Thursday, December 29, 2011

Is a Smellout Coming? UFT Should Reject John King Threats to Withhold Money That Doesn't Go to Classrooms Anyway

“The clock is ticking. When the ball drops at midnight on New Year’s Eve, the money drops off the table, and it will be difficult to get it back,” said state Education Commissioner John King.

John King master of ed deform
Message to John King: FUCK YOU! Take your blood money and chew on it. Oh, and John King ran a charter school op in his previous life. Double FUCK YOU!!

And that should be the UFT's message – in more polite terms. Or maybe not more polite terms. But the UFT leadership wants its seat at the table.

Around NY State, principals are rebelling: Principals' Rebellion Against Evaluations Grows ... - New York Times and the UFT should make that point every hour if necessary instead of caving in. Apparently most principals in NY State (but only 50 of the NYC principals had the guts to sign in a sea of lilly-livered careerists).

As Michael Fiorillo pointed out on WBAI's "Wake-Up Call" this morning (I'll add a link when the archive is up), that money is not exactly going to the classroom with a third to consultants - ed deformers with a mission to push out teachers - the backdoor method to end Last In First Out by creating a fool-proof teacher evaluation system to allow the removal of any teacher through manipulation.

NYC Educator pointed out in a comment/critique of Gotham School's story:
"The money, known as school improvement grants, is supposed to help the schools lift their results through a series of changes, like replacing principals and at least half the staff members; giving teachers extra time for training and preparation; and extending the school day. In New York City, it offers, in essence, an alternative to the most common approach to dealing with failing schools, which has been to close them."

This is what the funds may be used for. Articles simply stating we may lose money, without pointing out that this money is earmarked for specific practices tend to mislead readers. Have any of these practices been proven to benefit students (or even improve test scores, something Bloomberg's "reforms" have failed to do after a decade)?
So, really, who gives a shit about money going to administrative bullshit which has little impact? And I don't need no stinkin' research to tell me that.

Amen to VOTE NO's comment:
They  should  give  the  money  back!  The  33  PLA  schools  in  NYC  have  turned  into  complete  disasters!   There  is  nothing  more  upsetting  to  the  public  than  the  government wasting  money.   The  pilot  program  for  the  new  teacher  evaluation  is the  greatest  part  of  the  problem.  It  was   implemented  with  haste,  and  has  led  to  a  toxic  atmosphere  among  the  staffs.  Teachers  are  retiring  mid-year.  Some  are  quitting  mid-year. Many  more  are  looking  to  leave.  The  state  should  listen  to  the  over  1000  principals  that  have  signed  a  petition  stating  this  evaluation  is  deeply  problematic,  and  should  be  phased  in  over  time.  The  Master  teacher  positions  in  the  PLA  schools  have  not  been  helpful  for  the  vast  majority  of  teachers,  and  much  of  the  rest  of  the  money  has  gone  to  out  of  state  consultant  firms.  These  firms  have  done  very  little  but  further  demoralize  the  staffs  in  the  buildings.  The  money  is  NOT  going  to  the   classrooms!   It would  be  better  for  the  schools  to  "lose  the  money"  to  restore  order  in  the  schools.

We had an ICE meeting yesterday and the horror stories from the 33 turnaround schools using the Danielson Frameworks being shoved down everyone's throats - by the union too - is profound. The teachers (and often the admins) in these schools are in an uproar - and many of them are blaming the union. When this crap hits all schools next year the shit will really hit the fan.

So what will the UFT leadership do? Join in the attack on the plan or cave?
We get this from the Daily News article:
City and union officials downplayed the state’s warning, saying they have been working together to meet the deadline. State teachers union officials took issue with the threat to revoke funding for New York City as well as seven other school districts around the state. They noted the State Education Department had applied for an extension in meeting several Race to the Top deadlines the agency faced but not for an extension on the districts’ deadlines.

Do I smell a sellout coming? Or a smellout.

How does the UFT leadership/Unity Caucus respond to the coming storm? They are proposing constitutional amendments that will increase the influence of retirees and weaken the working teacher influence in the union to buffer themselves from the coming storm. (Oh, how will New Action waffle its way through this one and still hold onto its gift Exec Bd seats from Unity?) I have a copy of the proposal and will try to type it up for a later post.

Check out stories:
Gotham: State says districts without evaluation deals to lose funds Jan. 1 
Daily News: City schools stand to lose $60M in funding, state Education Commissioner John King says

I'll leave you with one more comment from Michael Fiorillo at the Gotham post in response to some KIPP Klone (apparently) named Josh Kilroy who disparaged class size as a solution with the usual suspect: "research shows" but doesn't cite the research (send him to a year of reading Leonie's posts).
"Research" - buzz, whirr, click - "better teachers, better ways of evaluating them" - buzz, whirr, click - "privileges of adults served by the status quo" - buzz, whirr, click.

Really, can't you folks come up with one original thought on your own? Is the indoctrination so complete that you can't even develop your own take on these arguments, or at least give your talking points some personal character or expression? Or do you just assume that people are so stupid that they will forever be taken in by the same scripted responses, the same ideology and self interest masked as "research?" Perhaps you haven't noticed, Josh, but the political and economic interests that fund the production of your cliches, are the status quo in education.Before you finish having your cup of coffee in a classroom - if indeed you even are a teacher - consider one simple fact: King, Tisch, Bloomberg, Duncan, Kopp, Rhee, et. al. along with the "Let's-feel-good-about-ourselves-before-we-go-work-for-Goldman-by-lifting-up-the-worthy-poor-and-creating-Skinner Boxes-for-their-training" folks ARE the status quo, having set the terms of debate for many years now.Absolute mayoral control of the schools has been in place for almost ten years in NYC, and over fifteen in Chicago. The ideology and practice of corporate dominance and monetization of the schools has controlled the discourse on education for the better part of two decades, at least. Yet the ed deform cohort, literally engorged with billions from Gates, Broad, the Waltons and administrations both Democratic and Republican, continues to cast itself as the bold, courageous outsiders willing to take on the big, bad teacher's unions. That they cast themselves as underdogs clearly demonstrates the deception, self-deception and bad faith at work. The "research" you refer to is in fact little more than pseudo-scientific, content production-for-hire, with an academic gloss. It's yet one more facet of the Big Lie of corporate education reform. You obviously expect others to believe it, but do you? If so, I wish you great success selling mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps in the near future. Then again, maybe you'll be one of those "education leaders" that Wendy Kopp and her husband groom to parachute into an urban district and dismantle the public schools, for which you'll be amply rewarded. Yes, Josh, in the Brave New World you are a mouthpiece for, there really is money to be made in education.

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on the right for important bits.


  1. I workk in one of the turnaround schools and I can tell you that our EPO (Educational Partner Organization) has done nothing to help us at all. They are hardly ever around and when you ask one of the consultants for assistance, all they do is speak in cliches. They are a joke.

    So is the UFT....I know they are going to sell us out because this agreement will not stop the collection of union dues and will not affect the patronage mill that the UFT has become.

    The teachers in my school are very concerned as we are screwed either way. If the evaluation agreement goes through (and from what I understand, one of the demands of Bloomberg/Walcott is that teachers cannot appeal evaluations--even if the data is wrong!), all teachers targeted based on their experience and salary. If Mulgrew has balls (and I doubt he does) and blocks this evaluation from going through, we all fear that Bloomberg will then move to close all 33 schools ASAP. Our school used to be a good schoool with working class students. Once they started closing all the schools around us, we started getting huge influxes of 1's and 2's and students from outside the district (that is a huge problem both in meeting with parents and involving them and dealing with attendance issues).

    In short, the shell game of low functioning students came to my school. Our population changed and we now have twice the number of ISS students as we did five years ago, for example. At least 50 percent of our ninth graders come from outside the district and a good number of them are overage. We now have become a dumping ground fo ESL students who are overage and have SIFE issues. One of my colleagues has several 18 year old ninth grade ESL students who are illiterate in their first languages.

    New teachers in our school are miserable as this Charlotte Danielson model is killing them. Actually, all teachers are miserable. I am in my 16th year and doubt I will be able to stay until retirement as my workload and the paperwork I now have to do is unbearable. I know that most of the teachers outside of these 33 schools are blissfully ignorant of this, but this hell will visit them soon. Morale at my school is at an all time low. The constant observations, walk throughs, snapshots, etc are degrading. I am lucky that my AP is cynical of all this and within two years of retirement. The Danielson rubric is insane and not grounded in reality. (btw, where is Charlotte Danielson??? She is making gobs of money and her evaulation is now being used only to chastise, intimidate and harrass teachers? Does she have any scruples at all?)

    Will the UFT cave in? Absolutely. Look at the ATR situation. For the life of me I have no idea why the UFT would agree to allow these poor people to be so harrassed and to change schools every week. My advice to young people--don't go into teaching! There is no future in it.

  2. Once again, the name of this film is "Night Of The Living Yuppy"...where thousands of out of state, mostly zombified, whitebread Ivy Leaguers, who use the word "awesome" a lot, and near Ivy Leaguers, decide to carve out public education as a business territory through any means necessary. Their larger progammers, handlers are these out of state corporate concerns who stand to make millions while engaged in the corporatocracy, where private ed. corps. bathe in public funds. And above them you have the Evil Empire of Bill Gates, Walmart Family, and traitors like "Randi" who are doing quite well thank you in this business of education. Ten years from now, "the data" will be just as bad as it is now, but billions profit will have been made, the unions busted, and these ed reform geniuses will all be educrats either running large school systems, poised to run for other political offices, or will be sitting on "boards" managing the kleptocratic education business-all under the guise of helping the poor local kids in your nabe.

    And by then, Randy will have already been Dept. of Ed. boss, and will be either in other large public office, or a millionaire many times over, sitting on multiple "boards" , the leading educrat in the world, living the life of the elites. Yeah, she'll be a real "mover and shaker" all right.

    And the shmucky UFT hops alongside hoping to lick some crumbs off the table-with Randi making the best profits of all. The big winner is Randi, the losers are everyone else.

    Hey Randi, did Bill Gates invite you over for a holiday bash? Did you party in the White House over the holidays? How's your home in the Hamptons doing? Who are you partying with lately? Is your foxy live- in newscaster girlfriend comfy there...? How many fancy restaurants have you been to lately? Are those weekend shuttles from D.C. to the Hamptons comfy enough for you and your gf? Maybe you can work from home even MORE...we don't want you to get too stressed, after all.

    You are a piece of work tootsy...a real piece of work...assured a life of prominence from the blood and sweat of thousands of veteran teachers, and the manipulation of poor kids and their parents.YOU SUCK HONEY...YOU REALLY SUCK !!! And STOP making speeches telling the public that you "served 7 years in the trenches" as a teacher-when you barely worked a year as a full timer. People know about that lie, and OTHER , BIGGER LIES you've perpetrated on the public.

    Enjoy the good life baby...

  3. To comment 1:
    You are dead meat either way whether they close you or not because they will get rid of at least 50% of the teachers even if you don't close. So bite the bullet and join in with others fighting these monster ed deformers and the UFT leaders. We need the staffs of these schools out there screaming.
    Bloomberg has a problem in closing these schools. First he can't do it immediately because the notifications have a time limit. Maybe next year. The other problem is the creation of a hell of a lot of ATRs they still have to pay even if they try to go after them. Resistance is growing and the ed deform agenda is being attacked all over the place. THis is a war and while we lose skirmishes the tide is turning but the more bodies we have to close down PEP and other DOE actions even if they vote the way they want anyway we can show the world the level of outrage and that is bad PR for them.

  4. Norm that is a great response to anon 1. I'd like to add one new one. It is not danielson that kills, it's the administrations of these schools who kill. There is nothing earth shattering the danielson model. If principals were really concerned about supervising and improving instruction and student learning, they would differentiate (how's that for a word) their supervision and work with teachers so that they can evolve and grow in the classroom. The snapshots should work towards that end and should not include any requirement for a teacher's signature. That's right. The snapshot does not get placed in a teachers's file. When the one or two formal observations for tenured teachers or more for untenured teachers come that becomes the document that references how the collaboration has evolved. I know a large NYC hs that does this and they are not a transformation school. The teachers love it because there is no fear involved. They feel respected and relieved. All of this doesn't matter because many schools could not do this because their principals are newbies who no nothing about teaching. Their belief is the same as the doe is the same as the state is the same as the feds: if we raise the bar, which is a euphemism for create fear, everyone will rise. So stupid.

  5. There are some issues with the use of Danielson or the way it is being implemented in NYS since so many principals all over the state are in revolt and even the good ones here are complaining - so we only have 50 out of 1500 with the guts to sign.

  6. I wasn't clear. You are correct. What I meant is that there is nothing wrong per se with Danielson, in terms of what she identifies as good teaching practices. The problem is the way principals implement it as well as the ways in which the state and its localities want principals to use it as battering rams for evaluations.

  7. I agree with my colleague from a "turn-around"- the EPO Consultants are using the schools as "cash cows", and Unity is giving the go-ahead, where I am, John Dewey HS, our CL quickly bought in to the apparent "head" consultant, as he was our "guest speaker' for the last Chapter Meeting, and he laid the bullshit on real heavy, with both CL and District Rep nodding in wise consent- this consultant gave us his bio, his assusance that he is all for "big high schools", and his desire to help us get stronger, while he meanwhile plays on a computer in the UFT Teacher Center (could be counting his new money), and other wise aimlessly walks the halls, ignoring fighting students, et al. We should ignore hin and his minions, or, better yet, show him the door, once the funds are no longer there!


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