Friday, December 12, 2014

Reign of Terror at Murry Bergtraum as Chapter Fights Back - Updated

John Elfrank-Dana has led a valiant effort to defend the teaching staff. They have also been hammering the union leadership for more support.
Murry Bergtraum chapter should be quite proud. Myself and about six other chapter representatives came and spoke quite articulately about the hell we've been living through and the unfair ratings of almost 40% of the staff. Mulgrew was there along with the vice president of high schools and special reps. We know the tricky part is trying to get  ratings changed en mass. That's going to be hard but our fight is worth it. The meeting lasted two hours.
John just sent in this update:
The Danielson framework and Advance in general are not abusive principal-proof. The truth is they can rate your Measures of Teaching Practice so low that even if your MOSL (student test performance) is Effective it will drop you down into Developing or Ineffective territory. Principals and APs can cherry pick facts on observations justifying a lower rating. They don't want to video teachers because they don't want facts that contradict their version of events. It was a mistake for the UFT to agree to leave videoing these lessons at the discretion of the administration. A downright blunder.

And make no mistake about it, while a Developing rated teacher is supposed to get the same treatment as an Effective teacher, short of the Teacher Improvement Plan, we have more and more evidence they are being discriminated against in hiring, for per-session opportunities and C6 activities. Yet, these Developing rated teachers have no direct recourse like those rated Ineffective.

It's a work in progress but our meeting with the UFT yesterday was informative for BOTH sides of the table- the rank and file and the UFT leadership.
John posted this to the MORE chapter leader listserve recently.
Chapter Leaders:

We have a new principal at Murry Bergtraum after ousting the last two for being bullies. The year started off with some optimism. I didn't have to file Art. 19 grievances for basic information like program masters, teacher grids or Galaxy Table of Organization budgets. Even got her to reverse herself on a Step 1. That doesn't happen very often.

But, the other day a former and much beloved teacher came by the school to visit an expectant teacher on her prep during 8th period. The principal told security not to let him in and emailed his principal to inform him that, to the effect, "Were you aware Mr. X, was visiting our school during school hours?" She assumed this teacher was on a PI or was cheating on school time somehow. The teacher, it so happened, was done with moot court and was on his duty-free lunch. This is actually the third time this kind of thing happened where someone invited by staff was not allowed in, escorted out and/or had their principal notified. That was the last straw.

Any of you have similar stories?

I sent the following to the Chancellor and Superintendent as well as the staff.

Chancellor, Colleagues, Friends, Expats:

Today one of our most beloved former teachers was turned away at the door. He was visiting one our colleagues on her free period. This is someone who did his student teaching here, was a student of mine at Fordham getting his masters, served several years here as a teacher and was a lead teacher whom the Superintendent was very impressed by.

He was coming from Moot Court 8th period on his duty free lunch at the end of the day. Not only was he told to leave but the administration emailed his principal to report that he was here, trying to get him in trouble. How low can you go?

A short selection of previous posts on Bergtraum below the break.

May 21, 2014
Take this opportunity to stand as a proud professional with convictions by saying NO, we and our students deserve better. In solidarity,. John. John Elfrank-Dana UFT Chapter Leader Murry Bergtraum High School. Posted by ...
Sep 16, 2014
A colleague at another school mentioned to me that when UFT leadership was visiting last year and the question of the principal at Murry Bergtraum, Lottie Almonte, came up, my friend said the UFT reps from 52 (Bwy) told ...
Jul 22, 2012
Lottie Almonte's rumored assignment to Murry Bergtraum would be an act of open hostility on the part of the DOE. Given the report below from a teacher in the know on Lottie Almonte, Bergtraum, one of the few large schools ...
Mar 31, 2014
"We stand ready at Murry Bergtraum with an open hand to work with anyone who wants to collaborate. We have the four Cs: Communicate, Consult, Collaborate in the context of the Contract. Dictators will be sent packing...".

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