Friday, November 8, 2013

Hypocrisy of the Day: UFT Call for Renegotiating Evals With deB

Those who don't remember history.... are doomed to continue to be doomed by the self-serving UFT. The latest Weingarten/Mulgrew accommodationist party line is that we should oppose the "consequences of high stakes testing." They have discovered and appropriated the word "moratorium." They always sound so reasonable and are always so late. Leading from behind ... Fred Smith
The UFT plays the wind and will reverse itself - without regards to the members - as it sees fit. We should move on - and not wait for them. Build our own grassroots movements without them. If they want to join in fine - but we cannot let them coopt and seize leadership - and they will try to shape it their way - or we are back at the beginning. I agree we need to get rid of the eval system but as a 45 year uft member and observer and critic I can't emphasize enough that they don't want to get rid of a plan they have been extolling as an improvement over what existed before. What they want to do is tweak it like they want to tweak mayoral control. Do we want to be drawn into a battle for tweaks as they urge gradualism while we lose a generation of students and teachers? Watch what they do not what they say... Norm Scott
I love to quote myself. This was my comment on a listserve after some people praised the UFT based on this Gotham Schools piece that led to some interesting commentary:

UFT president wants to renegotiate evaluations with de Blasio

Parent activist#1 comments:
Hmm…am I remembering wrong, or didn’t Leo Casey go after Carol Burris viciously for criticizing the new teacher evaluation system, and didn’t Mulgrew support it? Or is my memory defective?
Mulgrew gave few clues Wednesday about what parts of the system he would like changed, but Leo Casey, a former union official who was also at the event, said that just about everything permissible under the state law will likely be on the table.

“The whole thing could be negotiated under the law,” said Casey, the executive director of the Albert Shanker Institute, who was involved in the evaluation negotiations before he left his post as UFT vice president last year.

He said possible changes could include adding more performance-based assessments for the local measures of student growth – which make up 20 percent of teachers’ ratings – or allowing teachers to help evaluate their peers.

Parent #2 defends the UFT:
The UFT had the new evaluation system shoved down the teachers' throats. It was not agreed to by the UFT but the product of a sham interest arbitration. It is an awful system, bad for teachers and worse for students. All efforts to do away with it are worthy of high praise, in my book.

Parent #1 responds with a nice shot at Leo Casey (Does Leo Casey deserve an award for his ability to reverse himself on any issue and justify it?) by tossing his own words back in his face - and Mulgrew's too.
I agree the NYC teacher evaluation system is rotten – but it could not have been otherwise given the original rotten framework devised by John King.

And when Carol Burris, Diane and others made that point, showing how the 40% based on “objective assessments”would trump all [when there’s nothing “objective” about unreliable one year value-added measures based on flawed and invalid standardized tests], this was Leo Casey’s response:

http://www.edwize.org/setting-the-record-straight-on-teacher-evaluations-scoring-and-the-role-of-standardized-exams
It is important to have evaluations based on multiple measures of teacher effectiveness, just as it is important to evaluate students based on multiple measures of their learning: more measures and more forms of evidence produce more robust, more accurate and fairer evaluations. Further, multiple measures allowed New York to avoid placing inordinate weight on standardized exams and value-added algorithms, as other states have done to very negative consequences. And it was essential that the bulk of the evaluations be established locally through collective bargaining, with the law only providing a general framework. These objectives necessarily led to a high level of complexity.

But with that complexity, New York is on the road to teacher evaluations that will engage educators in meaningful professional dialogue, provide them with essential supports, and give them the tools to hone their craft. [emphasis mine] With evaluations based on multiple measures, evaluations will be more comprehensive, more accurate and fairer, and in sharp contrast to other states such as Florida and Tennessee, the role of standardized testing in the evaluation will be minimized. With collective bargaining playing a key role in the shaping of “on the ground” evaluations, teacher unions have the input that will allow us to protect the educational integrity and fairness of the evaluation process.

Unfortunately, complexity has provided a fertile ground for commentaries on the New York teacher evaluation framework that reach alarmist conclusions, with arguments built on a foundation of misinformation and groundless speculation. [emphasis mine] A widely circulated piece by Long Island Principal Carol Corbett Burris, published on the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog, is in the thrall of this alarmist alchemy.
Etc.
Then when King came up with a teacher evaluation system for NYC, b/c the UFT could not negotiate one with DOE by the deadline, Mulgrew praised it:
In a letter to teachers released Saturday, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, Michael Mulgrew, called the plan "professional and fair" and said that it was designed to help teachers improve.
"It offers teachers a professional voice in the measures that their supervisors will use to rate them," said Mulgrew. "And despite Mayor Bloomberg’s desire for a 'gotcha' system, the new system puts in place stronger due process rights to protect teachers from harassment and from principals who don’t follow the rules."
Phew. Nice shots.

Francesco Portelos come in with a link to the must watch video he put together about Mulgrew's contribution to the eval system:
It was never intended to improve teaching.  My members tell me all PDs are about evaluation and all money has gone to CCLS material. Leaving no money for new technology and no PD time for improving knowledge of material outside evaluation.
May 2010 -Michael Mulgrew endorsing teacher evaluation based on tests and subjective observations" on YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJE_dy1Ca8M&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Here is Fred Smith from CTS with the full quote as he takes the same position I do:
Sorry--don't believe in regardless of how we got here in this case. Those who don't remember history.... are doomed to continue to be doomed by the self-serving UFT. The latest Weingarten/Mulgrew accommodationist party line is that we should oppose the "consequences of high stakes testing." They have discovered and appropriated the word "moratorium." They always sound so reasonable and are always so late. Leading from behind. The real moratorium needs to be one that suspends testing indefinitely until education and teachers return from exile. Kill the tests and the consequences will die.
Enough. fred
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Here is some guy named Norm Scott with another comment:
The uft can't just play both sides of the fence and still maintain creds and also expect not to be called on it. When they finally jump on a bandwagon instead of leading they expect pats on the back and get miffed when crit - "why do you look to the past."
While I can agree with [parent #2] that they had this forced down their throats the total capitulation, refusal to fight back or org teachers and parents to fight back and then trying to ram it down the throats of the rank and file squarely puts them in the ranks of collaborators. How fast can you say "Vichy?"
Sorry. I just can't leave the Vichy analogy alone since that way of thinking is so prevalent.
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Parent #2 comes back with:
Regardless of how we get here, I can not emphasize enough that this teacher evaluation system needs to go. Whether you feel UFT is coming late to the party or not, it is still the right thing to do for teachers and kids to support getting rid of this system. We need to support all efforts to change it completely and wholeheartedly no matter what view we variously may take on how we got here. It doesn't matter how we got here. It's time to move on.

That pain in the ass Norm can't leave this alone:
It's not just about the past but the future. The uft plays the wind and will reverse itself - without regards to the members - as it sees fit. We should move on - and not wait for them. Build our own grassroots movements without them. If they want to join in fine - but we cannot let them coopt and seize leadership - and they will try to shape it their way - or we are back at the beginning.
I agree we need to get rid of the eval system but as a 45 year uft member and observer and critic I can't emphasize enough that they don't want to get rid of a plan they have been extolling as an improvement over what existed before. What they want to do is tweak it like they want to tweak mayoral control. Do we want to be drawn into a battle for tweaks as they urge gradualism while we lose a generation of students and teachers? Watch what they do not what they say.

I'll close with Parent (I think) #3:
Casey adds the tepid near-afterthought: "or allowing teachers to help evaluate their peers," something that's long overdue. I've seen principal observation go way sour, especially considering the spotty quality of principals coming out of Bloomberg's Leadership Academy.

Has anyone in the establishment ever considered using parents and students an opportunity to give feedback on teachers? Just as teachers know their students and should be trusted to evaluate their progress and readiness to move onto the next grade, so do students and parents know their teachers. Given that we already fill out the school environment survey every year, the DOE could include a handful of questions about the student's classroom teacher(s) (and, heck, specialized teachers as well). I bet parents would be more enthusiastic about filling out those questions than the softballs currently on the questionnaire about "your school." Responses can be keyed to the appropriate teacher easily without risking anyone's anonymity.

To placate what I assume would be sharp union objection, perhaps parent responses could be used only to raise a teacher's rating, not lower it. Teachers could look up the collated responses if they wish to glean some feedback from parent responses, but negative evaluation would not factor into a rating. In this way, parents of special ed teachers, for instance, who see their sons or daughters making good progress but still not conforming to standardized benchmarks, can reflect that positive in their answers, thereby potentially raising a teacher's rating.

A modest proposal.
Kari
Let me say something might make my fellow teachers blanch: I agree with Kari to some extent. To me the most important feedback was from parents not from administrators - and some from students. I worked very hard to establish rapport with parents. Now I know in this world that doesn't really count for much but I knew that was often a key in getting kids to work with me and the rest of the class.

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