Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Delegate Assembly Report

Wednesday was the first DA of this school year. Without giving away any state secrets, we will attempt to report on the DA as fast as possible.

Mulgrew report: (I was a little late)

Problems with Sesis should go to Carmen Alvarez.

New evaluation system for teachers: There is a letter out to DOE on problems with the new evaluation system because there is not a system based on trust in NYC. Cincy, Ohio and somewhere in Maryland using Danielson framework happily. Only restart and Transformation using Danielson in NYC. Everyone else is using old system. Problem is DOE implementing it properly. It looks like lawyers are in charge. Example is rubrics. Dr. Danielson horrified by DOE rubrics used in her name. Reforms won't work in top down mayoral control system.

Yesterday, UFT sent letter to DOE. Mulgrew said system is broken. DOE is looking for evidence based teaching. 26 months to go with these people in power but we don't want a broken system. UFT must be responsible. We are frustrated. DOE says all is well. DOE disconnected. DOE is calling for engagement. They don't know how to support us. Send problems with evaluation to Michael Mendel. Many schools are not ready for Danielson.

Absent Teacher Reserves: ATRs are being placed but still 1,100 atrs. People staying in district with weekly assignments. Union chapter leaders should reach out and welcome atrs each week in their schools.

Food drive at next da.

Bronx educational summit last week. Same day 28 buses and an Amtrak train went to DC for Martin Luther King dedication and also UFT raised more money than any other group in making strides against breast cancer.

UFT announced BRAVE, helping to stop bullying. Hotline for kids and parents being bullied. UFT spent 50,000 to have the anti-bullying hotline. Politicians all there and grateful to UFT. David Kazanski spoke about anti-bullying hotline run by Life-net. Hotline is up and running.

Mulgrew summarized by saying UFT is engaged in the community.

UFT giving some help to Occupy Wall Street.

Upstate slammed by Hurricane Irene. Most don't have flood insurance. Teachers upstate saving their towns. Story off press radar screen. Small union leader from upstate spoke next about how teachers were there when Wall Street was not.

Mulgrew came on again to say contract negotiations moving forward. UFT preparing for fact finding. (I don't see how much good can come from this but we won't say more.)

Staff Director Report:
Leroy Barr talked of all uft has been doing.

A delegate asked about support for laid off dc 37 colleagues. Mulgrew answered that dc37 put money on table but mayor laid people off anyway. UFT feared mayor would lay off people to make a point and he did just that.

Question about contract. No real answer. that we can report here.

Question about School Construction Authority. UFT working on PS 51 situation. SCA checking lease sights.

Julia Schlakman, excesed teacher from Jamaica, asked who represents her as an atr. Answer was chapter leader in school she is in each week.

Question about bullying by administrators. Answer was to document.

Question about class sizes where a middle school has 36 average in grade 8. Answer is to file contempt of court charges if DOE does not abide by arbitrator's rulings.

Motion period:
Gloria from gem and ice presented a motion that resolved to march to support occupy wall street by marching there after the DA. Motion received 2/3 vote to be put on agenda but time later ran out so it was not acted on.

David from Beach Channel resolved that atrs have a chapter for as long as atrs exist. He explained that atrs have a right to vote. Leroy Barr spoke against it saying said that we do not want to create a permanent chapter for a temporary position. The motion failed but got a great deal of support. Mulgrew acknowledged that voting would be a problem and they would work on it. (I voted for it.)

Regular motions were next on the agenda.

A resolution on on a DA endorsement passed easily. Dan Donovan was the candidate.

Resolution on the new evaluation system was next. VP Leo Casey spoke in support of the resolution. UFT wants this done right and will wok for that. Sam Lazarus spoke against. His school, Bryant HS, is one of the restart schools using the new system and teachers hate it. He said majority would be rated ineffective or developing. He talked about mandated, scripted lessons and teachers having to have exit slips filled out each day by each class. Teachers must rework lessons. Staff is shocked that UFT would support framework.

District rep James Vasquez spoke saying there are issues but the resolution was not about restart schools. Another two delegates praised Danielson and then the delegates overwelmingly supported the resolution. Meeting then ended.

My own feeling is that the new evaluation system will be used against us by the usual suspects and that this can never work under the current DOE leadership. I voted with Sam. A friend said that the UFT promoting Danielson sounds a great deal like 2001-02 when they touted mayoral control of schools. Look how well that turned out.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, James. Do you have any idea how I can get a copy of Mulgrew's leteer to DOE re. Danielson Frameworks?

Guy next to me had a copy; I don't know how he came by it.


Anonymous said...

Isn't in her book?

bookworm said...

Here's a link to the resolution on the UFT website:

Also, I would like to mention that Danielson's book does not label the levels of teaching the same way the DOE does. The DOE rubrics are leveled as "Unsatisfactory", "Developing", "Effective" and "Highly Effective", but the actual book (I own a copy) lists them as "Unsatisfactory", "Basic", "Proficient" and "Distinguished". The change in connotation is telling, in my opinion.

The scariest domain, in my opinion, is the "Professional Growth and Responsibilities - Domain 4" where following school policy as directed (parent contact as needed, school progress reports, etc) will only rate you as "Basic" or "Developing". To be "Proficient", or "Effective", you must go BEYOND what the school spells out (which sort of indicates that the SCHOOL'S policy is "Developing" or "Basic", hmm) and to get a "Distinguished", well, you'd better be showing up at the kids' houses on Monday mornings to make breakfast and follow them home at night, making sure they get a good dinner, do homework, and get to bed early!

On Professional Development, it's similar - taking PD "only when convenient" gets you a "Developing" or "Basic". In order to be proficient, you must show you go OUT OF YOUR WAY SIGNIFICANTLY to seek PD. And forget about the highest level - you'd better be a college professor. Working parents are really going to get trapped by this one. I have three young kids and a husband who works nights/weekends. It HAS to be convenient or it's NOT happening and that has nothing to do with my desire to learn and improve. It's just life.

This is a very slippery slope.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot more schools than people know that are using Danielson's Framework for evaluation.

I believe that the use of this framework is most helpful to administrators. In NYC, an overwhelming number of administrators are just too inexperienced to know anything about teaching and classroom culture.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect when the administrators have spent so little time in a class teaching????? They are generals without ever being foot soldiers!

bookworm said...

The Danielson framework is also designed for schools in which the kids come to class with a certain level of age-appropriate social skills. My students basically spend the day cursing and threatening me and their classmates, throwing things, walking around the room, leaving class to greet friends in the hallways, and stealing my pens, markers, staple remover, and hand sanitizer. How am I supposed to guide class discussions on a "distinguished" level (Domain 3b - where the KIDS generate the questions and run their own discussions and exploration of the issue) when my students can't even put together a single sentence that doesn't include the "f" word or instructions to suck something?

And how is this MY fault as a teacher? I was told to "teach them to have the discussion" by my AP. Well, fine then. I'll just ditch my pacing calendar for the next six months (at least), forget the portfolio pieces we need for the paper trail and bulletin boards, and work on "civility". Oh, no, I MUST cover the curriculum as well, so I guess I am "ineffective".

Anonymous said...

I would really like an explanation from any delegate why they would vote for Danielson instead of against.

I recently read how Tennessee teachers are miserable under a similar program. Teachers once deemed good or now developing.

One really realistic rubric NOT! states ALL STUDENTS MUST BE ENGAGED AND PAYING ATTENTION. Like is there a drug they can take before the observation that will turn them into those kids you see on TV. You know, the one with 10 kids in the class and then the bell rings even though class was only in session for 3 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bookworm. You articulated what many of us are feeling

Anonymous said...

Yes, Bookworm has hit the nail on the head but unfortunately NO ONE Is blaming the kids or their parents! It is the teachers' fault that Johnny can't read! What a sham!

NY_I said...

Thanks for the report.
The software for this evaluation system reeks of the DOE no-bid contract legacy.

The deform foundation connections with Danielson should be no shock to us.