Sunday, June 2, 2013

Evaluation Deal: The Enemy, King/Bloomberg/etc or UFT/AFT/NYSUT Leadership?

Despite the awful and fairy-dust based evaluation system, despite the fact that not one UFT member was allowed a vote on it, we have been almost five years without a raise and missed the 8% pattern raise the rest of our union brothers and sisters got. I have no problem telling the emperor how I feel about that.... NYC Educator on the June 12 rally
Bloomberg is irrelevant. The real emperors are the people running our unions at all levels. ... Me
Posted at Jersey Jazzman blog
Pssst, kid. Want some candy for a good evaluation?... NYC Teacher to 3rd grader.
Remember the great exclamations about Mulgrew being a hero last December for withstanding the pressure from Bloomberg to give up the sunset provision? Well that's gone anyway. Ignore the selling points that any changes have to be bargained collectively. In fact isn't this a new contract anyway given the major change in language and shouldn't the members have to vote? Jeez, in Chicago they might even go on strike over this.

I'm reading "Bunker Hill" about the American Revolution and what it took for the mentality of loyalty to the mother country to change into the movement for independence and accusations of being a traitor. The early adopters -- Sam Adams -- were considered lunatics at one point -- until the day came when the majority came to see that same point of view. I make this point with respect to how we view the UFT leadership.

I understand the ed deformers and why they do what they do. They are despicable but in many ways more honest than the people running our unions. 

June 12 and 8th rallies: who are we rooting for?
I understand that telling Bloomberg on June 12 how you feel means something. But in the context of this situation that becomes a win for the UFT leadership in their deflection of their actions onto Bloomberg. So people end up cheering when Mulgrew slams Bloomberg. And that weakens the movement to create change in the UFT by creating a divided loyalty concept.

RBE at Perdido seems to get it in his just posted piece:

Carol Burris: The VAM And SLO's Are Indefensible

A comment Carol Burris made at Gotham Schools:
This is my the end, it will all result in lawsuits because VAM and the SLOs will be found to be indefensible as measures of teacher quality. This is the full employment act for school attorneys.
Unfortunately it does not seem the UFT will be joining the lawsuits because they're too busy spinning how this is a win for teachers. You can bet they are in major CYA mode at 52 Broadway and every critique of the system will get a response from the geniuses there. I wonder, will they bring back Lyin' Leo Casey to lead the pushback?
Remember how Leo vilified Carol Burris? I would take her as my union rep over Leo any day.

I would use the June 12 event to tell people exactly what the union leadership has done to them --- I know, I know, this would be considered a no-no, even by many of my colleagues in MORE. (I'm on the fringe there too.)

In fact Bloomberg is irrelevant. The real emperors are the people running our unions at all levels. DOENuts found the latest Leo Casey ("who famously 'set the record straight' a year ago") tweet: about teachers being fired at a charter school in Seattle.
Yep!!!!!!! That's my union guys. Just change the subject and talk about Charters! Gotta love it. "Hey, my idea just totally ske-ruuued you, but check out this cool graffiti artist!". Ah. Leo Casey! Ah, humanity!
No wonder Leo got out of town in time to avoid being pilloried.

I am ambivalent about the June 12 rally and the June 8 "anti-testing" rally in Albany when key organizers are the very people who have sold us out. I point you to comments made by Sean Ahern (one of the co-founders of ICE) about the role of the UFT leadership. Assaulting the Walls of Ed Deform, NYSUT June 8 ...May 28, 2013. One thing about current and former ICEers, the thinking is way harsher about the UFT leadership  --- probably given the long time experience in watching how they operate. Many younger MOREs just haven't reached that stage yet, wanting to offer a vision of "positive alternative leadership" whereas I would attack, attack, attack.

MORE is going all out in support of the June 12 rally. At this point I am not planning to go.

Following the trail to this evaluation story and the culpability of UFT/NYSUT/AFT leaders, how do we march in support of them? At some point we have to decide if they are friend or foe. There really is no middle. I know that I am often accused of being on the fringe over my comparison of them to the Vichy mentality but once you reach that point it becomes obvious that they are often no better than the enemy and then the next step is to act accordingly: organize in opposition to them. Why not use the rallies to do so?

Thus I would go on June 12 and June 8 with the idea of telling people exactly what the leadership has done. You would be accused of being disloyal -- let's all be united today, blah, blah, blah. Sort of like saying let's march together to support America in all its wars because we need unity. Loyalty to the union does not mean loyalty to the leadership that has coopted democracy in such a fundamental way. If there were bales of tea in front of 52 Broadway I would dump them in the harbor.

At Perdido, someone asked it the UFT leadership was stupid or criminal.

I vote "criminal/Vichy."

Don't ever make the mistake of thinking MulGarten are stupid. They do not function in our interests but as mediators between the powers that be and the rank and file. What to they get? Lots of life/prof perks and power. They really have no other choice. In order to fight them they would need to educate, organize and mobilize the members which would require a democratically run union -- see Karen Lewis in Chicago where they can get the same amount of support without buying off the opposition/New Action. 

In NYC democracy is a threat to the leadership so the only way they can function is in a partnership with the rulers, hoping for crumbs which they will get at times them to help keep the rank and file under control. Neither Unity nor Bloomberg want another Chicago here and will do what it takes to keep Unity in power. That was why the bigger the opposition grows the more the rulers will give to quiet it down. I believe if MORE had gotten say 40% of the vote we would have a much better chance to have a contract.

Here is the latest output (as of 9AM) from the great bloggers on our blogroll. I urge you to take a look at them.

James Eterno:
I tried to limit the commentary because we haven't seen the full decision yet, but the evaluation system looks as bad as we thought it was going to be.


  1. Norm the deal is a terrible blow to teachers. Any use of the danielson model means that principals can play gotcha. How do you use a rubric with 22 goals and hundreds of subsets?

    Principals don't even know what to look for. They'll make teachers jump through more hoops.

    1. 3rd grade evals!!Oh no.Nowonder they are pressing the writing skills!!!

  2. Norm,

    I'm with you. I signed up for the June 12th rally. Now I wonder if I should just go and not identify myself as UFT or MORE and carry a sign that says something like: We were sold out, or Public School Teachers and the Profession is DOOMED, Time for a STRIKE...I might be retired faster than I want to be.

    1. The rally should be AGAINST the UFT leadership.

    2. Funny that rallies are called after the bad deed is a done deal!! The UFT's definition of rally is a hoax set up to make teachers feel the union is behind them 100% while in fact the union is making back-door deals to screw the rank and file.

  3. Even under the pilot program the principals could not keep up with the paperwork and the data that had to be reported. Tests and tasks will be the norm of the day with precious little teaching, nevermind critical thinking.

  4. I am a Chapter Leader, and I am about to retire- this has to rank as the biggest sell-out in 30 years of teaching in NYC!!! To think that Unity has the chutzpa to "spin" this total betrayal as if it is a "win-win" is beyond insulting- its working on the assumption that 75,000 of us will ALWAYS swallow the Party Line- which is basically the truth. My District Rep has already scheduled his "cameo" at my school for Tuesday, to "sell"/pacify/propagandize the chapter- I am planning to cut his "operation" to ribbons. I would urge other cl's, delegates,and members in general to do the same. Why let them demolish our careers and walk away scott free??? I am about to get a 2nd U rating, but I have the last vestiges of tenure to "protect" me- what about the poor shnooks I work with who now have to kowtow even more than before, and their 2nd "Ineffective" will mean the literal end of their teaching lives??? This capitulation is sooo blatant that I would urge members NOT to attend the 6/12 rally at all; vote with your feet by sitting the rally out. There will be the professional "boosters' there, so the photo op will happen regardless, but for me, it is like volunteering for the Bhutan Death March!!!

    1. I'm assuming that reference to the "Bhutan" death march is a tyo. But, one should watch one's grammar, usage, historical accuracy, and so on, when discussing the injustice of receiving a U rating. Or did your lesson plan include American POW's driven to their deaths up the icy northern face of Annapurna by brutal Japanese guards. Such would earn you an "ineffective" under any rubric, not just Danielson.

    2. a mistake in a comment. Blog comments are exempt from grammar, historical accuracy etc Bataan, Bhutan - let's not get crazy here.

  5. Yeah, it's a "tyo". U for U!!!

  6. Norm, if at this juncture MORE doesn't see the light, I don't see how effective they would ever be to truly defend the future of teaching in NYC.
    MORE should be organizing a protest against Mulgrew. MORE be gathering signatures towarsd a vote of no confidence and simultaneously fundraise to put ads in newspapers. MORE should file a complaint with DOL re: DisUNITY not providing retiree mailing list. MORE should attack DisUNITY on as many fronts as they can.

    As a former CL I used to bombard the principal with grievance after grievance until the principal changed the destructive course he was attempting to go in. It worked at keeping him at bay. I have letters that principal wrote backing down from intended course. Sure principal and his sycophants hated me, but I knew what I was doing was for the present and future survival of the staff in an otherwise negative climate.

    All teachera that truly care about stufents are in serious jeopardy. So they needto go down swinging against all enemies, mainly the ones from within.

    Norm, I feel your frustration. I agree with you. If the younger MORE thinks they can continue using the tactics within the boundaries, they have not suffered enough. Another tactic is a sickout. And the thought of oh no what about the students... Well, given what we've just gotten, they don't matter anyway in the eyes of corporations and politicians, and their "education" will suffer anyways.

    this moment does not call for slacktivism(ie. blogging, tweeting, showing discontenr at useless rallies). The real education activist need to step up.

    Good Luck Norm in achieving that.

    thank you for keeping us posted, buthistorical accuracy does matter. That's why we have soooo many people ignorant about the world


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