Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lucky 7?

UFT President Mulgrew says about 7% of teachers will have bad ratings under the new evaluation system.  If this is the case, a lot more teachers will be looking at early retirement, a push off the cliff, or whatever you want to call losing your job over junk science. Around the country, the new junk science systems have not really changed things very much. If Mulgrew is right, NY is going to be worse off than most of the country, despite the fact that we're only at 40% junk science rather than 50 or more.

Another source of mine suggested that 7% is not the anticipated figure for NYC, but rather for NY State.  This person further stated that this was expected to be the average, that suburbs were expected to have fewer bad ratings, and that urban areas with more high-needs students were expected to have more. So if that's true, prepare to see even more of our members facing unemployment, surely the only thing Mayor4Life wants.

It's my understanding the union already negotiated a plan to appeal these much more serious bad ratings. First of all, the burden of proof will not necessarily be on the DOE anymore. Up until now, they needed to establish your incompetence before firing you. Now, a "validator" will observe you year two, after your bad rating. If the validator says thumbs up, you're fantastic, they will still need to establish your incompetence. However, if the validator says you stink, you will need to prove you are NOT incompetent, and your tenure will mean virtually nothing.

Sometimes I go to meetings and UFT reps find my concern over the new evaluation system so hilarious they crack wise over it. Here's another thing one rep laughed over--I said only 13% of poorly rated teachers would get a fair hearing. He said I wasn't always right. I suppose that's true, but if I'm not, Leo Casey is also wrong. Since Casey also points Walcott uses a rubber stamp to deny 99.5% of rating appeals, with such high stakes, we need a new system.

That system, of course, is that UFT will pick 13% of bad ratings and send them to an independent arbitrator. This assumes, of course, that Reformy John King won't just decide the city can do whatever it golly gosh darn feels like. But let's see what happens if he doesn't.

13% is a number selected because it resembles the number of successful appeals back when someone less insane than Bloomberg was in office. However, if this independent arbitrator is selected by both the union and the city, isn't it likely he or she will try to find a balance in rulings, so as not to antagonize either employer? If this is the case, we'll likely see 6.5% successful appeals. And that assumes the UFT selects only the most outrageous of injustices. With so many 29-year-old Leadership Academy principals out there, there will be lots from which to choose.

I don't envy the UFT rep who has to tell 87% if poorly-rated teachers they will get a kangaroo-court appeal. On the other hand, extremist that I am, I think everyone should get a fair appeal.
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