Tuesday, July 07, 2015

NYSUT, 3020a, and the Newly Sharpened Sword of Danielson--Burden of Proof Is on You

NYSUT has published a fact sheet on the Cuomo/ Heavy Hearts revision of state APPR. It is less than encouraging, to say the least. The thing that really stands out, the thing I hadn't heard at all before, is this--

  • If a teacher receives two consecutive ineffective ratings, the district may bring a 3020-a proceeding and the burden of proof shifts to the teacher with the hearing completed within 90 days.

This is something new. No more UFT Rat Squad, because it's now a LOSE-LOSE. No matter what happens, it's on you to prove you are not incompetent. (Sorry, all you UFT members who took money to rat out your colleagues. Doubtless other opportunities will present themselves. Maybe you can be peer observers.) So if the Boy Wonder Supervisor determines it's time to dump you, you get classes calculated to fail the junk science portion, you get bad writeups, the Boy Wonder sees things that didn't happen, fails to see things that did, and two years later you have to prove he's lying, likely with no evidence whatsoever.

Another interesting development is the Teacher Improvement Plan (TIP). While the UFT agreement states that it should be collaborative, because perhaps you as a teacher have some inkling as to where and how you can improve, the Cuomo/ Heavy Hearts plan does away with that entirely. If the Boy Wonder states you have to do 20 pull ups every lunch period to attain Nirvana, that's pretty much what you have to do.

There is an appeals process, but I'm not clear it will help UFT members who have insane supervisors. There are specific grounds for appeal, but unless you've actually videotaped lessons it won't help teachers with supervisors who make stuff up or selectively rate things.

NYSUT plans to appeal the TIP requirement, and to try to attain more realistic scoring bands. What I don't see is any objection to burden of proof on 3020a or general objection to junk science. Naturally I'm shocked, since I watched all the Revive/ Unity candidates, none of whom lifted a finger to stop the APPR law, relentlessly criticize Richard Iannuzzi for having negotiated it. Oddly, none criticized Mulgrew, who was there at the side.

Since Mulgrew praised the Heavy Hearts for having negotiated this abomination, he owns it. And so does his subsidiary, Revive NYSUT/ Unity.

It is our job to inspire children. How we do that with the Sword of Danielson hanging over our heads is a mystery, to say the least. It's unconscionable that our leader, Mike Mulgrew, expressed support for this abomination. How on earth does he get all punchy over Common Core, used to label us as failures, and not raise fist one over this?

It's good to see the possibility this awful system will be delayed for one more year. As someone who teaches beginning ELLs who will certainly bomb on tests, particularly tests like the NYSESLAT that fail even to measure what I teach, I see it as a one year reprieve from being fired for the crime of doing my job. This system will cause teachers to teach to the test as a fundamental survival technique. As per Campbell's Law, as per history, it will inspire cheating.

As per common sense, it will do nothing to address the factors that contribute to low test scores, which are exclusively economic. But with New York State manipulating test scores to prove whatever they wish proven, along with Governor Cuomo's well-documented desire to fire more unionized teachers, things are looking particularly dismal for us this week.
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