That is what Michael Mulgrew and the Unity machine have left out. Context.
One of their main arguments was to point to the NY Post claims that Klein opposes the plan vehemently. "He's up in Albany right now trying to get it defeated," said one top union official. "If Joel Klein is against it, I am for it," said Michael Mendel. Peter Goodman is pushing the same line. Check out this very funny title of his blog post:
The Dynamic Duo: Tisch and Steiner Seize the Education Agenda, A New Teacher Evaluation System Created and Supported by Teacher Unions.
I found it hysterical when Mulgrew went over the top praising Meryl Tisch and David Steiner: It was wonderful working with these people at the state and so different from working with numbnuts- er - Klein. "These people really know education," he said. Sure, Meryl spent 30 minutes teaching kindergarten in a Hebrew school.
Does Mulgrew really expect us to fall for this? Tisch lives next door to Bloomberg (we were picketing her too in Jan.), is a major ed deformer and has numbnuts Klein at her Passover sedar.
Next time Joel asks the 4 Questions:
How is this sellout by the UFT different from all other sellouts?
The UFT knows it is being good-copped and bad-copped and tries to sell this crap to the members. You can only sell the same piece of cheap costume jewelry so many times.
Then they tell you that the teacher has some rights to deal with the principal. Oh sure, teachers will sit down with the principal. "They can't be forced to do anything they don't want to," they said. As I said to one of the top members of the leadership, "What world are you guys living in? Do you have a clue as to what is going on in the schools?" Ten minutes after the teacher tells the principal 'No thank you', whammo- verbal abuse charges. "You didn't tell that child how nice she looked. Rubber room. Oh, sorry, no more rubber room. We'll just fire you in 60 days."
The UFT has proved time and again they can't protect anyone. As I said, "Context."
If we trusted BloomKlein, or even the UFT leadership, the plan might even be a good one. But there is always context. On paper every football play works. In the reality of the NYC DOE, all balls are in the air.
They talk about a growth model for students. Meaning value-added, which has been much discredited. See Leonie Haimson's analysis I posted a few days ago (UFT Prepares Giant Vat of Kool Aid for Delegate Assembly). Interesting that a parent activist does the real work of presenting the issue honestly while the UFT sells their narrow self-interest to the members.
When the question was raised as to why this contract change is not going to the membership, Michael Mendel said: We didn’t go to the membership. We are the leaders of the union.
Of course they don't dare go to the membership as at this point there is major outrage. They need time to massage the members by sending out their troops to the schools. (By the way, that will be an indication of just how worried they are - a sudden appearance of every working stiff at 52 Broadway and from the borough offices and the district reps in the schools, the way they had to do it in the 2005 contract vote.)
The vote was overwhelming for the new teacher evaluation system at the Delegate Assembly on Wednesday. A slam dunk for Mulgrew and the Unity machine (see anon comment below on how Unity controls the DA). Even opposition people thought Mulgrew did an effective job of quelling the doubts even if they weren't convinced. But remember, the DA is a Unity body. That there were doubts in the first place withing the machine is indicative of some shakiness. But it is always easy for the leadership to calm the Unity gang. They have a vested interest in supporting all leadership positions.
What has to be understood is that it is very important for the leadership to make sure the caucus is on board because it is their job to sell it to the rank and file.
Some opposition people spoke. Peter Lamphere, Bronx HS of Science Chapter leader spoke very effectively. "There is not one rubric my principal can't figure out how to get around." There was a hush in the room when Peter, one of the best math teachers there is (students and other teachers rave about him, said he had gotten 2 U ratings.
If there was one statement that put the whole thing in context, that was it. The UFT can't even protect their chapter leaders from the vicious attacks. Chapter leaders who are renowned teachers. In some unions, the orchestrated attack on shop stewards, the glue of the union, would be a strikeable offense. Context.
The Peter Lamphere context is what makes this agreement a joke, no matter what it says on paper. A good chunk of the rank and file is living in fear of principals from hell. And that is what will inform their reaction to this deal over time.
So where does the mass of teachers out there in the schools stand? I think it will take the actual implementation horror story to play itself out over the next year before we get the full reaction. Will senior, higher payed teachers start disappearing - something the UFT will do its best to cover up?
I thought it interesting that I got two phone calls within 15 minutes yesterday from reporters from major top level publications asking about rank and file reaction. While I am usually a skeptic about the r&f because I have seen the Unity machine sell just about anything in the schools, these calls raised my antenna. These reporters must have been sniffing something out. I was asked whether I detected any negative reaction within the Unity machine itself. There are a few signs but not enough to create problems for Mulgrew. The real job of the school based Unity people will be to see how their members react. I have been polling some of the activist in schools with Unity chapter leaders to see how it is going for them. Something worth watching.
Not surprisingly the Q&A left out the expedited dismissal procedures of the new agreement. In fact their spin make the new agreement look so good it’s a wonder we didn’t agree to this years ago.
The low point of the DA was the highpoint of Unity arrogance and emptiness. Sounding like gangster union head Johnny Friendly in On the Waterfront, UFT Secretary Michael Mendel squashed skeptics bellowing: “Yes, we didn’t go to the membership [on the secret teacher evaluation deal]. We are the leaders of the union.” Translation: If you don’t like the deal, drop dead.
An anon CL
I was surprised at how the delegates accepted this evaluation thing. There were plenty of dissenters, myself included, but I didn't get a chance to ask a question. I also have issues with the way these things are run. They plant their special reps in the crowd to help move the mass along. I can't tell you how many times the crowd was absolutely silent and a Tool-in-a-suit would start clapping softly at one of Mulgrew's talking points. This soft clapping prompted clapping from the people around him and gave the impression that the people were more in favor of this all than they seemed to be. I hate the politics of the Union and makes me want to resign my CL-ship. I stick around for my members, but that's all I work for.
Another anon CL
Perhaps I should bring some Vaseline to the DA on Wednesday for the big screw. I feel ashamed today.
Other bloggers are on a rampage.
Perdido Street School has 3 posts, calling one union leader a "bald-headed pimp." (Hmmm. My principal used to call Randi a whore for selling out.)
Mr. A Talk: the Q and A fails to mention you're terminated 60 days after two unfavorable rating.
Chaz had a running battle on his blog with 58 comments:
Is This The Beginning Of The End For Seniority Protections? Is Teacher Tenure Next?
NYC Educator pin his post From the Folks Who Brought You the 2005 Contract
After having read voices like Diane Ravitch and Aaron Pallas on "value-added" measures of teacher effectiveness, I'm fairly convinced that there is no way to use it effectively. That's one reason I was wary to see the UFT get into bed with Bill Gates and his "Measures of Effective Teaching" program.
It appears the "teacher input" is restricted to those who control the union--the folks who brought us the 05 contract which was the best thing since sliced bread (which is highly overrated when you consider all those artisan breads you can bring home and cut yourself.) The best I can see is if we don't reach an agreement, the old arrangement stays in place. If we do reach an agreement, watch the eraser sales at Staples quadruple as teachers and administrators all over the state scramble to inflate scores.
And so it goes.
The UFT Q&A spinning straw into gold machine is at: http://www.uft.org/news/teacher/qa/teacher-evaluation/