Monday, October 29, 2012

A Perfect Storm: Ed Eval, a Contract and ATRs as Unity Shill Peter Goodman Floats (Sellout) Trial Balloon

Chancellor Tisch was optimistic, more than optimistic that a teacher evaluation plan agreement will be reached by the mid-January deadline. The Chancellor is either a glass half full type of person, has her ear at the door, or a little bit of both. If an agreement is not reached the city faces the loss of $300 million, and, the union the wraith wrath of that guy living in sin in the executive mansion in Albany. --- Peter Goodman, Ed in the Apple blog
Call the Goodman post a triple play. There's some red meat by hinting that the UFT won't walk away from the $300 million penalty for not agreeing to the ed eval in mid-January which according to some points of view (see below) by law must be tied to a contract which will be tied to an ATR agreement that both Bloomberg and the UFT leadership both so desperately want. You know, like the joint agreement to end the rubber rooms -- as long as you can't see them. Maybe they will come up with a salve to turn ATRs into invisible men and women.

Goodman (and the union) pushes the Bloomberg threat of layoffs which he used to get the union to agree to give up the ATRs to weekly rotations. And he believes the governor when he says there is no need to amend last in, first out, which we know is a target for ed deformers. They may not have to once ed eval is in the door.
The negotiating gulf is significant but not huge. I frequently hear cries – “Why do we have to agree at all? Let’s give up the money; the City Council will fill in the lost dollars.” Well, there is no guarantee and thousands of teachers would be laid off, and, let’s not forget the governor’s 70 plus percent approval rating. The governor has taken the position that there is no need to amend the seniority layoff laws (“last in, first out”) due to the teacher evaluation law which, in theory, will rid the system of incompetent teachers. No agreement, the “last in, first out” may be gone – including the ATR pool – it could mean excess = layoff. The union leadership must be nimble.
Goodman fiercely defends the UFT deal on evaluations being tied to test scores as being fairer than the current system. He points to the 90% loss rate by the UFT on U ratings. That is because the UFT is incapable and unwilling to provide teachers under attack any support until it is too late. Principals have no fear of the UFT in any way anymore and have been allowed to gut the contract.

Now look at how Goodman addresses the ATR situation -- that the solution is a separation agreement (forced or voluntary?) in which he calls an ATR mess --- while not mentioning that the UFT helped create this mess in the 2005 contract:
The ATR Mess: The city and the union have, once again, been discussing some sort of separation incentive, a lump sum payment to encourage retirement or irrevocable resignation. I know teachers ask why not a buy-out – allowing teachers to retire before they have accumulated sufficient years or age – that type of  settlement probably requires approval by an outside actuary and legislative action.
Oh, did I tell you that Goodman's son Drew is amongst a horde of ATR supervisors whose job it will be to set up the conditions for forced separation, especially if they are on the high end of the salary? Note how Goodman poo-poohs the retirement incentive option. And what about the coming horde of new and younger ATRs as more schools are closed? I see the Chicago situation in the tea leaves. Sure, defend a gutted LIFO for teachers who are not ATRS but put them in a separate category.

Finally, the long-lost contract. Goodman defends the UFT decision to go to fact-finding and almost thumps his chest at the fact that they did so. He uses scare tactics to soften us up. "These are perilous times for teachers and their unions." WHY? Because the suck-up sell-out union leaders have given up without a fight. (But watch how Mulgrew and Goodman sell the Chicago story as a "special case.")
The fact-finding process, very quietly, has begun. Months, many months, down the road, absent an agreement in the interim the panel will produce a fact-finding report which is not binding but in the past has provided a framework for contract settlements.
The cynics argue: don’t go to fact-finding, wait for the next mayor. Who is to say the next mayor will open the city coffers? Who is to say that by January of 2014 the nation is not in a “double-dip” recession? Or, a Romney presidency will sharply reduce dollars to education and to states driving the city to draconian cuts in funding and services?
Remember little things like health plans for active and retired members are negotiated separately from the contract and currently cost over a billion dollars a year. In other words, once again, the union leadership must be smart.
In Albany there is growing pressure to amend the Triborough Law, which requires that expired contracts remain in place until the successor agreement is in place.
These are perilous times for teachers and teacher unions.
Wait Peter. You mean the vaunted UFT political machine can't stop them from amending the Triborough Law? In essence Goodman is admitting that the UFT is toothless. If the scuzzball politicians the UFT supports actually do so, just watch Goodman defend the UFT leadership's failure with, "the union leadership must be smart." Or at the very least, Vichy.

James Eterno and Jeff Kaufman point to the state law:
James: 3012-c is the part of state law that talks about the Highly effective, effective, developing and ineffective ratings and the percentages used for each.  The clause below is down at the bottom of the section.  I think this little bit of the law gives the UFT leverage in contract talks but they don't talk much about it. 
Jeff:  the provisions don’t go into effect until there is a new agreement. This is because the law made the evaluation process a mandatory subject of bargaining. The DOE can’t alter the current arrangement unilaterally.
Here are the provisions:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, rule or regulation to the
contrary, all collective bargaining agreements applicable to classroom

teachers or building principals entered into after July first, two thousand
ten shall be consistent with requirements of this section. Nothing in this
section shall be construed to abrogate any conflicting provisions of any

collective bargaining agreement in effect on July first, two thousand ten
during the term of such agreement and until the entry into a successor
collective bargaining agreement, provided that notwithstanding any other

provision of law to the contrary, upon expiration of such term and the entry
into a successor collective bargaining agreement the provisions of this
section shall apply. Furthermore, nothing in this section or in any rule or

regulation promulgated hereunder shall in any way, alter, impair or diminish
the rights of a local collective bargaining representative to negotiate
evaluation procedures in accordance with article fourteen of the civil

service law with the school district or board of cooperative educational
services. 
----------- 
Goodman's entire post is below the break for those who don't want to make the extra click on their slow cell phones. 
http://mets2006.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/will-a-teacher-evaluation-agreement-be-reached-in-nyc-a-contract-an-atr-agreement/


Will a Teacher Evaluation Agreement Be Reached in NYC? a Contract? an ATR Agreement?

At a 90-minute interview on Wednesday evening Chancellor Tisch was optimistic, more than optimistic that a teacher evaluation plan agreement will be reached by the mid-January deadline. The Chancellor is either a glass half full type of person, has her ear at the door, or a little bit of both. If an agreement is not reached the city faces the loss of $300 million, and, the union the wraith of that guy living in sin in the executive mansion in Albany.

Almost under the radar the Public Employees Relation Board (PERB) has assigned three arbitrators to the fact-finding panel that will eventually recommend a new contract.

From time to time the department and the union have discussed some sort of separation incentive for ATRs.

These are not different people, the union negotiating committee members and the NYC Office of Labor Relations (OLR), with department input, has been discussing all three issues for months.

Let me make it clear: I have absolutely no “inside” information. The parties, rightfully, keep the discussions/negotiations close to the vest.

Teacher Evaluation: 495 of the 700 school districts in New York State have submitted plans; while the plans are dense, frequently over 100 pages in length, they are rather “vanilla.” In the 60% section many of the plans call for “one announced and one unannounced lesson observation a year, a few involve peer involvement in the evaluation process. A complex piece that will continue to evolve is how to assess the almost 80% of teachers who teach non-tested subjects. The SED is a using a Student Learning Objective (SLO) format to assess teachers in non-tested subjects for the 20% section of th law – I strongly suggest that you view the videos that describe which students will be assessed, called the 50% Rule, an overview, called SLO 101  and the 34-slide roadmap. Remember: you will be tested on your understanding of SLOs and your next check will be withheld if you don’t received at least a “developing” score on understanding the SLO process. (Only joking …)

The contending sides have had innumerable meetings – from my perspective the current U-rating appeal procedure is broken – almost all of the unsatisfactory ratings are sustained by the chancellor – in the former days perhaps 90% were sustained … it was a reasonably equitable process. The negotiating gulf is significant but not huge. I frequently hear cries – “Why do we have to agree at all? Let’s give up the money; the City Council will fill in the lost dollars.” Well, there is no guarantee and thousands of teachers would be laid off, and, let’s not forget the governor’s 70 plus percent approval rating. The governor has taken the position that there is no need to amend the seniority layoff laws (“last in, first out”) due to the teacher evaluation law which, in theory, will rid the system of incompetent teachers. No agreement, the “last in, first out” may be gone – including the ATR pool – it could mean excess = layoff. The union leadership must be nimble.
As Chancellor Tisch explained, “five years down the road the system may look very different.” As we move into years two and beyond the plan will be tweaked, perhaps numerous times.

The Teacher Contact: The fact-finding process, very quietly, has begun. Months, many months, down the road, absent an agreement in the interim the panel will produce a fact-finding report which is not binding but in the past has provided a framework for contract settlements.
The cynics argue: don’t go to fact-finding, wait for the next mayor. Who is to say the next mayor will open the city coffers? Who is to say that by January of 2014 the nation is not in a “double-dip” recession? Or, a Romney presidency will sharply reduce dollars to education and to states driving the city to draconian cuts in funding and services?
Remember little things like health plans for active and retired members are negotiated separately from the contract and currently cost over a billion dollars a year. In other words, once again, the union leadership must be smart.
In Albany there is growing pressure to amend the Triborough Law, which requires that expired contracts remain in place until the successor agreement is in place.
These are perilous times for teachers and teacher unions.

The ATR Mess: The city and the union have, once again, been discussing some sort of separation incentive, a lump sum payment to encourage retirement or irrevocable resignation. I know teachers ask why not a buy-out – allowing teachers to retire before they have accumulated sufficient years or age – that type of  settlement probably requires approval by an outside actuary and legislative action.

Deadlines result in pressures on both sides and the governor set a mid-January deadline for negotiating a teacher evaluation plan. The possible loss of $300 million would devastate a school system already reeling from a series of cuts. For the mayor ending his mayoral tenure with dramatic cuts and teacher layoffs may be unpalatable. On the union side appearing recalcitrant and angering a powerful governor could have dire consequences.

In baseball trades you will occasionally read about a trade with a “player to be named.” One side added a “sweetener,” a low minor leaguer from among a wide choice of players; both sides want fans and the media to praise the trade.
The mayor has to stand on the podium and tell the public, “…this settlement is good for the children and the City of New York,” and the union president needs the support of his union members who vote on the plan (only active members, not retirees vote).
A ticking clock may speed up the pace of the negotiating process.
Endgame is a skill, in chess and contract negotiations.

2 comments:

  1. Hey Norm,

    I thought the rate on winning an appeal is .5%. In other words, 99.5% of U ratings are upheld. These are the numbers that came out in March from Leo Casey, who was gracious enough to provide these statistics, not that they come as any surprise.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are probably right. We were just tossing off a rough number.

    ReplyDelete

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