Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Say NO to UFT Lame Attempt to Derail Opposition to Eval System and Common Core

There is so much to say about this reso brought up at the Ex Bd and supported I believe by both Unity and New Action. This is a clear attempt to undercut MORE's initiative in calling for a moratorium on evaluations through its petition which has garnered thousands of signatures. MORE today is holding a rally to support the call for a moratorium before the Delegate Assembly. So this paper reso also aims to weaken support for the rally. I believe this reso should be opposed, not amended and I hope someone gets the floor to do that. Roberts Rules call for a speaker against but Mulgrew just ignores that. Maybe James Eterno will give it another shot and if Mulgrew tries to shut him down I would hope every person who is not Unity would walk out. I can dream, can't I? Hell, the UFT walked out of the PEP because it wasn't democratic and didn't listen to the public. DUHHHHH! Here are some comments -- look for more blog reports later. 
The resolution is worse than useless, since it gives the false impression, intended to pacify the membership, that the union leadership is protecting our interests in this matter, rather than co-managing the implementation of the Common Corporate Standards and Danielson checklists along with the so-called reformers. .. Michael Fiorillo posted at Perdido Street School
My reasons for opposing the UFT resolution today are up at the ICE blog.  If we support it, then we are supporting common core and the advance evaluation system in principle.  If we try to amend it, we are still supporting Danielson which most people I talk to absolutely hate. UFT's resolution doesn't go far enough while it undercuts the work MORE did. Unity is just trying to do something for the disgruntled membership while they can still be education reformers when talking to the elite. Congratulations to all for impacting UFT policy but now is a chance to take it much further and truly distinguish the real opposition from Unity-New Action..... James Eterno
...the reso says nothing about what the UFT will do to achieve even a partial moratorium. No mobilization, no pressure campaign. It is just a paper reso they'll pass and ignore... Kit Wainer
This moratorium call, btw, would be the same thing Randi Weingarten called for a while back. But the UFT Executive Board did not call for an end to the punitive and abusive Danielson observations, did not point out the absurdity of evaluating teachers based upon test scores of students they don't teach in subjects they're not licensed in, did not point out the harm using a value-added test score measurement with a margin of error the size of Randi Weingarten's ego will do to teachers and schools.
Oh, no - it didn't do any of that.
Rather, the UFT Executive Board hailed the Common Core State (sic) Standards "as a means toward ensuring that children in the city and across the country learn the critical thinking skills necessary for success in today’s competitive world." Looks like they took that text directly from a Gates Foundation pamphlet or Arne Duncan's Twitter feed.... Perdido Street School

Here is James' complete blog post with the reso included:
The resolution below passed at the UFT Executive Board on Monday night.  To my eyes, it does not go nearly far enough to stop the madness that is occurring in our schools across the country, in general, and specifically in New York State and New York City. 

A moratorium on the high stakes test part of the new teacher evaluation system is a limited start but the UFT resolution says nothing about the punitive, required, multiple "gotcha" Danielson observations that are part of the new "Advance" teacher evaluation system and the UFT still praises the unproven Common Core Standards.

An immediate repeal of the whole evaluation system is what the UFT should be calling for along with further research to see if Common Core works.

Look at what is happening up in Syracuse where 40% of the teachers were rated developing or ineffective last year.  It could happen here in NYC too. The evaluation system called Advance must be put into full retreat and die if we are to start to win our professional dignity back. 

WHEREAS the United Federation of Teachers has since its founding been dedicated to creating
conditions in New York City pubic schools that enhance learning and help every child to achieve; and 

WHEREAS the UFT strongly supports the Common Core Learning Standards as a means toward 
ensuring that children in the city and across the country learn the critical thinking skills necessary for success in today’s competitive world; and ' 

WHEREAS the UFT has always held that teachers must be given adequate resources and professional development for the transition to the Common Core standards to succeed; and 

WHEREAS New York in the spring of 2013 administered new tests based on the Common Core before teachers and schools had even received currìcula aligned to the new standards, with the result that student scores plunged in New York City and across the state; and 

WHEREAS five weeks into the 2013-14 school year, many schools across New York City had still not received their new curricula aligned to the Common Core or had received them late, which is particularly problematic considering that the next round of state tests is to occur within a matter of months, in spring 2014; and 

WHEREAS it is harmful and unfair to children to give them high-stakes tests on material and skills which their schools have not had adequate time or resources to teach; and 

WHEREAS in New York City in particular a students scores on these tests can have life-changing
consequences, including possibly determining whether the student is promoted to the next grade; and 

WHEREAS in addition to the consequences for students, state tests count for 20 percent of a teacher's year-end performance rating under the new teacher evaluation and development system that was established by order of the state education commissioner this year; and 

WHEREAS the UFT continues to support having an evaluation system that bases a teacher's rating on multiple measures, rather than solely on a principals opinion; and that gives teachers a professional voice in their schools; and 

WHEREAS the UFT nevertheless holds that attaching high-stakes consequences to the new state exams at this time would be reckless and damaging to our public schools in light of the failure of the city to ensure that schools and teachers received adequate resources and professional development prior to the start of this school year; and 

WHEREAS, the UFT recognizes that the high stakes attached to New York State tests are a result of 
federal and state education laws as well as New York City Department of Education policy; therefore be it 

RESOLVED, that the UFT calls for a moratorium on attaching high-stakes consequences to state tests until representatives of all interested parties - including parents and educators - have worked with members of Congress, the state Legislature, the state Commissioner of Education, the Board of Regents and the New York City Panel for Educational Policy to carefully examine how well the new curricula, professional development and tests align to the Common Core standards; and be it further 

RESOLVED, that this moratorium will allow the state to continue administering the tests but will require that both the state and city pause in attaching to the test results any high-stakes consequences for students, teachers or schools until all stakeholders are assured that the system for implementing 
Common Core standards is working as it should to give our children the world-class education they deserve.

1 comment:

  1. Same old duck and weave, trying to outsmart the membership instead of sticking up for them.


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