Archive for November, 2011

Support Dignity for ATRs

from the October 2011 New Action leaflet for the UFT Delegate Assembly

New Action is proud to support this bipartisan resolution. As part of the no-layoff agreement, ATRs can be forced to move every week; let’s make sure they are greeted in their new chapters, and that all Chapter Leaders understand and look out for their rights.

 Does this resolve the mess the DoE has created? No. As long as the DoE has a system that creates teachers without positions, be it by “school closing as policy” or by discouraging principals from hiring experienced staff, we have a problem.

But today we send a message to Bloomberg and Walcott and those who would vilify ATRs: these are our colleagues; we stand together.


October 2011

There has been much discussion of the “Danielson framework” – an evaluation system based on the work of Charlotte Danielson, designed to promote professional conversation and growth. Clearly Department of Education administrators are abusing the framework, using it to promote drive-by observations, using it for ratings when no system has been agreed.

The professional conversation piece – really the part Danielson herself created – is interesting. In the right hands it might even be pro-teacher. But today, that’s not the point.

In the hands of administrators who do not collaborate, this framework becomes a weapon pointed at us. Michael Mulgrew, Ernest Logan, and Dennis Walcott wrote a letter seeking to curb abuse of the framework. But why was the letter necessary?  Did hundreds of principals independently misunderstand the DoE’s intention? Or in the toxic atmosphere of Bloomberg’s third term, do many principals assume their job is to go after teachers? Reports from many schools testify to the lack of collaboration.

We continue to be extremely concerned. Who is evaluating us, and what are their credentials, what is their experience? Will outsiders evaluate? Are administrators with little or no teaching experience qualified to evaluate us? How many observations will occur? What protections will we have against abuse, what safeguards? What will the teacher improvement plan look like? How will the appeals process work? In the current system, we lose all our appeals of U-ratings. How different will the new system be?

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November 2011