Friday, May 14, 2010

From the Folks Who Brought You the 2005 Contract:

I'm still trying to get my head around the agreement the UFT and NYSUT made to re-do the teacher evaluation system.  After having read voices like Diane Ravitch and Aaron Pallas on "value-added" measures of teacher effectiveness, I'm fairly convinced that there is no way to use it effectively.  That's one reason I was wary to see the UFT get into bed with Bill Gates and his "Measures of Effective Teaching" program.

Mulgrew told the DA in September that we needed to participate so as to be part of this discussion, but apparently the discussion is moot since they made the deal without even waiting for the results.   There is a Q and A at which pretty much lays out the union position.   I was very curious about the teacher input I'd been hearing about.

How much say will teachers have in the new system?
Throughout the process, the role of collective bargaining is maintained, and, in many ways, strengthened. All of the elements comprising the composite score must be developed through state and local negotiations. The agreement states that the new teacher evaluation and improvement system would also be a “significant factor” in employment decisions such as a career ladder to positions such as lead teacher, mentor or coach that could lead to supplemental compensation, promotion into administrative positions, and tenure determination as well as in teacher professional development. But how the evaluations will figure into those decisions must be determined locally through collective bargaining. If no agreement can be reached, the old system will remain in place.

It appears the "teacher input" is restricted to those who control the union--the folks who brought us the 05 contract which was the best thing since sliced bread (highly overrated when you consider all those artisan breads you can bring home and cut yourself.)  The best I can see is if we don't reach an agreement, the old arrangement stays in place.  If we do reach an agreement, watch the eraser sales at Staples quadruple as teachers and administrators all over the state scramble to inflate scores.

And, as Mr. A Talk pointed out, the Q and A fails to mention you're terminated 60 days after two unfavorable ratings.

What are you going to do if the teacher who preceded you inflated scores?  How will you explain the massive losses you incur by the woeful liability of your incredible honesty?  How are you going to resist your supervisor imploring you to pass that kid who set off the stink bomb while the principal was observing you?

Hey, I hope I'm wrong.  I really, really do.

But these negotiation techniques are beyond my meager comprehension.  When the mayor refuses to give you the pattern, the one he gave all the other unions, the one he's held you to for decades, you don't give him the end of the rubber room.  You make him pay.

And when the morons who write op-eds attack you, you fight back.  You attack them in the media, even if you've blown your advertising budget with a cute but pointless cartoon. You don't appease them.  Why not?  Because when you do, they say it's not good enough and ask for more.

In fact, they don't appreciate our short-sighted, idiotic, pointless giveaways one bit. 

Nor do I, truth be told.
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