infuriating.

    18 months. Where the h##l is the 'Doenut of the Week' when you need it.

  3. Hmmm...I must chime in and say that eliminating seniority protections in NYS will not be happening any time soon. If any NYS school district has to reduce school teachers due to budget cuts, seniority order will stay in effect. As much as DeBlasio and Cuomo would like to pit union against union in regard to pay/retro pay, the line in the sand is drawn when it comes to seniority. Seniority is the backbone of the civil service trade and if it is eliminated, the entire blue collar/pink collar workforce will be gone. That ain't happening any time soon in my opinion.

    1. 9:59
      Don't expedited termination procedures for ATRs wreak havoc with seniority protections?

  4. There are many more gays teaching in NYC so that will help. You can't mess with gays.

  5. Here is another view on merit pay - it's not as simple as some would suggest.