Sunday, April 19, 2015

Absurd Assertions from UFT-Unity Apologist

Peter Goodman has a pretty cool gig as unofficial UFT Unity blogger and often broadcasts the rationales for various and sundry counterproductive decisions by leadership. He wrote pieces in Edwize defending the 2005 contract, and like every good UFT Unity Caucus member, supports all their decisions. His most recent blog, cited by Randi Weingarten on Twitter, concerns the Heavy Hearts Club Agreement to rate us largely on state test scores. I will not link to his blog. 

Goodman wrote maybe a thousand words and they seem to move here and there. He's got a roundabout approach to writing. His primary point, which he takes some time at reaching, appears to be that there is marginally less chance you will be rated ineffective under the matrix than the percentage plan. This is an absurd contention.

For one thing, UFT insisted there was little chance anyone would be rated ineffective under the current system. Leo Casey wrote various posts on Edwize attacking Carol Burris and showing charts that suggested people would have to get very low scores on exams for that to happen. More importantly, a very small percentage of people were rated ineffective. While of course this is no consolation whatsoever to those who were, now possibly facing job loss, this is a fact Mulgrew regularly brings up at the DA to ridicule those of us who've opposed the junk science system from its inception.

More to the point, the new system was expressly designed for the purpose of firing more teachers. Cuomo's right out there in public, saying he wants to break the "public school monopoly," you know, the school system it's ostensibly his job to champion and run. If indeed Mulgrew is half as clever as he claims to be, if indeed he planned this system so as to result in few poor ratings for teachers, this plan has backfired, and quite spectacularly.

The new law, passed by our so-called allies in the Assembly, grants little flexibility to districts and strongly ties our jobs, our tenure, and our fate to state test results that will have little to do with what happens in our classrooms. For this, Mulgrew thanked the legislature. Any teacher who's actually read this is unlikely to do the same.

Someone has to stick his hand in the freshly produced elephant dung and try to pull out a prize. I'm grateful that it's Peter Goodman and not me. I have no reason whatsoever to believe this new system will help a single teacher or student, and am very much persuaded it will result in dissuading thoughtful teachers from entering the profession. It will cause deserving, potentially great teachers to not only be denied tenure, but also be dismissed.

If you don't think the do-or-die test scores will be an incentive for administrators, fearful for their own jobs, to issue negative observation and performance reports, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
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