Monday, October 21, 2013

UFT Charter Opts Out of Evaluation System

It's kind of funny when the NY Post and Mayor Bloomberg ridicule the UFT because their charter is not subject to the shiny new junk science evaluation system we're all suffering through. Bloomberg contends the kids will never catch up, and calls it tragic. And yet, when Reformy John King's Uncommon Schools take the same option, he doesn't have one word to say about it.

It really ought to be people like me criticizing the UFT charter. But I won't, because they made the right call. The evaluation system is cumbersome, time-consuming and ultimately unproductive. No one even understands it, and while the fanatics over at DOE promise us a "soup to nuts" explanation, I expect more of a soup from nuts, riddled with inaccuracies.

UFT ought to stick to their guns and find a more reasonable way to assess their teachers. And yet, UFT regularly tells me that we needed this system because the old one allowed administrators to do whatever they wished. So, if they love the new system so much, if it represents such a stellar improvement, why on earth don't they use it in their school? It's pretty clear they understand how convoluted and insane it is, and have made the utterly sound decision not to go with it.

So I don't ask UFT why they chose not to use such an awful system in their charter. I ask only why they ever supported using one on the rest of us, the overwhelming majority of city teachers.While I'm glad they're filing formal grievances over the ineptitude of the DOE in instituting this monstrosity, I continue to wonder why they can't just come to their senses and admit they made a mistake in forming this law.

Of course I don't expect any admission of wrongdoing from UFT leadership. I've been teaching almost 30 years and I've never seen anything of the sort. Sure, they will change policies, like allowing teachers to be judged by test scores, or creating the awful practice of making teachers ATRs, but saying they were wrong? Never.

It's too bad. Remember when the big selling point of the law they helped write was that only 40% of a teacher's rating would be developed via junk science? That was before we learned that failing that portion would render teachers ineffective overall, and subject to dismissal if it happened twice in a row.

This system is simply awful. And the sooner UFT admits it, the sooner it will regain credibility with members. I have never, ever seen morale so low and teachers so panicked. Saying to wait for the next mayor, a song I've now heard the UFT sing for three decades, is not going to cut it for working teachers.
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