Monday, May 17, 2010

The UFT is now soliciting opinions on Teacher Eval Agreement....

...and chapter leader John Elfrank responds

1. NEGATIVE: It’s a foot in the door for using Standardized Tests and Merit Pay.


2. NEGATIVE: The new system claims to eliminate what the UFT describes as a totally subjective system. Yet, seven of the eight criteria are the same. The UFT says the addition of an eighth criterion (test scores) changes everything. Can’t we find less subjective criteria other than standardized test scores? It’s gonna count for 40%! The UFT says it “limits the influence of state tests on teacher performance evaluations”, it actually INTRODUCES state tests into teacher performance evaluation. Anything less than 100% is a “limit”.


3. NEGATIVE: Since there’s still much that has to be “negotiated” the agreement will only lose some of what appeal it does have. For example, 40 of the eval will be test scores% for starters.


4. NEGATIVE: There are no specifics about how peer review would work, how test scores will be used.


5. NEGATIVE: The contract is NOT enforced now regarding Art. 8, so why should we assume the UFT will enforce what is in our best interests regarding this agreement? For example, if the UFT doesn’t want a “gotcha” system, why doesn’t it challenge the informal observations put in our files and used to U rate us? Read Teaching for the 21st Century… You’d never know it was meant to apply to our members. It was supposed to eliminate the “gotcha” observation.


6. NEGATIVE: Lead Teacher wannabes will compete with their colleagues, not cooperate. After all, it’s who ranks at the top that will get the lead teacher gig.


7. POSITIVE: is that if negations fail the old system remains in place, as would be expected with a contract.


8. POSITIVE: Growth model assessment seems to be the best model if you have to go with standardized testing.


9. POSITIVE: Teacher improvement plan looks like it will be specific and transparent. Again, depending upon what is negotiated.


These negotiations need to take place in full view of the membership in order to invite member feedback. Secret negotiations are only meant to keep the membership in the dark .

BOTTOM LINE: Teaching to the test will take on a new urgency. Gone will be creative pedagogy. Close the Teacher Centers, they’ll be a waste of money. We will all be in the test prep business.


John Elfrank-Dana
UFT Chapter Leader
Murry Bergtraum High School

1 comment:

  1. NEGATIVE: No parity. Some teachers will be judged on tests, others not. (They'll use as yet unspecified other kinds of rubrics for them.)

    NEGATIVE: What about people like Guidance Counsellors? Are they going to rate them on how well the kids keep their appointments? That's about a useful as any of these other criteria in difficult learning environments.

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