Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hamburg, NY: A Union Where Teachers Can Vote, Overwhelmingly Reject Evaluation Plan

We got the news last night from our Hamburg teacher pal and Ed Notes follower Chris Cerrone (I hope to join Chris and other test resisters and other Save Our Schools activists at the Occupy DOE in Washington DC this April) that Hamburg teachers voted 217-82 against. No wonder the UFT/Unity leaders won't let teachers vote and I believe this will come back to haunt them. Maybe not in this election cycle but at some point in the future. But then again just how it haunts them will depend on whether there is a viable alternative organizing people. And that means the only game in town, like it or not, MORE. [New Action is still trying to present itself as an option working on the inside but if you buy that stay away from certain bridges.]

I'll be blogging about developments -- MORE will be issuing an official statement by the end of the weekend -- it is going through the democratic meat grinder right now. I also have more of Jeff Kaufman's correspondence with the District Rep and other chapter leaders.

Also see James Eterno at ICE blog.

Hamburg teachers reject evaluation plan as deadline looms in 6 days

District faces deadline in six days to submit plan or risk losing $450,000 in state aid

With less than a week to go before a state deadline is reached, teachers in the Hamburg Central School District Friday overwhelmingly rejected a teacher evaluation plan. The vote was 217 to 82.

Chris Cerrone, corresponding secretary for the Hamburg Teachers Association, said the membership was frustrated with district administrators’ unwillingness to meet earlier in the school year to hammer out the details for an evaluation.

“As an association, we had a committee ready to go at the beginning of the school year,” Cerrone said. “If the district had not waited until the final weeks to negotiate an agreement, the evaluation may have been approved.”

School districts across the state must have an approved evaluation plan in place by Thursday, or they will lose their share of this fiscal year’s increase in state aid, which in Hamburg’s case is about $450,000.

A major sticking point for Hamburg teachers is language in the proposal put forth by a 12-member district committee that would have given Superintendent Steven A. Achramovitch the final say on any teacher appeals of their ratings. Cerrone said the proposed agreement called for an appeals panel consisting of two teachers and two administrators to review those appeals. In the case of a tie vote, Achramovitch would serve as the tie-breaker, which the membership of the teachers association found to be untenable.

“New York City teachers haven’t approved their plan yet, but they did approve a 50-50 on appeals panel, only with a neutral arbiter breaking the tie. Something along those lines would be more acceptable if a teacher were found to be ineffective or developing,” Cerrone said.

He said last year the teachers union had a temporary agreement with the district on an evaluation proposal that affected only third- through eighth-grade English and math teachers in the district. That pact has since expired.

“Basically, that was done to see how the system would work. However, the state changed numerous items, and the old agreement would have to have been reworked significantly,” Cerrone said.


The opinions expressed on EdNotesOnline are solely those of Norm Scott and are not to be taken as official positions (though Unity Caucus/New Action slugs will try to paint them that way) of any of the groups or organizations Norm works with: ICE, GEM, MORE, Change the Stakes, NYCORE, FIRST Lego League NYC, Rockaway Theatre Co., Active Aging, The Wave, Aliens on Earth, etc.


Anonymous said...

The union refuses to acknowledge the following:

The people supervising instruction often do not understand nor are able to assess instruction and offer viable corrective measures in a compassionate and professional manner that is devoid of inflicting "terror" on teachers. This alone warrants dragging out the entire leadership of the Unity Caucus from 52 Broadway and throwing them into prison for conspiring with the DOE to upend education in NYC and hurt children. This of course sounds "insane" and any Unity person reading this would use this as an example of just how "crazy" some teachers and activists are today. But we know better. This is the truth.

What I would like MORE and all of Labor to do is develop an economic platform that seeks to lock arms with the community in order to fight for a jobs program and Wall Street tax on financial speculation. Only when our students' parents have jobs that pay a fair wage and our students have the opportunity to secure jobs after high school or college, will we see authentic gains in student learning.

ed notes online said...

MORE given its new state but due to long term activists does have some community outreach but nothing yet in place due to the amount of work that has to be done. But long term you are right. ChicagoCORE did a lot of work exposing the banks before they got elected. The UFT won't go there because of its ties to the entire power structure. Ergo - the root of my Vichy analysis.