Thursday, March 24, 2016

UFT Unity's Shiny New Talking Point

I actually blogged something very close to this a few days ago, but after hearing Mulgrew harp on it at the DA, after hearing it was mentioned before I showed up at a CL meeting, and after seeing tweets like the one below, I'm gonna address it directly.

First of all, this is a strawman, a logical fallacy. I have never, ever heard anyone from MORE say they want principals to have total control over evaluation. What MORE says is precisely what Diane Ravitch does, to wit, that teachers ought not to be rated by junk science. And that, frankly, is the only thing there is other than principal evaluations.

The other Unity talking point, one some Unity person threw at me on Twitter earlier today, is that there are only 700 double I rated teachers, down from 2,000 U rated teachers. I suppose that is from the last year they have records, but who really knows where they get that stuff from? Anyway, let's suppose they are correct. There is still a problem here.

Back in the bad old days when the principal had total control over evaluation, when that nasty principal sought to remove you via 3020a he had to prove you were incompetent. He had to make a case and demonstrate before an arbitrator that the stuff he wrote had validity. And that was a tough mountain to climb. That was why those mean old principals were so rarely successful.

Under the plan that Unity wants us to fall in love with, a double I-rated teacher has to prove he is not incompetent. That's a tough mountain to climb too, except it will be you climbing it instead of the principal. Now sure, there is the UFT Rat Squad, and if they say you're doing a swell job, the burden of proof will revert back to the principal. In fact, Unity will proudly declare they do just that 30% of the time. So what does that mean?

That means that 70% of the time, UFT teachers have the burden of proof on them. Compare that to the S-U system, when that happened precisely zero percent of the time.  And if that isn't enough, under the new Cuomo education law, the one the UFT declined to oppose, the one Mulgrew thanked the legislature for passing, we may not even get the dubious benefit of the UFT Rat Squad. Mulgrew says he's working on it, but as his caucus misrepresents MORE's position, it also condemns "small locals." That's code for Stronger Together, the new caucus in NYSUT that opposes the reformy nonsense Mulgrew and his BFFs have enabled for us.

And again, that non-principal evaluation stuff that Unity seems so proud of? It's VAM junk science. The American Statistical Association has determined that teachers move test scores by a factor of 1-14%. Yet in our evaluations, it counts 40%, and next year could count 50. And who knows? Maybe they help you out. In my high-performing school, I have seen members brought up from developing to effective, particularly the first year. It appears to me the supervisors wised up somewhat the second year, though, and started giving lower ratings to that lucky few. I could be wrong. But what difference does it make whether I am or not when our ratings are largely based on a crapshoot?

I know a person from another school who got an ineffective rating due solely to test scores. She was not precisely doing a jig over the new system. I'm sure she's not the only one. But if she is, she is one too many.

I am personally flabbergasted that this is the best talking point the highly compensated minds at Unity could muster. Back to the drawing board, fellas.
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