Thursday, January 31, 2013

UFT--Champion of Junk Science

It's pretty remarkable the situation we now find ourselves in. If there's a problem with an evaluation system, you wouldn't expect a teacher union to see the addition of junk science as an improvement. You'd be wrong, of course, You'd think, if the uber-reformy mayor opposed the new junk science system, union leadership would say, "Whew! What a relief," and move on. Wrong again.

In fact, now, with the mayor insisting that any junk science system we institute must be written in stone and  carry the gravatas of the Ten Commandments, you'd think the union would say, "Well, any system ought to be subject to review, and when the mayor chooses to be reasonable, we'll be happy to negotiate." I guess you'd be wrong again.

Because when Andy "I am the government" Cuomo announced he wanted to simply impose a system, the UFT President said, in effect, "Sure, go ahead." And UFT leadership, for reasons that defy every logical thought I've ever been near, seems to assume that people who know about education will make decisions about said system.

First of all, anyone who knows about education believes in research rather than voodoo. This precludes VAM right out of the gate. Second, Cuomo, who champions other things that don't work, like tax breaks for zillionaires and  merit pay, who stocks his blue-ribbon panels with non-educators, is hardly likely to come up with anything remotely reasonable.

Wasn't it Cuomo who pushed back Bloomberg's efforts to kill LIFO, citing the new evaluation plan? Does that in itself not imply Cuomo sees this as a vehicle to fire teachers, Mayor Bloomberg's long-cherished wish?

I cannot fathom what UFT leadership is thinking turning this over to the state. After having heard them repeatedly boast that we will negotiate a system, and that it will therefore be OK, they're now saying we won't negotiate a system and it will be okay anyway.

Does this mean the Delegate Assembly, who denied rank and file a vote on the evaluation system, will themselves be shut out of voting? Not that this would be a big deal, because if Unity/New Action proposed jumping out the window en masse, there's little doubt the overwhelming majority of chapter leaders would battle to see who could jump first or fastest. So I suppose this is a moot point.

When I asked why our arbitration was not binding, as is that of NYPD, I was told it was because we'd previously lost in binding arbitration. So why on earth, when looking at what's more than likely the most crucial issue facing our union since I joined it, are we contemplating it now?

Inquiring minds want to know.
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