DOES MICHAEL MULGREW BELIEVE THAT OUR TEACHERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS ARE OUR STUDENTS’ LEARNING CONDITIONS?

February 3, 2013 — 65 Comments

Teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions. This has been MORE’s stance since our inception. We understand that there is a relationship between the erosion of our rights as workers and the erosion of quality education in our city over the past 10 years.

A few days ago, on the UFT website, Michael Mulgrew used our slogan in a piece defending his actions in the ongoing battle over teacher evaluations in New York State. Unfortunately, using our slogan is not the same as believing it. His actions surrounding the evaluation controversy cast serious doubt on whether he considers the learning conditions of our students at all, let alone the working conditions of the teachers he is paid to represent.

By examining the origins of this evaluation fiasco we can see just how much Mulgrew, along with the rest of our union’s leadership, take into consideration our students’ learning conditions. What we consider a fundamental belief is clearly nothing more than an empty slogan to the ruling Unity caucus.

It started in 2010 when New York State won its application to the federal government’s Race to the Top program.  Race to the Top is the brainchild of President Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. According to the State Education Department’s press release, New York State was selected for Race to the Top because the state passed legislation promising to make the following four school “reforms”:

 “(1) establishes a new teacher and principal evaluation system that makes student achievement data a substantial component of how educators are assessed and supported; (2) raises New York’s charter school cap from 200 to 460 and enhances charter school accountability and transparency;  (3) enables school districts to enter into  contracts with Educational Partnership Organizations (the term for non-profit Education Management Organizations in New York State) for the management of their persistently lowest-achieving schools and schools under registration review; and (4) appropriates $20.4 million in capital funds to the State Education Department to implement its longitudinal data system.”

Michael Mulgrew was on board with these proposals from the beginning. The same press release quoted above also thanks “United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew and New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein for appearing with us in Washington to help successfully make the case for New York.”

On his support for Race to the Top Michael Mulgrew, the man who cares about student learning conditions, is on the opposite side of the issue from the nation’s leading civil rights organizations. In a report released shortly after Mulgrew’s trip to Washington, a consortium of civil rights groups released a report that criticized RTTT for its “approach to education funding that relies too heavily on competition.” Furthermore, the report pans RTTT’s focus on opening up more charter schools:

“The largest national study found that charters are more likely to underperform than outperform other public schools serving similar students. And there is even less evidence that charters accept, consistently serve, and accommodate the needs  of the full range of students. Charters enroll 54% fewer English Language Learner (ELL) students, 43% fewer  special education students, and 37% fewer free and reduced price lunch students than high-minority public school districts. Thus, while some charter schools can and do work for some students, they are not a universal solution for systemic change for all students, especially those with the highest needs.”

Michael Mulgrew’s immediate and enthusiastic support for NY State’s RTTT application is just one reason why we are not convinced that he is concerned for our students’ learning conditions, especially as it relates to our students who are most in need.

New York’s approval for RTTT grant money required the state and the union to work out a framework for a new teacher evaluation system. That framework was worked out last year and included the following components according to UFT Vice President, Leo Casey:

 60% (Measures of Teacher Performance)

a) 31% Supervisory Observations (Based upon “research-based” rubrics like “Danielson”.)

b) 29 % Other Measures such as Peer Observations and Portfolios of Artifacts of Teacher Performance (Exactly which measures to be used would be worked out locally via collective bargaining between unions and school districts.)

40% (Measures of Student Learning)

a) 20% Value-Added Growth from State Standardized Exams

b) 20% Growth on Local Assessments, such as Performance Assessments (Exactly what those assessments are to be worked out locally via collective bargaining between unions and schools districts.)

What Casey barely mentioned in his defense of the framework is that a teacher rated “ineffective” on the 40% part measuring “student learning” will be rated ineffective overall. Furthermore, only 13% of those rated “ineffective” will be allowed to appeal such a rating. We believe that a framework of this nature seriously undermines the learning conditions of our students.

Education historian Diane Ravitch explained how this system sacrifices student learning conditions for the sake of standardized exam scores:

“This agreement will certainly produce an intense focus on teaching to the tests. It will also profoundly demoralize teachers, as they realize that they have lost their professional autonomy and will be measured according to precise behaviors and actions that have nothing to do with their own definition of good teaching.”

Indeed, this framework brings to New York State a testing regime that has been overtaking the nation for the past decade. It is a regime that tests students at both the beginning and end of the school year in several subjects, if not all subjects. Teachers, with the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads, will be forced to toss aside everything their professional experience tells them about how students truly learn for the sake of preparing their students for exams.

This has downright brutal implications for our students. A child who starts Kindergarten under this new regime will have been tested hundreds of times by the time they graduate from high school. Their curriculum will be little more than a regimen of test-taking strategies aimed at getting them to fill in what private testing companies consider the “correct” bubble. The full learning experience that includes critical thinking, reasoning, researching, abstraction and civic engagement will be lost.

Considering the fact that President Obama sends his daughters to the prestigious Sidwell Friends, a school with exactly the type of full curriculum described above, a school free from the incessant battery of standardized testing overtaking the country, forcing everyone else’s children to sit through 13 years of narrow, myopic, simplistic, test-taking curricula is tantamount to educational segregation.

Race to the Top is creating a two-tiered education system: one for the wealthy and one for everybody else. We see Mulgrew’s complicity in the RTTT program as a betrayal of the teacher’s duty to defend student learning conditions.

In the same takedown of the framework to which Mulgrew agreed, Diane Ravitch goes on to say:

“Evaluators will come armed with elaborate rubrics identifying precisely what teachers must do and how they must act, if they want to be successful. The New York Times interviewed a principal in Tennessee who felt compelled to give a low rating to a good teacher, because the teacher did not “break students into groups” in the lesson he observed. The new system in New York will require school districts across the state to hire thousands of independent evaluators, as well as create much additional paperwork for principals. Already stressed school budgets will be squeezed further to meet the pact’s demands for monitoring and reporting.”

Thanks to Mulgrew’s support for requiring principals to use a research-based evaluation rubric (which really is little more than code for “Danielson”), the teaching profession promises to be reduced to a series of mechanical steps as teachers struggle to receive enough “checks” to be rated “effective.” Even the most skilled and veteran teacher, one whose experience informs their teaching style, will be forced to ignore their professional judgment when it conflicts with a supposedly “objective” observation rubric.

This will have the net effect of depriving children of the best our teachers have to offer.

When Diane Ravitch and Long Island principal Carol Burris criticized the framework to which the UFT agreed, Leo Casey attacked them as “alarmists.” He claimed that collective bargaining at the local level would prevent all of these things from happening. Over the past year, the vast majority of school districts in New York State have fully worked out a teacher evaluation system based upon the Race to the Top framework that Mulgrew fully supports. Time will tell if Leo Casey was correct about collective bargaining’s ability to cushion RTTT’s blow for our students and teachers.

Meanwhile in New York City, Michael Mulgrew and the Department of Education were unable to agree on a new evaluation system before the January 17, 2013 deadline. The main issue that divided the two sides was a “sunset clause”. Mulgrew agreed to a system that would have to be reapproved in two years, which is twice as long as most local unions in NY were willing to concede. Mayor Bloomberg, on the other hand, wanted an evaluation system that would remain in perpetuity, something that no other NY school district has implemented.

This prompted New York State Education Commissioner, John King, to threaten to withhold millions of dollars of Race to the Top funds from New York City. He also threatened to “take control” of Title I funds reserved for the neediest of our city’s children if Mulgrew and the city did not work out an agreement. As of now, both the UFT and DOE are still negotiating.

However, if negotiations fail, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would push a law through the legislature empowering the State Education Department to impose a new evaluation system on New York City by force. This is a measure for which “reformer” groups in New York State have been lobbying over the past year. In response, Michael Mulgrew signaled his willingness to accept whatever system the SED sees fit to impose, something that puts him on the same side as the reform groups that have pushed for the dismantling of public education over the past 10 years.

Mulgrew’s acceptance of a proposed evaluation from the state is in direct contradiction to the framework that he agreed to last year, the framework that would allow many details of the evaluation to be collectively bargained at the local level. This is the part of the framework that Leo Casey said was essential to preventing many of the bad affects RTTT would have on our students’ learning conditions. When Ravitch and Burris contended that the framework would turn our schools into test-prep factories and deprive our children of the best our teachers have to offer, Casey called them “alarmists”. Collective bargaining would ensure that our students would have access to the best possible education, he responded.

Now that local collective bargaining is in danger of failing, Leo Casey is making the rounds stating that Governor Cuomo is not really threatening to impose an evaluation system but, rather, have the state act as an independent arbitrator. He says the SED is not going to impose a system on our schools. They will merely impose “binding arbitration.” Furthermore, Leo Casey hinted at the idea that MORE does not understand “collective bargaining.”

Our response is that we understand collective bargaining very well. We understand the concept of an “independent arbitrator” being empowered to break an impasse between a union and its employer through “binding arbitration.” We understand an independent arbitrator to be someone with no stake in the dispute between labor and management so their decision in “binding arbitration” will not be prejudiced against one side. The SED’s ability to remain independent is doubtful for the simple fact that they are also management.

As management, they are appointees of Governor Cuomo who does have a stake in this fight. As a governor whose designs on a run at the White House are a well-known “secret”, Cuomo has a deeply vested interest in being able to brandish his credentials as an “education reformer” in 2016. Mulgrew’s willingness to accede to any system the SED sees fit to impose is tantamount to surrendering our collective bargaining rights, the very same rights that Leo Casey assured us were essential in preventing the type of “alarmist” scenario outlined by Ravitch and Burris.

The implications of categorizing the fiat of the state as “binding arbitration” are dangerous. What is to stop this or any other governor in the future from imposing something on our schools under the guise that it is “binding arbitration”? Furthermore, this evaluation framework will alter many provisions in our existing contract, especially as they relate to observations and tenure. Allowing the SED to unilaterally change this through “binding arbitration” sends the message that provisions in our contract are not binding and can be changed at will depending on where the political winds are blowing.

The main reason we have a contract is so we as teachers can speak up when our students are being hurt by bad policy. Race to the Top is bad policy. The framework to which the union agreed last year is bad policy. Allowing the SED to unilaterally reform what both our students’ learning conditions and our contract look like is bad policy.

As we can see, Michael Mulgrew has been on board the Race to the Top program from the start. He has supported it despite the fact that every major civil rights group in the nation believes it hurts our neediest students. He helped negotiate a framework that would make standardized testing and narrow observation rubrics the end-all, be-all of teacher evaluations. This will make the curriculum as taught in schools an anemic affair, especially when compared to the curriculum of Sidwell Friends and other schools reserved for the wealthiest Americans. It will deprive veteran teachers of the tools that they know for a fact work with their students, since what their experience tells them and what the “Danielson” rubric tells them will surely often be at direct odds.

He failed to fight for the integrity of collective bargaining, despite the fact that collective bargaining was held out as the antidote to turning our schools into test-prep factories. Now that he has proven willing to abandon collective bargaining, does this mean that the students in New York City have no assurance that testing will not be the centerpiece of their education experience?

He has allowed a dangerous precedent to be set by categorizing SED directives as “binding arbitration”. He has allowed the governor to unilaterally alter key provisions in our contract, provisions that ensured teachers a measure of protection in speaking up for the rights of their students.

Does Michael Mulgrew believe that teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions? His actions surrounding this Race to the Top evaluation fiasco demonstrate that he is willing to sacrifice both.

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65 responses to DOES MICHAEL MULGREW BELIEVE THAT OUR TEACHERS’ WORKING CONDITIONS ARE OUR STUDENTS’ LEARNING CONDITIONS?

  1. 

    You summed up the horrible situation with Mulgrew in a perfect manner. He is 100% responsible for agreeing to the Race to the Top evaluation plan which will cause the teaching profession in NY to crumble from the brutality of a constant testing regime. The saddest aspect of this is that only a slight number of teachers are aware what is about happen to their jobs. Teachers are in for a major shock when they wake up a few weeks or months from now with a giant target on their backs. Also sad is the fact that principals are going to be spending their entire year observing and writing worthless reports on teachers instead of honestly helping teachers and students grow and prosper.

    • 

      Teachers are getting physically sick for being treated like pieces of crap! Principals and there assts. are in the classrooms everyday lying on snapshots and observations. The New York BOE is a jail center for teachers! Teachers if you are all not going to unit and do something together you better go out and get a tape recorder and record every observation your aloud to. Your taping no one but yourself teaching the lesson. So that you can get a lawyer and sue them for lying. A class action suit needs to be put into action sueing the BOE for harrassment. You all went to college for at least 5 years and spent thousands of dollars on your education. Wake Up already …….do something about it!!

  2. 

    And, with that…I copy the link to this article and send it to as many teachers as I know…

    http://morecaucusnyc.org/2013/02/03/does-michael-mulgrew-believe-that-our-teachers-working-conditions-are-our-students-learning-conditions/

    Because, nowadays, especially in education…truth and communication have been certainly hard to come by.

  3. 

    No one has fought more for TEACHER and STUDENT environment than President Mulgrew. What you fail to point out is the fact that the evaluation proposal included major improvement on teacher working conditions. Mulgrew realizes that teacher needs are important and directly related to student performance. OTHERWISE, HE WOULD HAVE ACCEPTED THE DOE PROPOSED EVALUATION. BUT HE DID NOT!!!

    • 

      If that is the case, Mulgrew would release the agreement that he has already negotiated with the DOE (and that Bloomberg vetoed) so that Delegates could review it and
      make an informed decision and vote.

      As it stands, Mulgrew is instead championing an arbitration by Cuomo’s SED such that no member will get a vote on the agreement.

      • 

        I believe no one can release this information until it is accepted by all parties.
        Instead of impugning Mulgrew, who is working so diligently on our behalf we should be working together. Name calling isn’t helpful to anyone and it is disappointing how easily we turn on each other.
        I did not hear a “championing of arbitration” at the DA. What I heard is that negotiations are/will continue and that arbitration would only be in Sept. should we fail in the intervening seven months,
        Vigorous debate is good. Honest disagreements exist. Let us respectfully agree to disagree where we can and work TOGETHER at this critical and difficult time.
        I am sure those whose true agenda is the dismantling of public education, unions, and all community endeavors that we have,( in favor of privatization) are happy to read all this vitriol and hostile negativity from teachers about their own Union leadership.
        Let us agree to disagree and express ourselves to each other with respect, and solidarity. We ARE in this together

    • 

      How does that cool aide taste Delores?

      • 

        Childish comment, Steph. Is MORE not able to accept alternate viewpoints without sarcastic remarks?

  4. 

    The stance of MORE to refuse to negotiate at the table no matter the situation, is kind of like on the play grounds at any of our schools when a young child says “If you don’t play my way I am taking the ball and going home.” If the child does not make good on their threats they loose credibility with their peers. If they take their ball and go home they loose out because the other kids just find something else to do to enjoy their time.
    In the case of NYS politics we have a choice. We can play ball, OR we can walk away and say do it my way or not at all. If we always take this militant hard nosed policy what are the other players going to do. Much like the children on the playground they are going to do what every they want. And the players are powerful, influential, and affluent. The players on the other side of the table are Student’s first, Bloomberg, Rhee, Moskawitz, Bill and Melinda Gates, Alec, and the list goes on. Do we really want to choose the hard nosed approach and let those players have control of the field we play on? If we refuse to come to the table on anything we don’t like that is exactly what will happen. It is happening in other states and it can happen here.
    It is so interesting to hear MORE’s politically motivated retelling of the story, as opposed to looking at reality. Is what was passed into state law a perfect system. No, it was created by humans and it has it’s flaws. What this post fails to remember is that when the law was passed there was no way that New York, let alone any other state was not scrambling to get their hands on those funds. At the time the UFT had two options, bend over and take it, or stand up and minimize the damage by working with lawmakers.
    It seems to me that MORE’s leadership would have simply gathered a few people banged on pots outside the statehouse to say no. In effect taking their ball and going home. Eventually this tactic of never negotiating would have lead us into a position where even MORE of the evaluation system would have ended up being based on state test scores than the 20% we ended up with. In essence MORE testing, MORE bad evaluations. And yes, not to be crude but, we would have bent over to take it a little MORE.
    Education laws are not passed with union rhetoric. They are passed by traveling to Albany and working with legislators to get your point across. This is something that the militancy and hard lined ideology that MORE seems to embrace leaves out completely. Michael Mulgrew and the UFT leadership had an obligation to be front and center at that negotiating table along with our brothers and sister from across the state. If they had refused to talk, or to participate in the plans then surely what would be imposed on us would be very much worse as Bloomberg, Student’s First, the large privatization companies and ALEC as well as their allies would have received everything they wanted. They would have gotten MORE testing, less job security, and eroded public education even MORE. I applaud Mulgrew and the UFT leadership for not sitting back but going to Albany and working to negotiate instead of just whining that things didn’t go their way. By doing that they did what was expected of them.

    In the end do I think what we have in state law is perfect? Absolutely not.
    Do I think that Mulgrew and the UFT leadership got everything they wanted at the bargaining table? Not a chance.
    But reality, that pesky little thing called reality, demonstrates that in a representative democracy sometimes you don’t get everything you want. Sometimes you have to test it out, give a little and revisit, which is provided for with the sunset clause that the union made sure we had in the plan.

    • 

      That is quite a treatise! It fails, however, to take true reality into account:
      Leadership has failed to defend the learning conditions of our students, has failed to defend and protect our teaching conditions (has failed to even allow the matter to a vote) and has failed to hold true on the very principal of collective bargaining -opting instead to let our boss, Governor Cuomo, decide the matter for himself.

      Tell me, is everyone who doesn’t agree with you eligible to be accused of being left wing radicals, or do you only reserve that privilege for those who threaten your position of power? I think your comments were less about merit and more about power and about winning re election. Help me out there.

    • 

      What would Karen Lewis and CTU/core say to this

      “the case of NYS politics we have a choice. We can play ball, OR we can walk away and say do it my way or not at all. If we always take this militant hard nosed policy what are the other players going to do. Much like the children on the playground they are going to do what every they want”

      Why do we have to “play ball” we played ball with mayoral control, we played ball with charters, common core, you name it- Uft signs on, chamberlain and the Vichy Government played ball too- how did that work out?. How about I’m in more because I’m sick of playing ball with those that seek to destroy my beloved union, ruin public education, and treat my students as nothing more than data in the name of profit
      Time to stop playing ball and lead, not sign on the dotted line in the name of self destruction

      • 

        Fortunately, or unfortunately unlike Ms. Lewis and the CTU did not have the Taylor laws and their protections as well as limitations to contend with. But that still does not stop the fact that in the current systems teachers are marginalized due to the inability to effectively appeal a u rating since it is based only on the opinion of the principal. I hear you opposing any change, but not offering up a suggestion to what is going on. I hear you say you don’t want Danielson, You don’t want test scores, you don’t want what Arnie Duncan dished out. You don’t want what was negotiated in Albany. But I have yet to hear anything except just say no from MORE.
        This shows me that you have no real plan for improvement. How would you have addressed the system so that you could have won? I don’t think that storming into Albany and just saying no would have worked, especially not with the Federal Government dangling millions in the papers. And with the Taylor Laws making striking illegal and very damaging to us we couldn’t in our right mind address the situations ahead of us like Chicago did. Nor do I think our membership would allow it.
        More complains that the UFT does not bring everything to a city wide vote. But we are a representative democracy . Evrry school is entitled to have members at the floor each month to debate, represent, and vote for their schools. Are the MORE representatives so out of touch with their membership that they don’t vote the way their school would want them to. I meet with my membership every month. I have given them my e-mail, and cell phone. I make sure they know exactly how I am going to vote and listen to their concerns before I go into those meetings. And I propose that the majority of people in that meeting do the same. The Idea that not signing is going to do anything except allow the Bloombergs of the world to do what they want is a point of view not couched in reality.

      • 

        I agree with you Mike…..if the civil rights movement was not lead by a few, none would have followed and I and all other minorities would still be sitting on the back of the bus….I’m for civil disobedience…..anyone has any ideas?

    • 

      Rubbers Rooms, ATR’s, the bogus wonderful grades before Bloomberg’s bought election, no city pattern raise, the open door TFA acceptance, the shaming of teacher’s names in the newspaper, the allowance of the “bad teacher” dialogue, the caving in on successful lawsuits, Bill Gates as Keynote Speaker of our Union Convention, the lack of communication to the public regarding the DOE’s destructive policies…

      And, you want to whine about the MOST RECENT betrayal of the rank and file?

      You’re a shill. And, one who’s collecting a double pension at that.

      • 

        Wait. I get a double pension. Where, when. How do I sign up for that?????? Oh wait, you must have me confused with some one else. I am not an employee of the UFT, just a chapter leader here.

      • 

        I also am a bit confused. MORE claims to want people like myself to speak up about our opinions. They claim that they are open to the ideas of “the rank and file” and that the leadership does not listen. Yet when I have spoken to any one of the leaders currently in place at the UFT they have treated me with respect, and respected my opinion, even when I have disagreed with them. Yet you call me names and accuse me of double dipping into pension.

      • 

        Well, I mean, to be fair, it’s not their fault that you’re a slug and called them militant. You’re no victim here, now are you.

  5. 
    Dr. John Marvul February 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Dr. John,

    There was no agreement for a new Teacher Evaluation System because of our Mayor’s insistence on no Sunset Clause ( which helps in altering/modifying the proposed system), and his hatred for teacher ” Due Process.” Any teacher wants to see his/her students grow both academically and socially; otherwise, why would they be in this profession? A pre-test in a discipline at the start of a school year and a post-test in that subject should be what an educator covets. Did my student learn from me? That is what Mulgrew wants. Currently, “U” rated teachers win almost no appeals, but the new system would change that. What are all of you afraid of? Do you want to teach and help kids, or is it just yourself that you are worried about?

    • 

      There are two essential points, both of which this post ignores.
      1. Prior to negotiating a new evaluation procedure with the state the UFT never mobilized us for a battle against evaluations based on standardized test scores. Nor did they follow the Chicago Teachers Union model of insisting that the problem in education is not teacher quality but the lack of services. CTU did that by making the demand for “wrap-around” services a central contract demand. And they mobilized their members, struck, and won partial victories. Had the UFT leadership mobilized us through massive rallies and job actions, and then compromised and accepted only partial victory, we could have judged their actions differently. Had the union fought and only partially won (as was the case in Chicago) I think we could have accepted compromise. But the union never fought. Mulgrew negotiated secretly with the state and then presented us with a fait accompli. There had been no mobilizations leading up to that deal. We don’t know what we could have won had we mobilized. What we know is that Mulgrew gave in without a member-driven fight. And since the new evaluation procedure became state law, our union leaders have continued to not mobilize us. Instead they relied on their negotiating skills, which proved unable to pressure the mayor to accept even a sunset clause.

      2. The membership has been left out of every step of this process. Unity did not campaign in the 2010 UFT elections on a platform of having us evaluated based on test scores or shifting the burden of proof onto us during 3020a hearings. Prior to the deal with the state the leadership never proposed to us that we engage in an effort to find a compromise. Nor was the membership asked for input or approval. In fact, even the DA was kept in the dark until after Mulgrew negotiated with the state. After that, the leadership never went to the membership to ask what should be negotiated within the confines of the new state law. Nor will they tell the membership what they were willing to settle for in January. The membership finds out what its union is doing by reading the newspapers. The Unity leadership has turned the UFT into another organization that imposes changes on us without any consultation, without any opportunity for the members to decide what kinds of compromises it might accept.

      Those are the real issues. The whole schoolyard and pot banging metaphors are cute but beside the point.

    • 

      Dear Doctor,

      No teacher I know is asking, let alone begging, for more exams and tests. No teacher I know is actively seeking to disrupt the learning process by allowing under experienced, untrained in many instances corrupt supervisors, who don’t understand the process of learning to attempt to quantify everything we do in a classroom -amd with a system that has not been rolled out in the way that ALL OF THE RESEARCH suggests it should be!

      I’m not sure how you missed those aspects of this system, but you also missed this: A pre-test, Dr. for so many teachers like myself, is at the start of a semester, not a year. How would growth be measured then, Dr.?

      And how many other details that we, who live in reality get, have you missed?

      Dr. Marvel, I’ll bet I’m twice the teacher you are (no ego there. Just the data speaking) and I, of all people, am against this. This system will be used as a baseball bat to force many of my colleagues out of the profession and will hurt the student who will eventually appear before my classroom. A blind man could see this clearly, Curious why don’t you?

      • 
        Dr. John Marvul February 3, 2013 at 7:15 pm

        John G,

        I teach the AT-RISK student who I have for a year. I’m not concerned about semesters only growth. I suppose I angered you, but that was not my intent.

  6. 

    I find these articles to be incredibly divisive. These articles make it seems like currently teachers live in a land where there are no teacher evaluations , no U Ratings and no firing of teachers. In reality the current Evaluation in place in extremely subjective, and does lead to the firing of many teachers with an unfair appeals process. The system being negotiated offers an objective discussion toward an evaluation that already exists. You are so vocal that a new system will lead to the firing of teachers as if that isn’t happening already; actually the new system if agreed upon is a solution that will strengthen a system of due process for all teachers because it will make principals accountable for faulty ratings, which they haven’t had to be, but obviously in your world there have not been any evaluations towards teachers. For the rest of us who have been Evaluated on the (S,U) Mulgrew and the UFT have stood to protect our Collective Bargaining Rights by working towards negotiating a system that would evaluate us all fairly. By the way the reason we still do not have an evaluation is because Mulgrew stood up for us, and refused to agree to something that would worsen our working conditions and preserve our Collective Bargaining Rights.

  7. 

    It should be clear to anyone who has been paying attention to what is happening that Michael Mulgrew has been fighting for better working conditions all along, and has never placed his personal interests above our collective bargaining rights.

  8. 

    I do not see “vitriol” in this article at all. I do not see “name-calling” in this article at all. I do not see “divisiveness” in this article at all. You can consider it these things only if you think ANY criticism of UFT leadership at all is “divisive” and “vitriolic”. You have every right to defend UFT leadership and I am glad that you are here doing so. But to suggest that we all fall into line behind Mulgrew no matter what is an unhealthy groupthink attitude.

    MORE is not “militant” and many of you saying that MORE would do this or that if they held power are attacking straw men. Just because MORE does not support Race to the Top and the chartering of our school system does not make MORE militant. It puts them on the same page as the NAACP and National Urban League. Are they militant as well?

    And to suggest these evaluations will make things more “objective” and prevent principals from fabricating charges, get real. Principals are allowed to fabricate charges because the UFT has consistently bargained away rights that used to protect us from fabrications. UFT’ supported mayoral control and the out-of-control principal are a legacy of mayoral control.

    Teaching is not objective. Those of you who are suggesting the learning process can be observed objectively are exactly proving the point about the UFT supporting schemes that would reduce us to automatons. The learning process is subjective and used to be judged by principals with a proven track record of educational excellence. Thank to UFT-supported mayoral control, those principals are gone.

    We have no contract and yet Mulgrew went ahead and bargained away many key provisions of our contract with his support for Race to the Top. Not only did he bargain it away but he is willing to allow the SED to unilaterally change key provisions of the contract. You can call it “binding arbitration” all you want but that talking point is not sticking and you know it.

    Yeah, only allowing 13% of teachers to appeal an “ineffective” rating, putting the burden of proof for teachers at 3020a hearings which are skewed against the teacher already as it is and implementing a process of “independent validators” that promise to be little more than a kangaroo court and rubber stamp on whatever “ineffective” rating we get are real good examples of protecting our rights as teachers.

    The truth is, Unity leadership has been riding a wave of rights that they won for us several decades ago. Since that time it has been a gradual erosion of those rights. They have failed to protect the rights they had won for us those many years ago. Unity has allowed the union itself to be hollowed out and have become increasingly detached and indifferent to the rank-and-file. Ask most teachers what they think about their “union”, Ask those teachers who have been harassed what they think about their “union”. Are all those people wrong or crazy or delusional? According to many of you, they must be since Unity has been doing a bang-up job.

  9. 

    The current system of evaluation is not sufficient. While many teachers have benefitted from the S/U system because they were “liked”, many others have been penalized by their administrators’ retribution and subjectivity. It is clear that we need a more objective evaluation process, and I know that Mulgrew has protected all of us, every step of the way. He stood up to Bloomberg, and insisted that any evaluation system be subject to a review after a couple of years of use (“sunset clause”). Thank you Mulgrew, for trying to get us away from the two tiered (S/U) system, and pushing for something that will force the DOE and principals to do their work and provide opportunities for us all to hone our craft and be the best that we can be. Thank you for not surrendering our collective bargaining rights, and fighting for our working conditions.

    • 

      You’re right. After listing all these travesties…

      “Rubbers Rooms, ATR’s, the bogus wonderful grades before Bloomberg’s bought election, no city pattern raise, the open door TFA acceptance, the shaming of teacher’s names in the newspaper, the allowance of the “bad teacher” dialogue, the caving in on successful lawsuits, Bill Gates as Keynote Speaker of our Union Convention, the lack of communication to the public regarding the DOE’s destructive policies”

      Silly me, I forgot to thank him, too. Thank you, Mulgrew. You’ve done wonders for the teaching profession.

      P.S. Sam, are you E4E?

  10. 

    The articles are wrong. The facts are twisted. Michael Mulgrew has been fighting all along for better working conditions for our schools. This has been part of the evaluation negotiations. We have been dealt a horrible hand thanks to the Mayor, in case the author hasn’t been paying attention to the facts. The UFT has been working VERY HARD
    (me included) to reverse “the erosion of our rights as workers and the erosion of quality education” at every turn. To say otherwise is untrue and harmful to all who are part of our union.
    How about trying to help us? Whose side are you on?

    • 

      Yes Susan, we get it, Any criticism of Mulgrew makes us traitors. Playing ball with the deformers is the ONLY option at our disposal. Hitching our wagons to the deformers who wish to destroy us is a great move. We should “trust Cuomo”. “trust the SED” and “trust Unity” because they have our best interests at heart. We should allow the SED to unilaterally alter our contract and impose a system on us.

      Susan, is our school system better off now than it was before mayoral control, which the UFT supported? Are either our children or our teachers better off?

      • 

        Members who question MORE’s intentions are no more traitors than those who criticize Mulgrew. What’s scary is that the deformers would have a field day reading the comments section of this blog where there is a proud display of union member in-fighting. Why can’t we put caucus affiliations aside and have honest dialogue about what we can do to improve this dysfunctional school system?

  11. 

    *I respect the opinions of the MORE brothers and sisters, but I cannot accept the name calling and childish, petty behaviors in the comment section.

    I have seen Mulgrew to be a strong leader of our union. He has fought for us, even though it has made him a political target. He is imperfect, but he could have taken the easy way out many times and he didn’t. He could have sacrificed the ATRs and allowed them to be fired after one year in the pool. He could have accepted Bloomberg’s evaluation “deal.” He could even have negotiated a contract long ago if his intent was to throw us under the bus, as these posts seem to imply.

    This election season, Mulgrew has an impressive record to stand on as he runs for re-election. What can MORE offer to our membership? I ask this sincerely. Please provide more information on your caucus’ plan to move our union forward; Mulgrew-bashing does not a platform make.

    • 

      What name-calling? The post does not call anyone names. I certainly have not called anyone names. Wasting time talking about “name-calling” detracts time and space from the type of real discussion you wish to have.

      Notice how all of the things you list are things that Mulgrew did not do or things that did not happen. Why do you consider the fact that 1,400 teachers who are treated like cattle have not been fired as some sort of victory? They are protected by provisions in the contract that have been in place for decades. You argument amounts to “Mulgrew did not give up those protections yet.”

      The fact that you say that accepting Bloomberg’s evaluation deal was even a possibility boggles my mind. No, he could not have accepted that deal, not at all. Refusing the deal was the absolute least he should have and could have done. By the way, did you read when MORE congratulated Mulgrew on doing that?

      As far as the contract goes, or lack thereof, I don’t totally blame Mulgrew for that. As we both know, Bloomberg hates teachers and was unwilling to even come to the table. However, the fact that Mulgrew has not used the lack of a contract as leverage, or has not linked a new contract to these evaluations or ATR crisis is a tremendous failure on his part in my opinion.

      I of course disagree that Mulgrew has a strong track record to stand on. Most of what you cite are non-things.

      • 

        I o believe that the whole name calling stemmed in the comment section NOT the article it’s self Asailed. I was called a “shill” and accused of receiving a double pension. Yes I was offended. That being said I hope that clears up where the name calling came from. I also hope that it is where the name calling of members, or discussion there of can end. I am sure that the member who did it posted without truly thinking. especially since he obviously had no idea of who I am when he made the post.

      • 

        Ok, fair enough. Thank you for your response. Despite the acrimony, not to mention the high stakes involved, I think that we can have a civil and honest discussion. At the end of the day we are all colleagues and union brethren.

      • 

        So…challenge my “non-things” by offering MORE’s solutions to the problems. Why should I or any of my members vote on the MORE ticket?

      • 

        Well Khiera, I really cannot speak for MORE. I can tell you why I support MORE from a personal standpoint. It is really quite simple.

        At the end of the day it seems that many of our Unity leaders honestly, genuinely agree with many bread-and-butter points of self-styled education “reformers”. I take Dr. John’s comments above as an example. He really seems to believe that testing and value-added “growth models” are fair and accurate ways to judge teachers. Furthermore, Mulgrew’s embrace of RTTT mentioned in this article scares me because of the increase in charter schools it promises to bring.

        On these and many others, Unity is in step with some of the more hallowed tenets of education re(de)form,

        MORE is not in favor in any of this. I believe MORE’s platform is more in line with my own views about teaching as an art and not just a mechanical checklist. MORE’s stance against charters and mayoral control is in line with my fervent belief in a free, open, public education for all children. Charters are not free nor are they open and, most importantly, they do not preserve the integrity of public schooling as a civic institution.

        For me Khiera, it is a matter of ideas. Unity’s ideas and how they seem to view the teaching profession go against everything I believe about education.

        Like I said, I cannot speak about what MORE would have done differently. I will say that I am pretty sure MORE would at least try to change the discourse surrounding public education so that it is not just a matter of numbers, data and school “choice”.

        I hope you are able to appreciate these points even if you do not agree with them. Despite our differences, peace be unto you my union brethren.

      • 

        Obviously it was me who did the name calling. After mulling it over a couple of days I do realize I may have been a little overzealous with my reply. I’m sorry I called Woodruff a shill and made the “double-pension” charge.

        Yet, after witnessing and being a victim to what my union has allowed this mayor to do to us over the course of the past few years my disappointment and anger in my union leadership is palpable.

        It is beyond me and others how our union has caved and backdoor-dealed teachers into the list of messes I previously wrote.

        To say Mulgrew is doing his best is egregious and pays no mind to the plethora of past failures.

        So, to the name-calling, I again apologize and will refrain from doing so in the future.

        But, remember…

        “Sticks and stones may break my bones
        But names can never hurt me…

        …as much as being sent all over NYC as an ATR.

        Or having your name posted in the newspaper as a failing teacher.

        Or having your school closed by a bogus school progress formula and then not being hired while watching temporary teachers offered positions throughout the city.

        Or sitting silently by as the most anti-teacher mayor ekes out a bought third term.

        I’ll say it a again…Palpable.

  12. 

    Just read through the WNYC Schoolbook report on the Mayor and the Union.
    It is riddled with tragic errors by Unity’s Weingarten and Mulgrew, such as the epochal surrender, the 2005 contract.

  13. 

    Part of being a real leader is not knowing when to say its my way or the highway like Bloomberg does, or as MORE suggests, but knowing when to play nice With the real officials that can say, “the UFT has no say at the state level, we don’t need to hear you out. ”
    Make no mistske, We are lucky to have Mulgrew fighting for us because he understands how to speak with the people that can force our hand at the city level. Having a positive outlook benefits us all as a united front. Anything else is divisive and destructive.

  14. 

    For the life of me I do not understand why the UFT thinks it will be a viable organization once the new “evaluation system” goes through. Tenure will be meaningless, due process will be thrown out the door, and “objective” tests will cause teachers to loose their jobs. There will be no need for the UFT as there will be no rights left for teachers once the sell out goes through. The UFT will become a dental insurance benefits organization and that is it!!!

    • 

      We keep discussing the same point over this new evaluation and the same blanket statement is made that a new evaluation means the end of tenure, and the end of due process. Tenure is Due Process
      I understand the fear of this new evaluation. I’m a lucky teacher. My Principal is fair, he does have open conversations and is pretty reasonable to deal with. But I also understand that I am a minority when it comes to collaborative Principals (most teachers have other principals straight out of Leadership Academy ) who have no problem giving a teacher an Unsatisfactory without a reason. So what happens to those teachers these days that get the unsatisfactory? How many of those Unsatisfactories are overturned? Where is the due process with the system that exists right now? Teachers without tenure currently get a discontinuance if they get an Unsatisfactory. Those teachers lose there jobs in their district and usually end up having a hard time getting another job. The new evaluation offers something different. The point of the independent validator is to help the teacher with an ineffective rating prove that their faulty rating was faulty. This helps all of our teachers that are unfairly rated. You have made it clear that you believe this new Evaluation will destroy our Tenure, and Due Process, how does the current system we have in place protect tenure and Due Process? Teachers with tenure are unfairly rated today. Rarely do U ratings get overturned, and the paper work build up is getting larger. The Bloomberg Administration has made it clear that preserving the true fundamentals of teaching don’t matter when it’s easier to close a school then to fix issues within. Many teachers under the current evaluation system are rated based on their test scores, many of them rated in one observation a year, and rarely do the Unsatisfactory ratings get overturned. We saw our Mayor last year try to close 24 schools in order to get rid of teachers, does that really sound like a true protection of tenure. In a world where our mayor is doing everything possible to destroy Tenure UFT is trying to protect it by Negotiating an evaluation system that hold Principals accountable for there actions. So how would this new system really worsen our conditions when in the current system in place teachers can still be fired, and Principals don’t have to show reasons for it.

      • 

        Sorry, but you are wrong. Tenure WILL be meaningless once the new evaluation system is in place. Currently, a tenured teacher must have their principal document many pieces of evidence that PROVES that a teacher is incompotent and the burden of proof is placed 100% in the hands of the principal and the DOE. The UFT has lawyers that will fight every case of a tenured teacher that gets a “U” rating. Under the new evaluation tes,t scores will be used to determine if a teacher gets be fired and a teacher who does not show improvement on test scores for two years will be fired with no chance of a winnable appeal. The “validators” that you speak of are a complete sham and are the same as the people who over see the PIP+ intervention program. (That is only a program that you can volunteer for and is NOT mandatory, by the way) Lastly, under the new evaluation, only 13% of teachers will have a shot at a fair process to question their official ineffective ratings. So, that means for the wast majority of teachers in NYC, tenure will in fact be meaningless as “due” process with any teeth to it will be gone.

    • 

      I do not understand why it is how some teachers do not get it through thier heads that the new teacher evaluation system is not a sell out! It is State law that was imposed on us. The UFT was able to put in their 2 cents as a courtesy at the state level ! Hello? The State is moving foward, like it or not.

  15. 

    A lot of the criticism directed at Michael Mulgrew and the UFT leadership is misplaced. They were not the ones who published teachers’ names in the press. Far from it, they fought against shaming teachers with such public, and grossly inaccurate, reports, but were ultimately overruled in court. If members are getting most of their information about what the union is doing from the mainstream press, rather than from our own union paper, then they will be misinformed, as the mayor intends.
    When I began teaching, teachers were laid off when their school closed or was reorganized, or when there were budget cuts. It was Randi Weingarten who fought to preserve teachers’ jobs by negotiating with the city to make them ATRs. Is this optimal? Absolutely not. Would I have enjoyed the opportunity to keep my income when I lost my position through no fault of my own? You bet!
    Having read Diane Ravitch’s book on the history of school governance in NYC, I understand that either mayoral control or community control can work…or not, depending on the persons involved. What we learned on this go round is that we need a better system of checks and balances. Mayoral candidate John Liu has proposed just that.
    As for the Danielson evaluation model, again, having read her book and attended training sessions at which she was present, I think it makes a lot of sense, is fair, and respects the teaching profession. If a teacher is deficient, the onus of improving that teacher’s practice falls on the supervisor, as it should. Charlotte Danielson has asked those school systems who put her name on their old “gotcha” models to stop bandying her name about.
    You should know that New York is the only district nationwide that has been successful in keeping the amount of standardized testing in the proposed teacher evaluation system down to 20%. Every other jurisdiction has more, most of the them above 50%. It was Randi Weingarten, and later Michael Mulgrew, who held the bar at this point against the national tide. The other 20% was intentionally left vague so that we educators could design our own appropriate instruments. The UFT leadership is smart and committed. That does not mean that they get everything we want all the time, but they do try. As Michael Mulgrew has said, he would rather chew off his own leg than sell out teachers and children.

  16. 

    During an election season, it’s incumbent upon MORE to never, ever criticize leadership. That’s divisive. Instead, you should perhaps run a platform saying, “Mulgrew did X,Y and Z, and those were good things.” We at Unity/ New Action can say that, but also fill in a to w, therefore saying he did more good things. But no one should ever say bad things, as that is divisive. So please halt ll criticism immediately, as the reformers would have a field day. Thank you.

    • 

      “During an election season, it’s incumbent upon MORE to never, ever criticize leadership. That’s divisive.”

      I’m sorry, I find that extremely undemocratic and highly “unreasonable”.

  17. 

    We keep discussing the same point over this new evaluation and the same blanket statement is made that a new evaluation means the end of tenure, and the end of due process. Tenure is Due Process
    I understand the fear of this new evaluation. I’m a lucky teacher. My Principal is fair, he does have open conversations and is pretty reasonable to deal with. But I also understand that I am a minority when it comes to collaborative Principals (most teachers have other principals straight out of Leadership Academy ) who have no problem giving a teacher an Unsatisfactory without a reason. So what happens to those teachers these days that get the unsatisfactory? How many of those Unsatisfactories are overturned? Where is the due process with the system that exists right now? Teachers without tenure currently get a discontinuance if they get an Unsatisfactory. Those teachers lose there jobs in their district and usually end up having a hard time getting another job. The new evaluation offers something different. The point of the independent validator is to help the teacher with an ineffective rating prove that their faulty rating was faulty. This helps all of our teachers that are unfairly rated. You have made it clear that you believe this new Evaluation will destroy our Tenure, and Due Process, how does the current system we have in place protect tenure and Due Process? Teachers with tenure are unfairly rated today. Rarely do U ratings get overturned, and the paper work build up is getting larger. The Bloomberg Administration has made it clear that preserving the true fundamentals of teaching don’t matter when it’s easier to close a school then to fix issues within. Many teachers under the current evaluation system are rated based on their test scores, many of them rated in one observation a year, and rarely do the Unsatisfactory ratings get overturned. We saw our Mayor last year try to close 24 schools in order to get rid of teachers, does that really sound like a true protection of tenure. In a world where our mayor is doing everything possible to destroy Tenure UFT is trying to protect it by Negotiating an evaluation system that hold Principals accountable for there actions. So how would this new system really worsen our conditions when in the current system in place teachers can still be fired, and Principals don’t have to show reasons for it.

    • 

      The current system of S/U is arbitrary and capricious, it must be fixed. Less than 1% of teachers currently succeed in a U rating appeal. This evaluation, while flawed as is to be expected as it was negotiated with the parties involved and in this anti teacher climate, and negotiations do require give and take, still requires a more professional assessment, more evidence assembled, more legwork for the rating officer, and more protections on appeal. Hard not to be able to do better than .05% success rate. Mulgrew indicated at the last DA that there were surprising gains included in the rejected settlement, including a type of expedited grievance process at the school, including committees at the school. Perhaps this would provide further roadblocks to unfair evaluations? And provide some teacher voice as well?

    • 
      Arthur Goldstein February 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      It would be worse because, rather than having the burden of proof on the city to establish you were incompetent, the burden of proof would be on you to prove you were not.

      • 

        Arthur, It was easier to escape a gulag sentence under a Stalinist tribunal than it is now to succeed in a U rating appeal. If a Principal does the paperwork, in two years the teacher is gone, compelled to resign, fined, reduced to ATR status. The new provisions allow for appeals that would have a much higher chance of success, involving 3rd party reviewers, not DOE employees. The fact that such appeals exist are a deterrent to arbitrary and capricious ratings, even if at present the % is small. This will protect Chapter Leaders at the very least who come under fire for zealously representing their staff and holding the Principal’s feet to the fire. I agree with you; the burden of proof part of the agreement is dangerous. Perhaps it would not hold up to a legal challenge? Perhaps, as was the case with merit pay in NYC, time will reveal the inaccuracy of VAM / Growth statewide and it will be abandoned? There is a reason that there were sunset clauses in the agreements. Perhaps this is one of those things that will be discarded as evidence mounts that it is not working. It seems clear to me that the amount and type of documentation required for an “I” rating will be substantial. I for one would like to see expedited school based grievances and other items that Mulgrew referred to as cryptically as being parts of the agreement that we would have been very surprised to see included.

  18. 

    The problem is not mayoral control. The problem is the mayor who has no love for teachers or students. Everything he does is aimed to hurt the teaching and automatically hurt the students. It is clear that the current evaluation system is not working. I work for a vindictive principal who gives out U ratings just because he doesn’t like a teacher. I have seen him break the spirit of many great teachers because no matter how great their lesson, they are destined to receive an unsatisfactory observation. Does anyone out there see the correlation between great leadership, teacher moral, and student outcome? So it is clear that the current subjective evaluation system is not how we are going save the teaching profession. Michael Mulgrew is trying to affect a change. He is trying to make things better for the profession and ultimately the children that we teach. Is the new proposed evaluation system perfect? No, but it sure puts more ownness on the administrators to prove that a teacher is unsatisfactory/ineffective if that is their claim. Guess what? Administrators would actually have to do work before deeming that a teacher does not know what they are doing. Administrators would actually have to know what they were doing! Go figure!
    It is absolutely absurd to say that Michael Mulgrew and Unity Caucus would do anything to hurt teachers, our profession, or the students. His fight has always been, and I am sure will always be on the behalf of quality education, and not at a teachers expense.

    • 

      Anne-Marie
      Thanks you for nailing the difference between MORE and Unity: The problem is not mayoral control. The problem is the mayor who has no love for teachers or students.
      You guys said that about Giuliani. You even said that about Koch. And you will say that about the next mayor. The problem is mayoral control which was handed to Bloomberg by you guys. That you continue to absolve yourselves of responsibility for this support for handing over the school system to one person and obviously you will continue to support is shameful. Next you will be telling us the UFT opening charter schools which continue to drain our dues was a good thing.

  19. 

    Billy,
    How many of those teachers get a U rating overturned? You mention tenured teachers who get a U, but you fail to mention the untenured teachers that get U ratings. We as Union represent all teachers tenured and untenured teachers. You also fail in all blogs to mention the Secretaries , Para Professionals, Social Workers, Guidance Counselors, Nurses, and Day Care that the UFT represents, I would be interested in understanding h though all of the teachers who are rated with an Unsatisfactory get to appeal their rating, how many of those ratings get overturned? The decision on a U rating is based on the determination of the Chacellor. So even thought the UFT fights for their members, the decision is made by someone biased. Under the new Appeals Process, everyone who is rated with an ineffective get an independent validator. The Validator is picked by the DOE and the UFT but the UFT and Mulgrew have worked extremely hard to preserve our collective Bargaining Rights.
    When the Mayor threatened to close the 24 schools Mulgrew led the fight to keep the schools open. When the Mayor was threatening layoffs UFT fought to stop Layoffs while Saving the ATR’s. When the Mayor threatened to go to the State to get rid of Seniority, the UFT worked with legislation to preserve it. The New Evaluation objectively evaluates how we are performing but also ways we can improve our craft, and even though we were reaching a deadline Mulgrew stood up to the Mayor when he saw the Evaluation would not be implemented in a way that would benefit us, only worsen our working conditions. So while I respect different points of view I wonder, What is your solution?

    • 

      My past solution was that I knew better than to vote for UNITY/Mulgrew back in 2010. (I voted for the ICE ticket) Mulgrew should never have gone to Albany last year to agree to this framework to begin with. My current solution is that there is no solution other than to get the rank and file involved in the discussion on the tiny “details” that might be left. We don’t have ANY idea what what in the memorandum of understanding that was almost agreed upon until Bloomberg walked away. Mulgrew sold us out on the evaluation but we should have a say with what the 20% local evaluations will consist of. We should have a say in what type of appeals can be approved. We should have a say if this is or is not going to be attached to a contract, and if so, what are the ramifications of this contract.

  20. 

    How many of those teachers get a U rating overturned? You mention tenured teachers who get a U, but you fail to mention the untenured teachers that get U ratings. We as Union represent all teachers tenured and untenured teachers. You also fail in all blogs to mention the Secretaries , Para Professionals, Social Workers, Guidance Counselors, Nurses, and Day Care that the UFT represents yet I have never once heard them mentioned in any of your blogs. It’s one thing to criticize a system but what solutions does your organization offer that can preserve collective bargaining, while keeping the UFT united? Though all of the teachers who are rated with an Unsatisfactory get to appeal their rating, how many of those ratings get overturned? The decision on a U rating is based on the determination of the Chacellor. So even thought the UFT fights for their members, the decision is made by someone biased. Under the new Appeals Process, everyone who is rated with an ineffective get an independent validator. The Validator is picked by the DOE and the UFT but the UFT and Mulgrew have worked extremely hard to preserve our collective Bargaining Rights.
    When the Mayor threatened to close the 24 schools Mulgrew led the fight to keep the schools open. When the Mayor was threatening layoffs UFT fought to stop Layoffs while Saving the ATR’s. When the Mayor threatened to go to the State to get rid of Seniority, the UFT worked with legislation to preserve it. The New Evaluation objectively evaluates how we are performing but also ways we can improve our craft, and even though we were reaching a deadline Mulgrew stood up to the Mayor when he saw the Evaluation would not be implemented in a way that would benefit us, only worsen our working conditions. So while I respect different points of view I wonder, What is your solution?

    • 
      teachersarepeople February 5, 2013 at 6:28 pm

      A fair and complete election is what any UFT member should hope for. That being said, in this atmosphere and with the mayor and “reformy types” breathing down our necks, Mulgrew has done a very good job of standing up to the mayor. If he was going to “sell us out” he would have done so already. We will get a new evaluation system and it will be better than the current S/U, which is very arbitrary. Give it time and you will see and good deal will come out, either with Bloomber coming to his senses or through the arbitration process. I agree with the commentator that mentioned “taking our ball and going home”. That makes us look petty and small. We are winning the public opinion battle right now because we look reasonable.

    • 

      MORE is defending a system where approx. .05% of teachers had U ratings overturned. Probationary teachers are discontinued, period. Imagine going through this rigged system two years in a row? Especially if it is a hack job? Knowing that you have no chance of winning? The union will now be able to appeal these kinds of situations with a real chance of winning, and the outcome is not predetermined. As Stuart said above, what is MORE’s plan?

      • 

        I am astounded Commonsense that you are trashing the current system WHICH YOU GUYS ESTABLISHED OVER THE LAST 50 YEARS BY SIGNING CONTRACTS WITH THE DOE. Now after we spent 30 years telling you it sucked you are waking up? You are the proverbial guy who kills his parents and then pleads for mercy on the grounds he is an orphan.
        It was you guys who took away the rights of teachers to file Step3. And then to grieve letters in the file. You guy made step 3 adjudicated by a partial DOE employee so that teachers have to wait a year or more for grievances to be settled. We did a cartoon 30 years ago showing a young man entering the griev system and coming out an old man. You guys are really amazing. If the leaders tell you day is night you would start turning on the lights.

  21. 

    Can MORE name these civil rights leaders who allegedly speak out against Michael Mulgrew’s policies? I just don’t see it. I do, however, see NAACP leaders embrace Mulgrew at the Delegate Assembly. I see other union and community leaders standing in solidarity with Mulgrew in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the CT shootings, the Earthquake in Haiti and collective bargaining attacks in other states. And in the fallout of the mayor rejecting an eval agreement endorsed by everyone else at the table, how is a shift to neutral arbitration necessarily a bad thing? Our collective bargaining agreement allows for us to take our grievances before an arbitrator and this process has served us well for a long time. There’s precedent that leads us to believe we will succeed with the SED.

  22. 

    lol didn’t Leo Casey make up this slogan that MORE claims? I think he said the words that you print on your t-shirt in 2006… unless it was one of the many previous iterations of the oppositional caucuses that came up with it before he did.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. SEVEN WAYS TO DEFEND UFT LEADERSHIP | Assailed Teacher - February 4, 2013

    […] recent post about the origins of this new teacher evaluation system is a good primer for those who are unaware […]

  2. How New York City Can Rid Themselves of the Race to the Top Evaluations | Assailed Teacher - October 1, 2013

    […] new evaluation system is brought to you by our union. It was Michael Mulgrew, president of our beloved UFT, who accompanied Andrew Cuomo to Washington, […]

  3. Monthly Review | Labor and “Ed Deform” - June 9, 2014

    […] MORE (Movement of Rank and File Educators), “Does Michael Mulgrew Believe That Our Teachers’ Working Conditions Are Our Students’ Learning Co…,” February 3, 2013, […]

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