Teacher Evaluation and Binding Arbitration – No Way to Go!

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the February 2013 UFT Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: NA/UFT 02/2013 leaflet

“Cuomo told Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew that if they can’t hammer out an agreement for an evaluation system by Feb. 22, he’d submit an amendment to his new budget plan giving the state Education Department authority to impose its own evaluation system on New York City educators.” (New York Post 2/4/13) The article further states that, “Last week, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a strong teachers-union ally, and the leaders of the Senate made clear that they’re ready to back Cuomo in imposing a settlement on the city.”

UFT President Michael Mulgrew welcomed Governor Cuomo’s involvement. According to the New York Times (1/30/13) President Mulgrew is quoted as saying, “…while we would prefer a negotiated settlement, it’s good to know that should talks fail again, people who actually understand education will be part of the decision making process. ” “Parents need to know that, thanks to the governor and the legislative leaders, there will be no further  risk of the loss of state money for our schools.”

This is disastrous on a number of accounts. Firstly, binding arbitration on the teacher evaluation system is a disgrace. Our union should never agree to have the state intercede and impose a settlement on our working conditions. Secondly, if the UFT leadership believed it was impossible to negotiate with Bloomberg (and that is all too evident) they should never have agreed to push for Race to the Top. We might as well have asked for the State to impose an evaluation system. Thirdly, the Race to the Top monies (750 million) will be used to implement a teacher evaluation system (ie. money for consultants, validators, test design, and coming up with systems to evaluate teachers, etc.) WHAT A SCAM! And to tell the public education is losing hundreds of millions!

New Action opposes binding arbitration. PERIOD! We oppose any new evaluation system that uses test scores (up to 40%) to rate teachers. Perhaps it’s too late to avoid this trap but members should know when they’re being sold a bill of goods.

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