Archive for the 'test scores' Category

Coping with the new teacher evaluation

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the June 2013 UFT Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: Leaflet 2013 June

Coping with the new teacher evaluation

The system is here, like it or not. We are immediately faced with complexities: school-based committee to choose local measures, organizing 30 hours of PD next year, advising members on observation options, teaching members about professional conferences, domains, components, artifacts. Soon we will need to learn about how ratings are calculated, how test scores trump all, and the consequences for Ineffective Ratings, and, critically, for Developing Ratings.

Our Chapter Leaders need concrete information so we can properly participate in implementation, and assist our members. We need to know what to do if our principals don’t adhere to the rules. We need a central hotline for questions.

There will be time to point fingers. There will be time to write puff pieces. That time is not now. Now is the time to figure out how to protect our members and their rights.


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.

New Tenure Plan

You Could Be Removed (after 2 years) before the Letters in Your File (after 3 years)

New Action opposes the teacher evaluation system just proposed by the Board of Regents, with support from the NYSUT and UFT leaderships.

The proposal would base a significant part of each teacher’s rating, up to 40%, on test scores. We do not believe that even the best test of student achievement can provide an accurate measure of teacher effectiveness. But in New York State, where we know, and our union has repeatedly told us, the tests are broken?  Or, in New York City, where the City tests and Acuity tests are even worse?  Basing ratings on any tests would be bad enough, but on these?

The proposal would invest even more importance in standardized tests than they already have.  There would be pressure on teachers to do additional test prep. There would be pressure on teachers to inflate grades. Principals are already pressured by the poorly named Progress Reports to inflate grades, to play with numbers, to cheat. This proposal would establish that as the norm, would create schools and districts where the test scores and how to inflate them become the common culture. Our children our already over-tested.

The UFT just passed a resolution against extending testing down to K – 2. We should not be giving the state or administrators more reason to test kids, more reason to push teachers to teach what’s on the test rather than teach what the kids really need.

The proposal would change satisfactory and unsatisfactory, S and U, to “ineffective,” “developing,” “effective,”  and “highly effective.” Two years in a row of “ineffective”  ratings could lead to a 60 day termination process – no matter how senior the teacher, no matter how experienced, no matter whether they have tenure.

Back in January, in the face of similar proposals, made by AFT President Randi Weingarten, Michael Mulgrew wrote:

[these] proposals would require a climate of collaboration and trust that simply does not exist here.

Hundreds of schools have abusive administrators who are making life hell for our members. We have witnessed the drive to harass and get rid of senior teachers. We have witnessed new teachers being pitted against our veterans. The Bloomberg/Klein push to fire last years U-rated teachers and all of our ATRs FIRST is part of the picture. Will these same administrators now be “fair minded? Collaborative? Will they craft a fair “corrective” plan for “ineffective” teachers.

If we, the UFT, fought these changes, and they were forced on us, that would be different. If we brought our strength to bear, and tried to back the Regents down, but did not succeed, that would be different.

We voted for the Michael Mulgrew who stood tough on school closings. For the Michael Mulgrew who drew a line in the sand to protect ATRs , who fought school closings, and who stood up to Bloomberg and Klein. We expect nothing less on teacher evaluation and tenure.

Our union must step back and withdraw support from this proposal.

  • Say yes to protecting tenure.
  • Say no to more testing for kids.

Content Policy

Content of signed articles and comments represents the opinions of their authors. The views expressed in signed articles are not necessarily the views of New Action/UFT.
July 2020