Friday, April 13, 2012

Hard Questions from A Principal to Randi Weingarten and Richard Ianuzzi and a Teacher's Response

Randi's statement that New York's APPR was the best one negotiated in the whole country, should have been immediately challenged. Who wants to be the best when this system is the worst? As AFT leader, she should have led the fight to outlaw any APPR, anywhere! Richard's statement, downplaying the role of his union members whose voices he's supposed to represent, also should have been quickly challenged. Randi "begging" teachers to give APPR a chance, is a disgrace and she should be recalled - like Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin will be in June. Are all the stong union leaders, like Al Shanker and Sandra Feldman dead or are they just playing dead because they lack backbone and gumption?--- Janet Meyer
I mentioned how difficult it was for me to convince legislators to consider these amendments since the heads of the teachers' unions shook hands with Cuomo, and legislators believed it was a done deal. In her recent article in "Harvard Law and Public Policy" Weingarten states: "And yes, student test scores based on valid and reliable assessments that truly measure each student's growth in each teacher's classroom should be included in the mix--but not in a disproportionate way." How is this position reconcilable with the recently passed APPR where there is a possibility that a 40% ineffective score on exams can lead to a 100% overall rating? --- NYS principal

Are our union leaders Quislings? (see my next post for some interesting tidbits)
(Do you think it is time to challenge the UFT leaders? - State of the Union - UFT)

I got a call from an independent reporter the other day asking about the union. He said that every teacher he speaks to is unhappy at the lack of defense. But so are principals it seems. You should look at the video at vimeo I put up where principals seem to be defending us more than the union: Shael Channels Leo at HST 101 Event. 

Also see this post from yesterday from a chapter leader: UFT Buries Voices of Dissent on APPR.

Below are some comments from an upstate Principal and a response from retired Bronx teacher Janet Meyer posted on Mark Naison's listserve.

Janet Meyer responds to the principal:
I don't think that the principal really asked the HARD questions of Randi Weingarten or Richard Ianuzzi!

He should have asked, "How can both of you as leaders and spokespeople for so many teachers, in good conscience, EVER have endorsed evaluation of teachers using standardized test scores, knowing that these tests are not valid, not reliable and completely useless?"

Randi's statement that New York's APPR was the best one negotiated in the whole country, should have been immediately challenged. Who wants to be the best when this system is the worst? As AFT leader, she should have led the fight to outlaw any APPR, anywhere! Richard's statement, downplaying the role of his union members whose voices he's supposed to represent,also should have been quickly challenged.The unions speak for the teachers, with or without petitions!

For Ianuzzi to say that the Principals' petition "stiffened Cuomo's resolve," also is a statement that needs to be challenged.What would Cuomo do, raise the APPR to 50% or 100% of a teacher's evaluation? Maybe a stiffened response would have brought the house down on him. By his going too far, maybe all educators,all administrators,all all superintendents, all teachers, all unions, would have stood up and renounced APPR in its totality!

My belief is that While Ianuzzi may have been "rude" to question where the Principals were earlier in the process, I think he was right on target! From the very beginning, when evaluations of teachers by use of the dumbed down, fraudulent, manipulated state test scores were first suggested, all adminstrators, all teachers, all unions, should have been shouting from the rooftops that this system of evaluation is all wrong and totally unacceptable!..Is it good that the principals are fighting back now? Yes, yes, yes! But it is much harder to fight a system that is already being implemented than one that was just in the preliminary discussion stages. With the power of the AFT, the UFT, the NYSUT, even the NEA, this deceptive, harmful assessment of teachers shouldn't have gotten off the ground!

Randi "begging" teachers to give APPR a chance, is a disgrace and she should be recalled- like Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin will be in June. Are all the stong union leaders, like Al Shanker and Sandra Feldman dead or are they just playing dead because they lack backbone and gumption?

It is not too late to fight. THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE IS GREATER THAN THE PEOPLE IN POWER

Janet Mayer, 51 year NYC teacher and author of AS BAD AS THEY SAY? Three Decades of Teaching in the Bronx

To see more of my opinions, check my blog,

   http://asbadastheysay.info/

The principal:
I think I struck a raw nerve today.

This afternoon Randi Weingarten (AFT) and Richard Iannuzzi (NYSUT) came to visit Clarkstown. I had the opportunity to ask the first question in front of 550 teachers, 50 teaching assistants, and 25 school administrators. I identified myself as a 31-percenter who has signed on to the principals' petition and also to the petition by generated by the Lancaster's Teachers Association. I then asked Randi Weingarten the following question:

In her recent article in "Harvard Law and Public Policy" Weingarten states: "And yes, student test scores based on valid and reliable assessments that truly measure each student's growth in each teacher's classroom should be included in the mix--but not in a disproportionate way." How is this position reconcilable with the recently passed APPR where there is a possibility that a 40% ineffective score on exams can lead to a 100% overall rating? I also asked her to support our three amendments and identified each one of them. Additionally, I mentioned how difficult it was for me to convince legislators to consider these amendments since the heads of the teachers' unions shook hands with Cuomo, and legislators believed it was a done deal.

Randi Weingarten's response was that there is a very remote chance that a teacher will be found ineffective overall if there was a 40% ineffective rating on test scores. She also stated that if this was ever the case, the union would defend the teacher and ensure that the teacher had an opportunity to improve. She stated that New York's APPR was the best one negotiated in the entire U.S. Since 80% of the APPR is negotiated at the local level. She begged teachers to give this a chance.

Iannuzzi's response was more telling. He stated that the principals' movement had the "opposite effect" and "stiffened Cuomo's resolve" to get an APPR deal done and even one that was worse. He also stated that unions do not operate by petition. Instead, he told me, representatives of unions get deals done at the table and not by members petitioning. He also stated that the letter came after the fact and was too late and asked where the principals were all along in the process?

Some teachers told me later that they believed Iannuzzi's comments about the principals were rude. Although they were rude, I think we have touched a sore spot since we are stating what the rank and file teachers are not allowed to say by local union leadership that has followed the lead of their Albany heads. One teacher left the auditorium and made the following summative comment in response after listening to Weingarten and Iannuzzi for over one hour: "This is bullshit."

I recorded the entire presentation, including Iannuzzi's remarks about the

principals.

It seems that the principals' movement has made a difference even if we have invoked the ire of the collaborators. Let's keep on going!

Hope everyone has a good break!

Harry Leonardatos

Blog: http://nysocrates.wordpress.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nysocrates

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