Sunday, December 11, 2005
New Contract Demonstrates DOE Plan to Pit CSA Against UFT
The current confusion over the implementation of the new contract is turning out to be a first look at just how the DOE will cause principals to absorb all of the blame for the contract’s failure. It is no secret that by shifting an unprecedented amount of discretion to principals the UFT leadership will join in this attack. In the end, no doubt, the teachers and students will suffer.
Two cases in point.
Under the new contract many schools will be starting a 37 ½ minute period for struggling students. The contract states, quite clearly, “The parties agree, effective February, 2006, to extend the teacher work day in “non Extended Time Schools” by an additional 37 1/2 minutes per day, Monday through Thursday following student dismissal. Friday's work schedule will be 6 hours and 20 minutes. The 37 1/2 minutes of the extended four (4) days per week shall be used for tutorials, test preparation and/or small group instruction and will have a teacher student ratio of no more than one to ten. In single session schools, the day will start no earlier than 8:00am and end no later than 3:45pm.”
The leadership’s massive spin machine “sold” this provision to the membership guaranteeing that this would not turn into another class period. The most blatant signal that this is or is not a “teaching period” is whether a lesson plan is required and whether it may be formally observed. As to the lesson plan we were and are continually assured that this is not necessary. No quick answers on formal observations yet but it is hard to imagine how they could be permitted if no lesson plans are required.
Then comes the regional principal meetings in which regional superintendents throughout the city are ordering their interpretation of this period. Are lesson plans required? No, according to at least one regional superintendent.
“But what happens when I walk into a classroom and no learning seems to be taking place?” a principal asks.
“Ask for a lesson plan,” is the reply.
Another issue starting to boil came up in these regional meetings. Under no circumstances may any teacher opt out of the 37 ½ minute period. That includes deans, programmers and other comp time positions. Disruptive students in this period under this plan will, we surmise, be supervised by supervisors.
And we haven’t even discussed Circular 6R. Stay tuned. It gets worse.