Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The New Spirit of the DOE

It's a new day in NYC. We have a new chancellor, who's publicly declared that he will not say anything bad about teachers. I'm certain you won't hear him do so. Walcott is a seasoned politician, and anyway, he's got the NY Post to do all the dirty work.

Even so, when you read this, about the DOE's determination to release value-added scores of highly dubious value, you have to wonder why in the world anyone would trust them. I'm sure I questioned the UFT's wisdom in making a deal to study value-added at the time, what with it having no validity whatsoever, and the DOE has made me a genius by reneging utterly on the deal.

Regrettably, we have a history of making ridiculous deals with the DOE, perhaps most egregiously this utterly unenforceable class size agreeement. I am hopeful that we will refrain from making any further such deals, as both demonstrate that the DOE is simply not to be trusted.

Here's the thing, though--we are in the business of educating kids, and it would be advantageous for everyone if we could function in an atmosphere of trust. The DOE, by indulging in such preposterous nonsense, precludes trust.  And honestly, if you can't trust your partner, you can't be a partner.

From a UFT perspective, I hope that all of us, particularly our leaders, understand the toxic atmosphere fostered by Bloomberg, with Walcott taking part in every step, means no deals without explicit written guarantees, with collateral, penalties, and whatever else it takes to compel to keep their word.

From a DOE perspective, it behooves you to work with us, rather than lie to us. It's nice that Walcott refrains from badmouthing us, but if he really wants to change things, he'll have to let us know that his department is not a bunch of lying weasels, waiting for whatever opportunity to slur us for no reason. It can be done. However, reneging on an explicit agreement with the largest teacher local in the country is hardly a good start.

What can Walcott do to tear down the wall between teachers and administration?
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