Tuesday, May 11, 2010

UFT Prepares Giant Vat of Kool Aid for Delegate Assembly

Vendors report that the UFT/Unity Caucus have ordered a massive vat of Kool Aid to serve the delegates at Wednesday's delegate assembly as they explain how the new agreement to rate teachers based on test scores is the best thing to happen to teachers since the 2005 contract.

Ed Notes has obtained an advanced copy of Mulgrew's speech at tomorrow's meeting. It opens with:

"Well, we beat numb nuts at his own game. He wanted a 100% of the teacher ratings to count for test scores and we kept it to 20%. Well, more like 40% but why quibble. Drink hearty. We are working on how to lift charter school caps, end the ATR mess and get rid of that pesky tenure. Numb Nuts - er- Joel, has promised us he will let us drop UFT fliers off at a few charter schools in exchange for our cooperation."

Since retirees are not covered under this provision - though my wife is now going to evaluate me as a husband based on my getting chores done, I'll let Marjorie Stamberg and others in schools do the venting.

Email from Marjorie Stamberg:

Bottom line: The education "deformers" got what they've been pushing for -- to tie teacher evals to student test scores, and Mulgrew and Unity Caucus have the gall to spin this as a victory!

I could have written Unity's script: "Well, the bad guys wanted to make the evals totally based on student test scores, but we fought and got it only 40 percent based on student test scores, and oh yeah, there's going to be yet another new test in addition to the old test; and an expedited firing process -- so this is a good thing not a bad thing!"

How about just saying no to the union-busters and privatizers? Even the New York Times article said it was a giant give-back for which the union got nothing!

It flows directly from every other sellout they've engineered in recent years, from the end of seniority transfers to refusal to fight the charter expansion head-on to merit pay (that they tried to shove down our throats with a new name -- so called "bonus pay."

Colleagues were justifiably suspicious when the Rubber Room agreement called for an expedited termination process. Now we see it is not being used just for the rubber room, but across the board.

This will be used to pit teacher against teacher. And like "merit pay," and all the rest of their privatizing schemes, it's bad for kids. Particularly students "at risk". If students with poor attendance, second language students, special needs students are going to "drive own" schools test scores, If teachers are going to be penalized by the "test performance" of the lowest-performing students, the tendency will be to "push" these students out of the system.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see the direction of motion. This new system of teacher evals is yet another vehicle to push out higher paid teachers -- they can just get u-rated out the door.

This has to be fought down the line!


Sorry Marjorie. The 91 percenters have no fight in them and we 9% dissenters are too few to do much. Let New Action, the "opposition," do the fighting. Mulgrew could literally sign away every single right, accept a 50% pay cut for teachers, eliminate every single prep period and guess what? New Action will support him and every single Unity Caucus member will drink it all up - and convince the people in the schools he is a really good guy and he's not Randi.

Or is he?

Leonie posted these thoughts:

After year one, all teachers in all grades will be subject to these value-added assessments; implying that there will have to be new state tests as well as new local tests in all subjects and all grades.

o Year one: 20 percent student growth on state assessments or comparable measures for teachers in the common branch subjects or ELA and Math in grades four to eight only, and 20 percent other locally selected measures that are rigorous and comparable across classrooms;

o Subsequent years before Regents approval of a value-added model: 20 percent student growth on state assessments or comparable measures for all teachers, and 20 percent other locally selected measures that are rigorous and comparable across classrooms;

Art, music anyone?

I would expect that all these new tests, as well as teacher time (or State time) scoring them, in every grade and subject, will cost far more than the $700 million that is the maximum amount that NY State could get from RTTT.

I also love the following:

. The regulations adopted pursuant to this section shall be developed in consultation with an advisory committee consisting of representatives of teachers, principals, superintendents of schools, school boards, school district and board of cooperative educational services officials and other interested parties.

Once again, parents are omitted from being mentioned among the key stakeholder groups to have any voice in this system.

After all, it’s only our kids.

Wonder if charter schools will be subject to the same regime.

And these questions the UFT should have raised, but didn't:

The Times article does not say whether the test score component will be based upon one year or several years value-added.

One year’s increases or decreases in test scores are statistically meaningless at the school level; as shown by the volatility of the NYC school grading system; and they are even more unreliable at the classroom level.

Not to mention the complexities of attempting to control for all the demographic and school factors outside a teacher’s control, such as peer group factors, class size, overcrowding, special needs population, and the student’s pre-determined course of learning, based on all their previous years’ educational experiences. (As the class size research shows, smaller classes in the early grades lead not only to greater gains in those years, but a whole different trajectory of learning in future years.)

All of which explains why the National Academy of Sciences has said emphatically that basing teacher evaluations on value-added test scores is not ready for prime time.

What is clear from the article below is that NYC public school students will be subjected to yet an additional set of “local tests”; which will mean millions of dollars to develop these new tests, millions of student hours spent taking them, and millions of teacher hours in scoring them.

In addition, I predict that the DOE will want to give these new local tests both at the beginning of the school year and the end, to sharpen up their “value-added” per teacher component.

And most likely, more NY teachers will even more try to flee from classrooms and schools with high-needs students, the exact opposite of what the federal government, state and city say they are trying to achieve.

Wouldn’t you?

More testing, less learning.



  1. And Mulgrew had the nerve to call KLein "numbnuts", then he does THIS?

    He gets nothing back in return? We have this forced on us "in the middle of the night" without any input, vote, ANYTHING? The Florida teachers pulled a sickout, marched , and protested because they at least knew this was on the table in their state. They considered it akin to the death of tenure. They swayed their governor to veto the bill. This is only EVERYTHING that Klein wanted, and more.

    Sellout !

  2. I could tell you reams of stories of how many people didn't want to run in the election for a variety of reasons but some of them fear. And these are anti-Unity people. With so much activity in other cities, some people are confused by the lack of militancy in NYC at the rank and file level. There are many reasons - the total dominance and control of the Unity machine combined with the often helpless flailing of the opposition parties.

  3. F the Kool Aid. I want wine and cheese. And those nice swedish meatballs they served up at Diane Ravitch's book talk.


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