Friday, December 11, 2015


Governor Andrew Cuomo's Task Force on education has just issued their report.  Having had a little time to read the document, it looks like the Governor is going to encourage the Regents to delay for four years implementing junk science evaluations that have high stakes for teachers and students. They are saying that within the next four years they will get the implementation of new standards right.

As we said yesterday, UFT President Michael Mulgrew is claiming a significant triumph. Why isn't everyone dancing in the streets? Are we so jaded that we can't accept a win?  Here is what some respected educators are saying.

The Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association put up a blog post that was highly critical.

Notice that the task force will simply call for "up to a four-year moratorium" on test based evaluations. ...this is essentially a statement by the task force that they support test based evaluations because a moratorium is completely different than getting rid of such evaluations altogether.  Having a moratorium sides with the notion that it's not the reform agenda that stinks, it was just the implementation.  Be reminded that there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that test based teacher evaluations improve student learning at all.  yet the task force is, in essence, voting in favor of them. Junk science will still be junk since in a few (less than four!) years

Fellow blogger Reality Based Educator isn't impressed either.  He writes:

As for the four-year moratorium on test scores, that doesn't mean much to me either - a moratorium is nothing more than a delay and a delay on junk science APPR means they're still using junk science in APPR.

What about education historian Diane Ravitch? In the comments section at the bottom of her story on the Task Force she says this:

Under the proposal of the task force, the Common Core standards will be tweaked.  Teachers will continue to be rated, with 50% of their rating based on test scores.  Their ratings will be part of their permanent records.  But they won't be fired during the moratorium.  At the end of four years, the teacher-evaluation program will go back to the original.

The goal is to deflate the opt out movement. State officials are terrified of the opt outs.  If 500,000 opted out in 2016, it would destroy test-based accountability and spread to other states.  What better way to close the opt out movement down than to declare a moratorium?

So they are giving ground to save the test and punish system for the future.

  • Does this mean teachers will be rated for dismissal purposes based solely on Danielson observations? That won't make too many of us happy.

  • Are we going to be rated on other tests?

  • Is the burden of proof still on tenured teachers if we are rated ineffective two years in a row or does the burden shift back to the school district?

  • Do we go back to the old evaluation system and is the new one just advisory for four years?

My guess is that these are questions for the Board of Regents to decide.

One thing is certain: No matter what happens the UFT will claim victory. NYC Educator pointed out this fact about our union yesterday.  President Michael Mulgrew must be worried that nobody is believing him any longer. NYC Educator is also reporting that Mulgrew is doing a Meet the President meeting which is a thinly disguised re-election campaign event.  UFT elections are coming in the spring.

This blog supports opt-out champion Jia Lee for President on the MORE-New Action slate.


Michael Fiorillo said...

Also, saying that the moratorium will be in effect for "up to" four years is a very clever sleight-of-hand, since it will give people a false sense of security, while opening the door for the re-imposition of the testing regime if/when the opt-out movement has been deflated by this false concession.

Unless parents and teachers keep the pressure on, this version of the Monster will be back sooner than people think

Anonymous said...

I think you said it correctly: you can't accept a win. There is nothing that the UFT could do that you can say is a victory. For several months now, no matter what positive news comes up it's never good enough. Clearly if this was a big win and we were able to change the stakes for the better it would take the wind out of YOUR political sails. Talk about electioneering.

Anonymous said...

Two big questions still remain: 1) Will there be only two observations next year? 2) Will there be outside evaluators doing one of those observations next year?

Anonymous said...

More questions than answers. UFT will mess this up.

Bronx ATR said...

Justice delayed is justice denied.

Anonymous said...

Delaying Common Core to deflate the Opt Out Movement is indeed justice denied. Cuomo thinks everyone is stupid. Mulgrew is selling this as another victory? Why would Mulgrew help Cuomo in selling this crap? I guess he thinks everyone is stupid too.

Anonymous said...

He will get reelected with 80% of the vote and Jia and Portelos spitting the rest. Teachers are not called New York's dumbest for nothing.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I agree with you. Teachers on a whole are book smart but not street smart - and the UFT is a racket. Mulgrew must have carpenter union ties, he runs the UFT like the old carpenters local 608. How does he have the balls to demand a loyality oath?

NYC Educator said...

Actually the recommendation is not to stop junk science. It's only to stop Common Core state-based junk science. It appears to be a potential win for local junk science.

As for electioneering, as for expressing opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. I have no objection to people supporting Mulgrew. Unless, of course, it's supported by our dues money. Neither this blog nor mine is. But Mulgrew's galas over at the dump in Woodhaven most certainly are.

That's unethical and unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

Meet the President galas and UFT commercials for the members have been going on for years during UFT Elections NYC Educator. "Unacceptable and unethical," what do you plan on doing about it? A big complaint on the blogs and Twitter ain't changing a thing. Mulgrew laughs at that. What percentage approved the contract? Around 80% of New York's dumbest. Same percentage will vote for Mulgrew's reelection. We have met the enemy and they are us.

NYC Educator said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comments, anonymous. I plan to continue to expose such things, as I've done in multiple venues, I plan to oppose Mulgrew's people in the next election, I plan to win, and I also plan to continue to serve NYC's children and represent rank and file every day.

What do you plan to do?

sullio said...

Mulgrew laughs at the blogs? Is that why his errand boy Andy Pallotta recently complained to the attorney general about a blog? And why even comment here if it won't change a thing?

Anonymous said...

You have my vote. Thank you for your work. Wish I could convince 50,000 others.