Archive for the 'Teacher Evaluation' Category

Where we agree, where we disagree

From New Action’s May 2016 Leaflet

Where We Agree

We agree that 200 lawyers at Tweed is about 200 too many. But we need leadership that tells this to Fariña, sits down, and gets something done.

We agree that the current funding formula for schools makes no sense, that principals are forced to discriminate against experienced teachers, that schools, kids, teachers all get hurt. But we need leadership that tells this to Fariña, sits down, and gets something done.

We agree that abusive and incompetent administrators are a problem. But we need leadership that restores and expands the Principals In Need of Improvement Program, resurrects the highly successful Organizing Committee, and targets principals who go after our members, leadership that brings the abusers to Fariña, sits down, and gets them out.

We agree that arbitrary extensions of probation are unfair. But we need a leadership that tells this to Fariña, sits down, and gets something done.

We agree that parents have a right to opt their children out of tests. But we need leadership that actively informs parents of this right.

Where We Disagree

We disagree with a leadership that insists that student test scores be part of our evaluation.

We disagree with a leadership that is in love with the Common Core. We disagree with one-size-fits all in math, and we can’t believe that teachers are being stopped from teaching whole books and are limited to chapters or excerpts.

We disagree with creating separate, unequal “rights” for members in excess.

And we disagree with jobs and promotions being given out based on obedience to a caucus instead of merit.

Vote MORE/New Action

Combat Abusive Administrators – Return to Fair Funding! – Get rid of the Lawyers! – Protect Probationers

Protect ATRs – Fight for Union Democracy – End “Drive By” and “Test Score” Teacher Evaluation

Support Jia Lee, Opt Out Leader, for UFT President

For Appropriate Supervision

New Action introduced the following resolution at the April 18, 2016 UFT Executive Board. It was tabled to allow details to be reviewed and corrected. We expect a revised resolution to be brought forward at the May 9 Executive Board.

For Appropriate Supervision

April 18, 2016

Whereas both the Danielson Framework and Teaching for the 21st Century envision consistent conversations between teachers and supervisors; and

Whereas these conversations are informed by the content of the class and associated standards, by the curriculum being followed, by the students assigned to the class, by the pedagogical orientation of the school, and by the culture of the school; and

Whereas some supervisors have more knowledge of all or some of the content, standards, curriculum, students, school pedagogy and school culture than other supervisors; and

Whereas teachers should go through observation cycles with the leader of the school or the most appropriate supervisor available; and

Whereas there exists a class of supervisors – ATR Field Supervisors – who are disconnected from students, from content, from school-specific pedagogy, from school-specific culture and who thereby are unable to engage in the rich conversations envisioned both in the Danielson Framework and Teaching for the 21st Century; and

Whereas ATR Field Supervisors perform a function that others could more appropriately perform, and could be assigned instead to productive roles;

Therefore be it resolved that the United Federation of Teachers will convey to the Department of Education our concern that some teachers are being observed by other than the most appropriate supervisor, and be it further

Resolved that the United Federation of Teachers will immediately open discussions with the Department of Education to reassign administrators who are currently ATR Field Supervisors to appropriate assignments, and be it further

Resolved that the United Federation of Teachers will feature a series of New York Teacher and website articles on the appropriate role and function of supervisors in our school system.

Delink testing from evaluation!

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the March 2016 UFT Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: Leaflet 2016 March 

Race to the Top (RttT) pushed states to adopt teacher evaluation schemes that included student standardized test scores as part of teacher evaluation. Bad idea.

Obama’s new Education Law (ESSA), signed three months ago, drops this onerous requirement. So now is the time to fix this horrible mistake in New York State law, right?

Not so fast. The UFT’s current Unity leadership said: “We need to be cautious,” as they prevented the Executive Board from voting to lobby for change to NY State law.

AFT Connecticut and the Connecticut Education Association joined forces to change that state’s RttT law. Legislation left committee last week – the teachers’ unions got that done.

We have a joint resolution with MORE today to do that same sort of productive lobbying in New York. Please vote yes to allow this important discussion to come to the floor.

(Note – Even though many delegates voted to discuss this resolution, Unity Caucus managed to block discussion by about 70-30. Unity members are not permitted to think for themselves, but are required to raise their cards in unison.)

Get Test Scores Out of Teacher Evaluation

New Action urges: no test scores in teacher evaluation. Unity responds by not letting members vote.

At the January 11, 2016 UFT Executive Board meeting, New Action urged opposition to the use of test scores to evaluate teachers, and urged that we use the four year moratorium to lobby for a change in New York State Education Law to remove student test scores from teacher evaluation in New York State.

A Unity leader moved to table, and it was in fact tabled, on a caucus-line vote.

The difference is that we asked to take a stand against using tests to rate teachers, but Michael Mulgrew and Unity only want to delay using the tests, claiming against all evidence that it will be possible, four years down the road, to fairly rate teachers based on test scores. They want a pause (they have it), but they still favor rating teachers based on tests.

New Action continues to oppose rating teachers based on tests.

Resolution on delinking testing from evaluation

New Action urges: delink teacher evaluation from test scores. Unity responds by not letting members vote.

The following resolution was presented by Jonathan Halabi (New Action) at the Monday, January 11 UFT Executive Board meeting. A representative from Unity moved to table (could be for future consideration, but usually this parliamentary procedure is used to kill a motion, but spares members their caucus on the board from voting No), and it was in fact tabled, on a caucus-line vote.

The speaker did not present a clear case (which we would otherwise report). In fact, the difference is that we asked to take a stand against using tests to rate teachers, but Unity only wants to delay using the tests, claiming against all evidence that it will be possible, four years down the road, to fairly rate teachers based on test scores. They want a pause (they have it), but they still favor rating teachers based on tests.

New Action continues to oppose rating teachers based on tests.

Resolution on delinking testing from evaluation

Whereas the US Department of Education’s Race to the Top forced states to adopt teacher evaluation schemes that included the use of student test scores, and

Whereas New York State adopted a new teacher evaluation scheme that incorporates student test scores, and

Whereas the test score component of a teacher’s evaluation is arbitrary, and varies more school to school than teacher to teacher, and New York State has refused to reveal how the test score component of evaluations are calculated, and in a decade of using such scores (including previous schemes) such schemes have shown no evidence that they can work, and

Whereas President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, replacing No Child Left Behind and dropping the requirement that test scores be used in teacher evaluation, and

Whereas the New York State Board of Regents voted for a four year moratorium on using Common Core tests as part of teacher evaluation,

Therefore be it resolved that NYSUT opposes the use of test scores to evaluate teachers, and be it further

Resolved that NYSUT and its locals will use traditional media and social media to publicize this stance, and be it further

Resolved that NYSUT will communicate this opposition to all its locals across New York State, and to the AFT, and be it further

Resolved that NYSUT will use the period of the four year moratorium to lobby for a change in New York State Education law to remove student test scores from teacher evaluation in New York State.

New Action Proposals and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision for NYC Schools

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the September 2015 UFT Citywide Chapter Leaders Meeting).
For a printable version click: Leaflet 2015 September

In his first day back to school remarks “Equity and Excellence” Major Bill de Blasio laid out two goals for our schools and school children. First was to increase the graduation rate, which stands at 68.4%. Second was to make sure those graduates have the skills to make it to the next level. His initiative to provide free, full-day pre-kindergarten is already a major accomplishment. His commitment to work with educators and not against them is a great advance over his predecessor, Mayor Bloomberg.

He laid out six measures 1) giving educators the preparation and support they need to teach Common Core standards; 2) for teachers to work collaboratively with one another; 3) for schools to be safe and supported; 4) to make parents welcome and to open lines of communication; 5) to have school leaders with a strong vision and to open to feedback from the school community; and 6) to develop a sense of real trust throughout the school community. New Action applauds many of these goals, with the obvious exception of Common Core.

New Action would add several points to the Mayor’s list. Reduce class size. Remove the threat of being rated ineffective due to standardized test scores (See Sherri Lederman of Long Island). On trust the Mayor and Chancellor must do much more – administrators need to act collaboratively with staff – not just give feedback. Too many administrators still go after outspoken staff members, rate them unfairly, and target veteran teachers. Administrators should be held accountable for training probationers, and arbitrary discontinuances should be questioned. Schools in New York have become the most segregated in the nation – the Mayor needs to address issues of diversity. The City must also correct the sharp decline of teachers of color in NYC. We welcome much of Mayor de Blasio’s vision and sincerely hope he is receptive of several of New Action’s suggestions.

New Action 2015 – 2016 Priority Issues

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the September 2015 UFT Citywide Chapter Leaders Meeting).
For a printable version click: Leaflet 2015 September

Abusive Administrators – Identify them, retrain them, work to remove them

Teacher Evaluation – mitigate the effects, seek to repeal the State law tying ratings to test scores

Probationers and ATRs – protect vulnerable members from arbitrary and vindictive administrators