Tuesday, May 11, 2010

UFT: Bleak House

"The unions did not gain any clear benefit from the deal, other than shielding themselves from criticism that they were hurting the state’s chances in Race to the Top."
- NY Times

We hate to tell you so, but we told you so. That the higher the percentage of the vote for Michael Mulgrew, the more likely it was that the Unity Caucus leadership would be freed to give up more without worrying about the reaction of the members. First it was the rubber room agreement, which even without seeing it and knowing the political landscape, we could predict would end up as a losing proposition for teachers.

Now comes the latest agreement by the union Agreement Will Alter Teacher Evaluations that will sink us to new depths - until the next time. Here's the skinny from the NY Times:

The State Education Department and New York’s teachers’ unions have reached a deal to overhaul teacher evaluations and tie them to student test scores, brokering a compromise on an issue the unions had bitterly opposed for years.

The agreement, reached in time for the state’s second bid at $700 million in federal education grants, would scrap the current system whereby teachers were rated simply satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Instead, annual evaluations would place teachers in one of four categories — highly effective, effective, developing and ineffective. While the deal would not have any immediate effect on teacher pay, it could make it easier for schools to fire teachers deemed subpar.

Teachers would be measured on a 100-point scale, with 20 percent points based on how much students improve on the standardized state exams. Another 20 percent would be based on local tests, which would have to be developed by each school system. After two years, 25 percent would be based on the state exams and 15 percent would come from the local tests.

The unions — the New York State United Teachers and the United Federation of Teachers, the city’s union — did not gain any clear benefit from the deal, other than shielding themselves from criticism that they were hurting the state’s chances in Race to the Top. And union leaders who backed the plan could face significant backlash from members, particularly at a time when many districts are planning for layoffs.

The remainder of the evaluation will come from observations from principals and other teachers, and other measures. If teachers are rated ineffective for two consecutive years, they would face firing through an expedited hearing process that must conclude within 60 days. Currently hearings can drag on for several months.

The only inaccuracy here is that there will be little backlash or consequences from the members. The election is over and the rest of the union bodies are locked up by Unity and their New Action lackeys. Am I beginning to sound like "people are getting what they asked for"?

We told you that Mulgrew was more style than substance and would turn out to be Randi light. Check out how the AFT in Colorado and in New Jersey is caving on many issues while the NEA is putting up a semblance of a fight. I will say this time and again. Watch Mulgrew and the 800 Unity caucus members we are paying for in Seattle this summer cave into every sell-out policy.

Watch New Action Mulgrew supporter bloggers try to explain this one away - maybe by raising some questions in a disingenuous "who me" manner while remaining silent at Delegate Assemblies and Executive Board meetings.
I'm more proud than ever to be a 9 per cent dissenter rather than a 91% Mulgrew assenter.

Coming soon:
Merit pay based on the above - leading to total salary schedules being revamped.

And of course, lifting the charter school cap resulting in the UFT loss of another 3% of the members as they flail about helplessly trying to organize these teachers into the union - with a separate and unequal contract. Look for a dues increase to make up the shortfall so Unity can continue to live the life style they are accustomed to.

I'm off to the Pakter hearing. Reports later.


  1. Another 9% dissenter here.

    This is terrible. I really hope my kid doesn't want to be a teacher because I will have to talk her out of it.

  2. What will we consider to be the final nail in the coffin?

  3. Wow, they didn't waste any time after the election, did they?

    I actually thought that there might be a chance that a small shift in Unity's complicity and deceptiveness had taken place, that even they realized that they had to resist or see everything go up in flames.

    Silly me: it was all a sham, and now the attacks are going to accelerate and intensify.

    The union has been so effectively isolated and outmaneuvered (and betrayed?) that Sheldon Silver and the Assembly are the last barrier between us and Armageddon.

    That's a mighty slender thread to hang on by, for how long before Shelley does the calculations and realizes that supporting the UFT is a loser for him?

  4. Who's calling who "numbnuts" now??

  5. Norm, you pegged this Mulgrew idiot from day one. I was once again fooled. From now on, I listen to you.

  6. "Watch what he does, not what he says."

    Where have I heard that before?

  7. And it was done unilaterally like the rubber room agreement and the ATR agreement in the fall of 2008.

    Here is a gross but enlightening analogy:

    "(Kapo), trustee, an SS appointed prisoner who was the head of a labor squad. He or she retained this privileged position by terrorizing subordinate prisoners.

    The Capos were an instrument of the camp regime of humiliation and cruelty, and their role was to break the spirits of the prisoners.

    The Capos had warm clothing, enough to eat and lived in a reserved section to the prison barracks. In many instances Capos who mistreated prisoners were put on trial after the war."

  8. Pogue
    It is not Mulgrew but a series of factors underlying the UFT/Unity/AFT and the ed deform community. In other words, no matter who Randi chose would stull function the same way even if on the surface were different.

    To go into the details of this - some of which we still have to work out - requires a more serious essay which I never seem to have the time to write as long as I am out there as an activist running around from meeting to meeting. Maybe one day soon - but look to Shanker's shift from labor leader to education reformer in the early 80's for the beginning of the shift - not to say that we didn't have many of the similar problems with Unity in the 70's too.

  9. I think after all is said and done, and we have nothing else to lose, we have one more hope... and that is to strike. It won't happen anytime soon but hopefully not too late. Obviously, it cannot come from UNITY, it has to start with the classroom teacher. I imagine our next contract will be a really good one, to help soften these blows and to help us weigh the pros and cons, just like the 2005 contract. I think strike talk has to start now.

  10. Anon 4:51

    Think of the UFT strapped to a log aiming at a buzzsaw feet first. The ankles have been chewed off. The numb nuts are coming up.

  11. This was sent in by email by a source:

    Appeasement was the policy of European democracies in the 1930s that aimed to avoid war with the dictatorships of Germany and Italy. It has been described as
    "...the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and compromise, thereby avoiding the
    resort to an armed conflict which would be expensive, bloody, and possibly dangerous."[1] It arose from the desire to avoid another war like the First World War.

    The term is most often applied to the foreign policy of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain towards Nazi Germany between 1937 and 1939. His policies of avoiding war with Germany have been the subject of intense debate for seventy years among academics, politicians and diplomats. The historian's assessment of Chamberlain has ranged from condemnation for allowing Hitler to grow too strong, to the judgment that he had no alternative and acted in Britain's best interests. At the time, these concessions were widely seen as positive, and the
    Munich Pact among Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy prompted Chamberlain to announce that he had secured "peace for our time".[2]

    The word "appeasement" has been used as a synonym for cowardice since the 1930s and it is still used in that sense today as a justification for firm, often
    armed, action in international relations.

    Vichy[2] France, Vichy regime, or Vichy government, are common terms used to describe the government of France from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the
    French Republic. The government officially called itself the French State (État Français), in contrast with the previous designation, "French Republic." Marshal
    Philippe Pétain proclaimed the government following the military defeat of France by Nazi Germany during World War II and the vote by the National Assembly on 10 July 1940. This vote granted extraordinary powers to Pétain, the last Président du Conseil (Prime Minister) of the Third Republic, who then took the additional title Chef de l'État Français ("Chief of the French State"). Pétain headed the reactionary program of the so-called "Révolution nationale", aimed at "regenerating the Nation."

    The Vichy Regime maintained some legal authority in the northern zone of France, which was occupied by the German Wehrmacht. However, its laws only applied where they did not contradict German ones. This meant that where the regime was most powerful was the unoccupied southern "free zone", where its administrative centre of Vichy was located.

    Pétain and the Vichy regime willfully collaborated with the German occupation to a high degree. The French police and the state Milice (militia) organised raids to capture Jews and others considered "undesirables" by the Germans in
    both the northern and southern zones.


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