Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Real Teacher's Choice

UFT President Michael Mulgrew sent the following email this morning:

As an educator, you know best what supplies you need for your classroom and your students. That's why the UFT initiated the Teacher's Choice program, funded by the City Council, to give educators the freedom to purchase their own materials for use in schools.

Teacher's Choice was eliminated during the 2011–12 school year because of the recession. Although we were able to restore funding the following school year, the amount since then has remained a fraction of what it used to be even as our city's economy has recovered.

That's why we're launching a new campaign to restore Teacher's Choice — and we need you to tell us your stories.

According to our first annual teacher survey last year, we know that teachers like you spend an average of $500 above the Teacher's Choice allotment on classroom supplies.

By sharing your stories about what Teacher's Choice means for classroom learning, you can help persuade lawmakers to restore Teacher's Choice funding.

What projects have your students been able to accomplish with the supplies you've bought in the past? What would you be able to provide for your students with more Teacher's Choice funding?

Our city now has the most state education aid it's received in eight years. Let's show our elected officials why we need a substantial increase in Teacher's Choice funding.

Do you know what I would like for Teacher's Choice?

To not be evaluated via the Danielson rubric that enforces a "One Ring To Teach Them All" way of teaching.

They can keep the money - let me have some freedom in my classroom again.

Let me be creative again.


  1. I really like reading this blog and have occasionally commented on the posts and discussions here. Let me take one moment as a recently retired public school educator with 33+ years in to offer a viewpoint about the Danielson model.

    I think that given the current state of affairs in NYS, Danielson's evaluation rubric is the LEAST of the pressing issues confronting educators. I can fully understand the pushback from the teaching field regarding Danielson's model because, in most cases the implementation of Danielson was a "rush job" at best and in the end, it was never properly introduced and teachers (and, administrators) were never properly trained to use the model. Even Danielson acknowledged the improper use of her rubric a few years back during a conference address before teachers in New Jersey.

    I DO NOT WORK FOR CHARLOTTE DANIELSON (although, I wish I did ... her model is perhaps the most commonly used today in public schools and facilitators make BIG $$$, I'm sure).

    RBE, you talk about the loss of teaching "creativity" because of Danielson. That's unfortunate because in my 5 years of working with the Danielson model our faculty was able to "tweak" and adapt her rubrics in a manner that actually worked MUCH BETTER than our previous evaluation model. No teacher likes to feel boxed in nor do they want to feel that they must constantly teach to a syllabus ... teachers want freedom to teach in the classroom. I totally get that however, I also think that public schools should work locally to develop a meaningful evaluation model: one that is collaboratively-based (not a "gotcha") and one that encourages BEST teaching practice. Obviously, the manner in which many schools "adopted" Danielson did not fully bring those primary stakeholders (teachers/administrators) up to speed so that they could comfortably use the model and feel at ease that Danielson was not going to be used as a "punitive" tool to get rid of teachers and administrators.

    I have never met Charlotte Danielson however, I have been trained in the model by her minions and find that when applied correctly, there is a great deal of value in the model. As they say in the automobile industry, "Your mileage may vary."

    There is no ONE SIZE FITS ALL in public school education, we know that ALL too well in NYS. However, I think that teachers (and administrators) do need structure and an evaluation system that they understand and feel comfortable with. Unfortunately, Danielson and some of the other evaluation models have been trashed because they were not properly rolled out. It's too bad that this happened simultaneously with the God-awful attempt to force Common Core down our throats.

    Perhaps one day (let's hope it comes sooner than later) teachers and administrators will be free to collaborate in a positive learning environment for the sake of kids. Perhaps one day that "creativity" you allude to will return in classrooms across NYS.

  2. I would like the choice not to be evaluated with junk science and student test scores. Keep the money, put it toward fighting Cuomo and the deformers. Heck, use it to do anything!!! Our union just gets steamrolled by everything. Everyone just lies down and takes it, after the steamroller passes you see that Cuomo is driving and Mulgrew has his hands around his waist. There are corporate deform sponsor stickers all over that thing.

  3. Not being a licensed psychiatrist I can only offer a layman's opinion, but something seems to happen once a person becomes a union official. You immediately enter another world, completely detached from the reality of rank and file teachers. Mulgrew's e-mail is evidence of this phenomenon.

    The No. 1 issue right now for every teacher in the state is the looming teacher evaluation law that increases the use of one-time test results; utilizes administrators completely unfamiliar with us, our schools, students, dynamics, etc.; strips our unions of some rights to collective bargain; disturbs long established tenure regulations; undermines tenure protections; demands all of us with permanent teacher certifications to re-register them with the same state office that issued them in the first place, etc.

    I don't give a damn about classroom supplies when my very livelihood is being threatened and useless union officials like the crews at the UFT and NYSUT are standing by seemingly helpless.

  4. It is easier to achieve canonization than Highly Effective on the Danielson rubric because only two miracles are required.