Friday, October 05, 2012

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.

Actually, in the case of unions, it probably doesn't matter whether the deed was good, bad or otherwise. The editorial pages made up their minds long ago.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew wrote an opinion piece in the Daily News, explaining that it is, in fact, Bloomberg who's blocking the much-vaunted evaluation system that we've all been reading about. Mulgrew correctly points out that there is a framework, and that he was instrumental in establishing it.

UFT sources have told me that Bloomberg is still angry that 13% of working teachers will be able to get fair hearings to appeal ineffective ratings, and therefore won't act toward making it happen. I believe that. It's ironic, because personally, I'm more upset about the 87% of the teachers who won't get a fair hearing.

So Mulgrew put out an olive branch, and told the truth. What does he get for his efforts? Well, this looks like a slap in the face from the News editorial board. The News editorial is superficial, and unpersuasive to anyone who knows the facts, but who knows how many News readers know the facts? There's a larger point here.

It doesn't pay to give in to the "reformers." Give them an inch, and they complain you still have one yourself. The plan to "reform" teacher evaluations is a great case in point. By capitulating to the idiocies perpetrated by Education Secretary/ DFER Stooge Arne Duncan, NY teachers will now be judged by VAM, which is nothing more than junk science. Hundreds of DC teachers have been fired on precisely this basis, and bringing this to our state will benefit no one but those wishing to see more teachers randomly fired.

Precisely how are evaluations improved by adding junk science to the mix? "Reformers" want to fire as many teachers as possible, and this will certainly allow them to hit some they wouldn't get otherwise. The union complains, justifiably, that supervisors can be arbitrary or vindictive when rating teachers. Is there a perfect system? Probably not. Is there a better one. Probably.

But here we are, in 2012, discussing whether it's 20%, 25%, 40%, or even 100% junk science we will use to evaluate the people who teach our children. How much, precisely, do you think junk science will help us to do that?
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