Friday, July 10, 2009

Obama Admin Hits New Low on Ed Deform as it Seeks to Gut NY State Tenure

UPDATE: Obama addresses NAACP in NYC at Hilton Thurs. at 7PM. There's some buzz about a protest outside over his education policies.

A must read article at Gotham.

"The Obama administration official in charge of an educational innovation fund yesterday issued a warning to a New York audience: Unless the state legislature revises a law now on the books about teacher tenure, the state could lose out on the $4.35 billion fund she controls."

The official is Joanne Weiss, "who worked at the New Schools Venture Fund before heading to Washington..." Think she has a dog in the race? Talk about rating teachers based on value added assessment when there is no system proved to work is like saying we should start mining the moon with a shovel. Gee, has anyone been working on systems rating doctors, lawyers and even politicians on value added systems?

"Weiss was in town to discuss The New Teacher Project’s report “The Widget Effect,” which was released last month and urged districts to overhaul their teacher performance evaluations."

Ho-ho-ho. The unbiased NTP being taken seriously by an Obama official. This country is in real trouble.

The Gotham article is linked here:

Obama official to New York: Change your tenure law or else

And make sure to read Pissed Off Teacher's and Ceolaf comments. But John Thompson's bears repeating:

Call her bluff.

If moderate reformers in the AFT don’t have the guts to stand firm on this, the backlash will be awful.

If a state as powerful as NY doesn’t have the guts to stand firm on this, others will crumble. OK, a “reformer” has had her say. Obama has bigger fish to fry, but there is a natural compromise that should be a no-brainer to him. The firewall on teacher indicators will be dropped when a firewall is created to keep test data from being used in evaluations. We could still move ahead with the Denver Plan and the Toledo Plan and similar approaches.

After all, it makes sense to use test scores when appropriate as in performance incentives. But it doesn’t make sense where it is not appropriate, as in evaluations where it could destroy the career of good and effective teachers.

I want the AFT to support Obama, regardless. But I’d like my union to be willing to announce the formation of a major litigation fund to destroy any schemes for using test scores for evaluation. I want districts to know that they will lose more in legal fees than they will gain in Race to the Top Funds if they go down that path.

Then when we drive a stake through the hearts of that mentality, I want my union to go back to being as moderate and willing to compromise as possible. If we want sustainable progress for kids, we can’t get punked on this.

If we lose this one, what self-respecting person would make a career teaching in high-poverty schools? We owe this to our profession.

Sorry, John. Don't expect the AFT to do much more than cheer lead. The attack on tenure by the Obama administration is just the cover the UFT and NYSUT need to duck out of the way as tenure law in NYS is gutted.

As a matter of fact, the dysfunctional state leg doesn't even have to be involved. Watch the upcoming UFT contract, which takes precedence over tenure law, as the UFT will trade money for what will appear to be minor modifications but over time turn out to be disaster.






Remember that old tale of the tipsy butler who loved to indulge in his occasional nip when no one was looking.

Each time he replaced what he drank with an equal quantity of water believing no one what detect such a "slight dilution".

And one day the the entire bottle of Red Merlot was crystal clear and strangely, (at least to the imbibing butler), seemed to possess the distinct taste of fresh water from a mountain Spring.

We witness yet again how the teaching Profession is under attack from without and from within as each new contract entails and requires yet more givebacks and sacrifices just to slow the rate of ever weakening teacher protections.

As if trapped on a great cirular treadmill, overworked teachers must constantly run breathlessly just to remain in place without going backwards.

And now the "coup de grace" comes as the barbarians at the schoolhouse gates, want to eliminate that last and final protection a Teacher possesses.

In short, "Tenure" and the right of "due process" requiring a full and fair State Hearing with Witnesses testifying under Sworn Oath before a teacher with 3 or 10 or 38 years in the class room can be uncerimoniously kicked out the front door and down the school house steps.

Few people have ever attended a public "3020a" State Trial during which the NYC Dept of Education attempts to succeed in having a Tenured teacher terminated.

Clearly, the hand writing on every wall, large abd small, in New York State, (probably the entire U.S.A.) would seem to indicate that the concept of "Tenure" in American Education, will soon go the way of the Dinosaurs.

Perhaps this writer's wax stand-in will one day grace an Education Exhibit in Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in London.

The elaborate sign will explain, (and perhaps describe in gory detail), how the man in the dark suit sitting across the table from a New York City Dept of Education attorney/terminator, is being tried to determine his "Fitness" to remain an Educator.

The sign may also include the information, intended just for History buffs, that the wax figure was one of the very last teachers in America to be afforded a Public Trial to defend his Right to continue practicing the occupation of "Educator".

Since a spokesperson for Madame Tussauds has indicated this new Exhibit may require extensive time to complete, it is suggested that those who can, should avail themselves of the opportunity to attend the last real Public State Teacher Trial before it concludes.

These "Teacher Hearings" that are open to the General Public are becoming as rare as snow storms in July.

No doubt they will soon just represent a footnote in history books about Education in the 21rst Century,

The 3020a State Trial of David Pakter, former Teacher of the Year, is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, and resumes on Wed. July 22, at 10 A.M. on the 6th Floor of 49 Chambers Street, directly facing The Tweed Courthouse. The Trial continues on Thurs. July 23 and then Wed. August 5 and August 6.

Michael Fiorillo said...

As long as the Obama administration is talking about accountability, let's mention Timothy Geithner, who as head of the Federal Reserve bank of NY stood by while W all Streetwent on a multi-trillion dollar looting spree, and Larry Summers, who as Treasury Secretary under Clinton pushed for the end of financial regulations that allowed them to do it.

The is no accountability for the oligarchs and their water carriers (Weingarten, Klein, Rhee, Kippsters, Green Dotters, etc.), only for teachers and those who are the targets of their pseudo-scientific data regimes.

Anonymous said...

Fellow educators and people who care about educators and education:

We're perilously close to the edge of the cliff here. Forget accountability, what you'd still like to think are your rights. You have no rights.

The only rights any of us will have left are the rights to defend ourselves and those we care about against the overlords' attempts to either completely enslave us or exterminate us.

I wrote to you less than 3 days back that the not very helpful Education Laws are going to be eliminated.

Probably, most people employed as NYC DoE teachers are in some stage of denial, bargaining or depression. Once a human being achieves the last stage of dealing with a loss, that person ACCEPTS REALITY.

The reality here is simple: the overlords are looking to pillage what used to be education in order to both make themselves richer and have control over lots of other people (read: torture, torment and murder other people, including the families of educators).

For years now, those of us who oppose and challenge the reign of terror have suffered grievously.

We need to understand that the deluded and mentally ill fat cats will stop at nothing to destroy public education in order to make more money and hurt millions of people.

What are you doing to do?

KC on a beautiful, mild summer Saturday

PS: This is dedicated to a brave, self-contained and adventurous, marvelous creature who passed today. Her name is Monica.

Anonymous said...

I find it to be typical of our spineless collegues that so few have responded to such a serious threat.

Now is the time to unite because our ability to earn in this terrible economy is being threatened by the capricious whims of some useless staffer in the Obama mafia.

Such a threat requires a major strike by educators statewide.

It is inconcievable that the largest education system in the world will merely roll over for some faceless bureaucrat. If a stand is not taken here and now, the future of public education in the United States of Amerika will be dead and buried.

The Taylor laws be dammned! We have to take a stand and let the dysfunctional legislature know that such a move will not go unchallenged. The parents need to know that the cheapest form of daycare will cease if this is allowed to come to pass.

The very institution of tenure is an ironclad right that so many educators need to be able to function in this career. It has been eviscerated by the little mayor and his hack of a chancellor.

We have suffered as a profession during the last two decades by virtue of the slanted reporting in the daily rags that pass themselves off as newspapers.

Everyone and their cousin who sat at one time in a classroom is now an "expert" on teachers.

Let these self-professed experts do the job that we do and let's just see how long they last with students who are out of control and with a Gestapo administration that micromanages their every second in one of these prisons for teachers and students.

The union needs to step up to the plate or be decertified. I am sick of paying a dues-harvesting operation to collaborate Vichy- style with a cabal of crooks and treacherous cretins.

This is the time for all teachers to organize and let the union know in the strongest possible terms that their days are numbered if they don't do what they are overpaid to do and defend our interests.

If the United Federation of Turds doesn't do this, then they will face the same fate as the United Autoworkers Union.

Anonymous said...

Not to rub salt in the wounds, but did those of you that voted for Obama GET the change you were hoping for?

Seems as if we, as teachers, ended up with: "Here's the new boss, same as the old boss"....

And, YES, I do think it's high time that we teachers united across the country, stood up for everything that we write about on these blogs, and call for a massive nationwide strike, as another poster said:"Let the Taylor laws be damned". After all, as we have seen, laws are not always about justice. Let the revolution begin!

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see that people are finally deciding that enough is enough.

As I wrote on another list, or maybe this one - the NYS education laws are going to be extinct soon. They'll be accompanied by similar laws in other states.

Two years ago or so, I decided that we were going to end up with "temporary teachers" in the not-so-distant future. 'Same as any other temporary workers.

Hell, we've behaved like illegal, undocumented, terrified migrant workers for years.

No, scratch that. I have been behaving like a frightened teacher who says her prayers and walks straight through her fears to fight back.

Fight back for myself and for other special, individual teachers. And for the kids. And for all of us. And, of course, it often lands me in the worst kind of trouble. It's the price you pay when you resist being churned and burned by the overlords.

Is it feasible to truly begin to build for a nationwide walkout?

Despite the fact that the overlords are looking to replace teachers with computers, and to complete the utter and total idiotization of this country's citizenry (which the fat cats consider to be the prey population), a nationwide action MIGHT just accomplish something other than landing us in jail, in the hospital or cemetery.

Any takers?