Saturday, March 30, 2013

Who's Afraid of Julie Cavanagh?

These are very tough times for teachers. We're facing an evaluation system that appears to be substantially based on nonsense. Mayor Bloomberg openly discusses his desire to hold teachers' feet to the fire, and when he says fire, that's certainly what he wishes to do to us. Governor Cuomo is now buying Bloomberg's argument that junk science agreements ought not to sunset, and stating they ought to remain in effect until and unless they are renegotiated.

Unity/ New Action's Mike Mulgrew was party to the negotiation of the law that subjects us to this. I've heard people defend it, along the lines of it subjecting teachers to less junk science than other states do. I've heard Mulgrew say that an agreement will be based on student improvement from the baseline of wherever they happen to be as opposed to their ability to pass some arbitrary standard. I haven't heard of or seen any study suggesting this is a valid way to judge teachers, but on the other hand we're discussing a system that does not yet exist. The UFT seems to trust John King to decide what it should be in binding arbitration, and I'd certainly like to hear why.

This system is likely the most crucial change to our profession in the 28 years I've been teaching, I say hell yes we need to hear from our candidates. If Mulgrew's vision is correct, if it is indeed the way we should go, why not say so? If Julie Cavanagh's vision is flawed, unrealistic, or whatever, why not show us all?

It's remarkable that UFT leadership could assume that we don't deserve to hear from the candidate, and a NY Post article has confirmed that to be the case.

I've not yet been persuaded this system will help teachers. In fact, I think it will cause good teachers to be fired, as we know has been the case in DC. I don't want that to happen to one single working teacher.

However, I'd very much like to be proven wrong. And if Mike Mulgrew can convince me I'm wrong, I'll gladly vote for Unity.

So here's the thing--will Unity/ New Action ask their candidate to debate?

Or are they afraid?

There's really not a third possibility.
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