Friday, December 07, 2012


The Administration at Jamaica High School informed me yesterday that our School Improvement Grant money will soon be on the school's budget.  One assistant principal asked if I felt a deal on the evaluation system was imminent now that the DOE will be releasing more funding to schools.  I said that I didn't think it was a done deal yet but everyone I talk to and what I see on the internet points in the direction that the negotiations are close to being finished.  In my circle, there is a strong consensus among rank and file UFT and CSA  members that principals and teachers will be completely sold out when the new evaluation rules take effect. Based on the parameters of the law, this is a reasonable prognostication but as always the devil will be in the details.

I read the Gotham Schools post yesterday on where the negotiations stand currently.  It looks to Gotham like things have not been settled but this does not look like it will end happily if the issues they are talking about are what's on the table.

Here is what Deputy Chancellor David Weiner laid out for possibilities on observations according to Gotham: "Should you have five (observations) a year of that pre-observation, observation, post-observation?  Should there be two pre-observation,observation, post-observation?  Should we eliminate the pre-observation and post observation and just make it an ongoing cycle of unannounced visits?  Should the observation be shorter-- should [observers] come in for 15 minutes at a time?"

Five observations in addition to the junk science of value added.  It's back to my probationary days.  What are they trying to prove?

If I were negotiating, I cannot see circumstances where I would agree to a deal with the current city regime as anything they would sign will not be a teacher friendly or principal friendly system.

What do you think?



Anonymous said...

As a veteran teacher, I am not at all concerned with doing a couple formal observations per year. (I am tenured but still prefer to do a pre-ob as well) What I am very concerned about is the "unannounced formal observations". I have a feeling there will be many vindictive principals who will perform these unannounced formal observations during last pereiod of a day before a vacation or the minute a class gets back from a field trip. Do these unannounced formal observations mean that teachers will need massive, detailed lesson plan books for every minute of the day? My understanding of the current contract states that lesson plan formats can not be dictated by administration unless the teacher is "U" rated. I am expecting a UFT sell out but I am praying for a sane evaluation system to go through.

Anonymous said...

Like many of your readers, I read the other blogs as well. They do an excellent job relaying personal thoughts as well as valuable information that relates to the politics of the system we work in. But to say many of them talk in DOOMSDAY terms in respect to this upcoming eval. deal is a large understatement. How many teachers in the city are paying mortgages? Have or are planning to have children? Paying off loans? Pay rent? Put food on the table for their children? etc, etc, etc. Can this eval. system that might just be arriving really devastate the lives of literally thousands and thousands of teachers thus making them lose the ability to pay for the above mentioned? Well, just get another job then? How in the world is someone who made it their busines to teach years ago and finds him/herself at 90plus thousand going to find another job that pays that?
As a veteran of the system, I'll tell you that I am paranoid when it comes to the system and this evaluation conerns me greatly - the only thing keeping me sane in respect to what might be arriving is the thought that it is mindboggling to think that any evaluation can lead to such DRASTIC firings realizing that the lose of employment for even one who is unfairly evaluated is unjust. Perhaps a 15 year vet can still be considered naive? I don't know anymore.

reality-based educator said...

Clearly the UFT will not be able to help you if you are "I" rated.

Since only 13% of "I" ratings can be appealed, they will save those for friends and cronies.

So teachers are on their own.

Best thing to do is get as knowledgeable about the new system as possible, learns the flaws, problems, etc., especially as relates to the margins of error, swings in stability, and biases inherent in the VAM, and when you get VAMMED by APPR, get a good lawyer and sue them.

It's a shame that it will come to that, but quite frankly, I think that's where it's heading.

James Eterno said...

Pressure from the rank and file is the only way to halt it.

Anonymous said...

James or anyone else, How does one apply pressure? Is spreading the word to as many as we can not enough. Really, how is it that we can apply pressure?

Anonymous said...

Thousands of people telling Mulgrew that this is unacceptable would be a nice start.

Anonymous said...

Another action that the rank and file can do now is sign the MORE (Movement of Rank & File Educators) Petition demanding that members have direct input via discussion and a vote on the final evaluation system. Sign on-line here ( ) or better yet, download a hard copy by going to the MORE website ( and passing it around your school. MORE will be bringing this demand via a resolution to the delegate assembly once again on Dec. 12. Let's see if the UFT Leadership allows it to reach the floor this time since at the prior DA on Nov. 28 there was extremely limited time given to members concerns.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anon - Just signed and sent it to every teacher I know.