Thursday, October 24, 2013

Teachers Suffer, UFT Leadership Spins

This comment from professional Unity-New Action apologist Peter Goodman appears at Gotham Schools:

On the just released state teacher evaluation 50% of teachers were "highly effective" and 41% "effective" with 1% "ineffective," these do include NYC, our plan just started, so, just maybe, teachers were overreacting .. On the grades 3-8 scores teachers in NYC scored considerably better than the rest of the state.
Take a deep breath, maybe the guys and gals who negotiated the plan on the union side knew what they were doing.

It's a fact that VAM has never proven to be effective, and it's a fact that anyone who fails the junk science part of this plan must be rated ineffective overall. It's another fact that city teachers can get those ratings based on test results of kids they've never met, let alone taught. No one even understands this system we have, and I see no evidence that Goodman is the exception that proves the rule. In case he thinks those stats preclude problems for teachers over junk science VAM, take a good look at Syracuse.

In Syracuse, for example, fully 40 percent of the teachers were deemed to be “developing” or “ineffective” and must create improvement plans — a much higher failure rate than most school systems.

The "guys and gals" who "negotiated" the plan on the union side left it in the hands of John King, in case anyone forgot, and are busily reminding us the plan they'd negotiated with DOE was better. This, of course, is after they assured us this plan was great because we could negotiate it, which we did not. According to Gotham Schools, arbitrator John King imposed more evaluations than either DOE or UFT wanted.

Previously, UFT leadership assured us this plan was great because it was only 40% junk science rather than 50. Like many people, I was surprised to learn that 40 equals 100 when you fail. Frankly, I don't sense UFT credibility on this with working teachers is all that strong anymore.

Illuminating though can be to get the insights of someone long out of the classroom who supports UFT policies all the time no matter what, mayoral control, which we also supported, hasn't worked well for us. Common Core, with no field-testing whatsoever, isn't working out all that great either. Don't just go by teachers--ask parents who watch their young children grappling with developmentally inappropriate tasks. UFT calls for a moratorium on high stakes fall on the same deaf ears that call parents "special interests." If the "guys and gals" did such a swell job, why do we even need a moratorium?

With all due respect, comments like Goodman's don't reflect the remotest notion of what's going on out here with those of us who actually work for a living. While I'm beginning to see this as UFT party line, I hope for all our sakes they come up with something better.

I pity the chapter leader who has to tell members facing high-stakes evaluation, "Take a deep breath, the guys and gals at UFT did a swell job."
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