Come to the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE-UFT) General Meeting on Saturday, March 25th from 12-3pm. We will be making plans for ongoing organizing to Save Our Union from the anti-union agenda of the Trump administration, to protect immigrants’ rights in our schools, distribute our regular newsletter, and defend public schools and educators under attack from their administrators.
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Wednesday, March 22: Delegate Assembly and Panel for Educational Policy
Below find MORE’s Proposed Action Plan for the UFT Delegate Assembly (DA) and Panel for Education Policy (PEP), both of which are happening this Wednesday, March 22. There are two two important issues: Stop the Closing of JHS 145 and Support for the Chapter Leader of Central Park East 1 Elementary School.
At the DA we are gearing up to show support for the JHS 145 community who are faced with having their school closed. MORE/New Action will present a resolution (see below) to be voted on at this Delegate Assembly, calling on public support from the UFT as well as an early adjournment of the DA so that the delegates can attend the PEP. A group of MORE members will leave for the PEP meeting around 5. If you intend to speak at the PEP you need to sign up before 6 – the later you sign up the later you will speak. If you stay for the entire DA, please come to the PEP afterward — wear your MORE T-Shirt!
Additionally, the Chapter Leader (CL) of Central Park East 1 Elementary School (CPE1) is unfairly undergoing a 3020a hearing. Parent leaders may have stickers for UFT members to wear as an additional show of support as some will be showing up outside the DA. Recently almost 100 parents showed up in the hearing room to support Marilyn Martinez.
Please try to attend the PEP at Fashion Industries HS (225 W 24th St, NYC, between 7th and 8th Avenues). JHS 145 in the Bronx is facing a closure vote. The largely immigrant school community has mobilized to oppose the closing. As unionists committed to defending public education, we must join our voices with those of parents, students and teachers in opposition to this proposed closure. Those who are speaking need to get on line at 5:30.
Resolution on JHS 145
Whereas Junior High School 145 is a school serving a low-income, immigrant community in the Bronx with 20% of the students living in homeless shelters or temporary housing; 21% have learning disabilities, 18% have gone extended periods of their lives without any education at all and over 40% English Language Learners, but has only one full-time ELL teacher.
Whereas JHS 145 was designated a renewal school by NYC DOE two and a half years ago, but has yet to receive all the services its students were promised under that program
Whereas JHS 145 has been forced to give up their classrooms, computer labs and other resources to a Success Academy charter school
Whereas Success Academy charter school has already advertised additional seats for the 2017/18 school year in JHS 145
Whereas there has been no stability in school leadership, with three principals in recent years, including one that plead guilty to attempted grand larceny and paid $21,080.83 in restitution and a $5,000 fine.
Be it resolved that UFT take a public stance against the closing of JHS 145 by organizing and mobilizing with the chapter, parents, and community for a march and rally at DOE headquarters to pressure Chancellor Farina into halting the closure
Be it further resolved that the UFT will adjourn the March 22nd Delegate Assembly at 5:30pm and encourage all delegates to attend the Panel For Education Policy in order to voice our opposition to the closing of JHS 145.
Please consider printing out this two-sided flyer and distributing it to the UFT members in your network. It includes upcoming events to allow your colleagues to plug into the work MORE is doing across the city. It’s time to wake the sleeping giant of the UFT to defend our students, our members, and our schools against Trump, Cuomo, DeVos, “Right to Work”, and whatever else the enemies of public education have in store for us.
Looking through the UFT’s guide to the new NYC teacher evaluation system, I find myself wondering how it’s being read by educators coming from schools that vary widely in terms of educator autonomy, pedagogical philosophy and levels of trust between administration and staff. We are being told that our evaluation system will require our full comprehension and maintenance of: measures of teacher practice observation option selection forms, evaluator forms, consistent update of class lists/rosters, observation options A, B, C, D, the Matrix, and MOSL options (project based learning assessments, student learning inventories, performance based assessments, and progress monitoring assessments), not to mention how this plays out for what people teach (elementary/middle/high school, alternative assessment, English as a New Language, content areas, etc).
It is easily overwhelming. We are still figuring out the last evaluation system and living through the most rapidly changing succession of teacher evaluations in history. The truth is, we are being led by our tails. There are only two things to know:
1) We should be upset, very upset. These were closed negotiations that, yet again, involved very little, if any, teacher input in the discussion of a system that is purporting to improve student achievement. It should not be considered normal for dues paying members to be handed a deal without having any democratic process for input. Any active teacher working with students could explain the complexities of the work we do, including factors that are not in our control and which cannot be measured and quantified. This lack of teacher voice leads to the continual and misguided reliance on the use of invalid metrics we know as the value added model.
2) Teacher evaluations based on metrics with any high stakes involvement is all about perpetuating a lean production model that narrows our teaching and students’ learning. The corporate education reform agenda initiated its systematic attack on public schools by casting its teachers as the source of the problem. Our union leadership, in an effort to placate this aggressive attack on our profession, used the only strategy it knows: attempting to throw its weight around the proverbial table. Pandering to the notion of teacher evaluation based on unfounded formulas of value added models, and doing this without acknowledging the casualties of the systemic attack thus far, is unacceptable.
The 240,000 opt outs across New York State triggered a move towards the current moratorium on the use of state standardized tests, not the negotiating of the UFT leadership as they often like to credit themselves with. The reason ENL teachers are still evaluated using the Common Core aligned NYSESLAT and teachers of students who get alternative assessments are evaluated by that is because there has not been a high percentage of opt outs for those tests.
In regard to the MoTP portion of our evaluation, please read James Eterno’s ICE Blog piece on the matter. We now have two more required observations in our agreement for tenured teachers beyond the two required by state law and practiced in most districts. In a climate of high stakes where many, if not most, of New York City’s teachers experience observations as “gotcha” opportunities for administrators to intimidate and demoralize, the increase does not promote space for continual growth in teaching practice.
It does not matter what MOSL option we choose- it becomes distorted when stakes are attached. Using performance based assessments or any tools we use to drive instruction for our students a huge problem! What kind of metric for teacher value will be attached to our authentic forms of assessment? How will they- those designated to make up the arbitrary percentages- determine the scores and how much value will be added?
As we already know, this evaluation deal has nothing to do with improving outcomes for our students but everything to do with creating a system that breaks us and our union to further the privatization agenda. It is political. This is not just a criticism of our leadership’s practices; this is a proposal to engage rank and file members in the process before it is truly too late.
The overarching theme at 52 Broadway on Wednesday was paperwork. There’s a lot of paperwork, too much paperwork, paperwork is the scourge of civilization, and the number one concern of UFT members is paperwork. Principals are evil, among other reasons, because they don’t hand teachers paperwork filled with curriculum, scope and sequence. Mulgrew goes off on tangents, makes in jokes with his BFFs, but every road leads back to paperwork.
I’m sure there are abuses of paperwork. I’m sure there are abuses in making teachers write curriculum. I’ve seen them, and I’ve moved to correct them. Now, though, there is a form for that. I certainly hope it’s more effective and less restrictive than the APPR complaint form.
In my job, I get complaints all the time, from all sorts of people. In my building, at least, paperwork is not a particularly pressing concern. Members are more concerned with ratings. Why did this AP walk in and see things that didn’t happen? How come when a dozen kids raise their hands, on video, my supervisor sees only two? Why does he always observe me last period on Friday before vacation in my worst class? Can Mulgrew really get rid of crazy supervisors? That would be something good for everyone, even remaining supervisors who aren’t crazy.
Mulgrew shared some interesting news. We’re going to replace the test-based junk science in the APPR system (the one Mulgrew himself had a hand in writing and creating) with authentic measures, or it’s no deal. What will they be? Who knows? Portfolios perhaps. You may recall them rearing their heads maybe twenty years ago. You needed a portfolio for every student. It needed to be in the classroom at all times. If you didn’t have one it was the end of the world. Until the next year, when portfolios were out, passe, utterly without value.
And with the new matrix, the portfolios, or whatever the hell there is, will count for half your rating. This, evidently, will reduce the principal’s input to 50, rather than 60 percent (or perhaps less, with the magical outside observers who know nothing about you, your school, what you do, or who you teach). Of course Mulgrew vehemently denies that the matrix makes the junk science/ authentic ratings or whatever they may end up being 50 percent. But with only two axes, it’s hard for mathematically-challenged individuals such as myself to fathom why they don’t count for half. On the other hand, if they actually do not count for half, won’t the principal still have the lion’s share of control in evaluation?