Posts Tagged 'Teacher evaluation'

Report from UFT October 7 Executive Board

Open mike – there was only one speaker, Marjorie Stamberg, who spoke about the repression of teachers in Mexico, especially from the south (I think she mentioned Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Chiapas). Marjorie spent time this summer in Mexico. She said that she would bring the information to the Committee on Economic and Social Justice. She left packets of informational material with some of the Executive Board members (including me)

Mulgrew was absent.

Francisco Peña (New Action) asked where we were with Factfinding, wasn’t the report already due. Emil Pietronomico answered that factfinding is ongoing, and passed the question to attorney Adam Ross, who reported that the last day is November 4, and that we expect a report shortly thereafter.

Michael Shulman (New Action) asked about the City’s suit against the UFT over arbitrators. Emil passed this question to attorney Adam Ross as well, who explained that arbitrators are chosen by mutual agreement, which the City does not seem to accept means that we must agree with their choices. In addition, the City ended an effective time-saving mediation program – they force every case to trial (I’m not sure what “trial” means here – jd). They brought us to court, and we (UFT) are moving to have the case dismissed.

Joel Garcia (New Action) asked for the number of current teachers in the Absent Teachers Reserve (Excessed Teachers, often referred to as ATRs). He also asked what was going on with rotation. Emil quickly conferred, and said he would get back to us next time.

Doug Haynes (New Action) reportedly hearing anecdotally about a spike in retirements, and asked whether there actually was such a spike. Emil said he would get back to us.

Jonathan Halabi (me, New Action) asked, since observations under the new evaluation system had begun in many schools, what sorts of problems and complaints, expected and unexpected, were we hearing about, which ones were showing up a lot. Emil said issues are being reported through an online system, and that there are different issues. Most people noticed that he did not respond to the question.

There were four resolutions during the special orders of business.

1. On inclusive language (say “member” when we mean members, and “teacher” if we specifically mean only teachers – remember we organize counselors, paras, secretaries, related service providers, etc, all of whom are UFTers)

2. Improve NYC’s electoral system

3. On the 53rd Anniversary of the 1960 UFT Strike (George Altomare, in the discussion, talked about events leading up to the strike)

4. Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on High-Stakes Consequences for State Tests – LeRoy Barr motivated, strongly, this resolution which was not on the agenda, but was signed and submitted by six Executive Board members (Emil, LeRoy, Anthony Harmon, Marie Kallo, a signature I don’t recognize, and Sterling Roberson)  The “whereas”s reaffirmed UFT policy, including much that New Action disagrees with – including Common Core, and using test scores to evaluate teachers. The resolution, however, called for a moratorium on consequences for the tests.

Jonathan Halabi (me, New Action), rose to reaffirm that there were major differences on much of this resolution, but that we fully supported the moratorium, and that the resolution should get unanimous support.

Which it did.

New Action Caucus has ten seats on the UFT Executive Board – the only ten seats that do not belong to Unity Caucus.

Ten is not enough to win anything – but it allows our voice to be heard, it allows us to put forward resolutions, and when there is agreement, to put forward resolutions the leadership signs onto. It allows us to offer amendments. It allows us to bring issues to the leadership.

At Exec after Exec, Unity members sit and listen. Some never speak. Most rarely speak. But New Action usually has questions, comments, resolutions, or amendments.

This year we will publish reports – sometimes on the entire Exec Board, sometimes just on New Action’s contribution.

Teacher Evaluation

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the September 2013 Citywide Chapter Leaders Meeting).
For a printable version click: NA/UFT Leaflet 2013 September


New Action opposed the adoption of this new teacher evaluation system every step of the way. It weakens tenure and introduces rating teachers on students standardized test scores. We advocate changing or repealing the state law.

Already chapters are seeing disagreements between the DoE and the UFT about how the system should work. This was not ready for 2013 implementation.

But today the system is here. We are immediately faced with complexities: school-based committees have already chosen local measures (MOSL). Members must choose which observation model soon. There will be artifacts, discussions. At the September 9 UFT Executive Board, Regina Gori, Exec Board member and Chapter Leader at the Brooklyn New School, asked what recommendations we can make to members for the choices they are facing. The answer directed them to the “Quick Start Guide” for information, but the leadership is not willing to make recommendations, indicating this is a personal choice.

Our members come to Chapter Leaders seeking advice. They do so because the CLs often have greater knowledge or insight. Likewise CLs approach our union’s leadership. It is unseemly to deny advice to chapter leaders. This should change, now.

With good information, Chapter Leaders can lead informed chapter discussions. And discussion of issues that matter, including teacher evaluation, helps build stronger chapters.

New Action on Teacher Evaluation – our record is clear

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


“A Train Wreck Waiting to Happen!”

New Action’s record on a New Teacher Evaluation System and Teacher Tenure is clear:

January 2010  – New Action/UFT absolutely opposes linking student test scores to teacher evaluation and tenure decisions. … AFT President Weingarten said she believes that standardized test scores and other measures of student performance should be an integral part of the evaluation process. Michael Mulgrew said “Her proposals would require a climate of collaboration and trust that simply does not exist here (in NYC).” We supported that statement.

March 2010Where We Stand calls for support and protection of untenured teachers. We also call for no change in tenure laws.

Her [Weingarten’s] proposals [for a teacher evaluation system] would require a climate of collaboration and trust that simply does not exist here. – Michael Mulgrew, January 2010

May 2010New Tenure Plan/ You could be Removed (after 2 years) Before the Letters in Your File (after 3 years) opposes the teacher evaluation system just proposed by the Board of Regents, with support from the NYSUT and UFT leaderships. “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.”

January 2011 –“We OPPOSE tying tenure decisions to standardized tests. The negotiations on Race to the top in New York State led to many dangerous concessions.”

Are administrators with little or no teaching experience qualified to evaluate us?”

May 2011 – “New Action rightfully opposed the agreement leading to the Race to the Top legislation. Lifting the cap on charters. Putting in a new teacher evaluation system! And for what? 700 million that won’t prevent budget cuts or stop layoffs.

September 2011 – “No matter what evaluation system is developed tenured teachers can be dismissed after 2 “ineffective” ratings. In a system that is fair and collaborative perhaps a new approach to rating teachers could work.  DOES ANYONE believe that we are working in an atmosphere of collegiality?

October 2011Danielson and Teacher Evaluation “In the hands of administrators who do not collaborate, this framework becomes a weapon pointed at us… 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?”

We know the DOE violates every agreement. In an evaluation agreement they will violate it as well. Tenured teachers cannot afford to wait and see.

March 2012New Evaluation System – Eliminate Tenured Teachers? “Our opinion has not changed. This new evaluation system will lead to an avalanche of ineffective ratings. We know the DOE violates every agreement. In an evaluation agreement they will violate it as well. Tenured teachers cannot afford to wait and see.

If there is no agreement, we must mobilize our membership – the onslaught from the DoE and the media against us will be fierce.

September 2012 – “The DOE shows nothing but bad faith on our current appeals process. 100% of the decisions being overturned is not a process-it is a farce, a cruel hoax. New Action remains deeply concerned about the potential for Bloomberg’s proposals for teacher evaluation system to be a thinly disguised assault on due process rights.”

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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 2021