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.