Monday, March 28, 2016


The Education Transformation Act of 2015 is a disgusting piece of legislation. In making the case that the UFT should oppose its repeal, UFT Vice President for Middle Schools Rich Mantell argued before UFT Delegates last week that we don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater as there are good parts to this law that we don't want to lose.

The ICE-UFT blog has looked at the law anew to see if there are any redeeming features in it.  Our analysis shows that out of eight subsections, maybe one or two parts could be kept and it wouldn't be horrible news but overall the provisions of this law are as overwhelmingly horrific for education and educators as we have stated.  Let's review each sub-part.

Sub-part A-500 scholarship awards for those looking for Masters Degrees in Education. This is nice but way too little to solve the pending teacher shortage as teachers continue to be bashed by the state and nationally.

Sub-part B-Raises the grade point average required to get into teaching programs in college. Increasing the requirements to enter teaching while cutting pensions and making the job a nightmare by an oppressive evaluation system is ridiculous. I guess the state is trying to ensure a teacher shortage so they can hire more teachers through alternative certification routes and pay us less.

Subpart C-Beginning in 2016-2017 teachers must register with the State Education Department and take 100 hours of continuing education.  I almost forgot about this one. 100 more hours of listening to edu-babble is certainly something I could do without. Registration is just another useless bureaucratic requirement that serves no useful function.

Subpart D-Extends probation for new teachers and principals to four years. How does this help anyone want to pursue a career in teaching? Three years of probation is quite enough thank you.

Subpart E-New evaluation system for teachers and principals. This is the evaluation system based on the matrix that makes student test results (junk science) count for half of our annual grade. It will be up to the State Commissioner of Education to set the minimum number of observations for each teacher. The outside observers observing us at least once a year are included in this provision too.

Subpart F-A testing reduction report must be done by the Chancellor of the Board of Regents. This had to be in by June of 2015 and is meaningless.

Subpart G-New dismissal procedures in 3020b hearings for tenured teachers. Expedited dismissal is in here.  Two years of ineffective ratings creates prima facie evidence of incompetence.  For those who are not up on their legal terms, here is the meaning of prima facie from Google: "based on the first impression: accepted as correct until proven otherwise." Teachers are guilty until proven innocent under the new procedures as we have maintained. Certain teachers will have to prove fraud to survive. Anyone who believes in rudimentary fairness must oppose subpart G. For those outside of New York City, this provision also compels a single arbitrator rather than a three person panel for dismissal hearings. New York City gave up the right to a three person panel some years back.

Subpart H-State takeover failing schools. This is the part that creates receivership where a receiver can be appointed who can basically throw out the collective bargaining agreement and force teachers to reapply for their jobs.

For a UFT vice president to state at the Delegate Assembly that we don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater concerning this pile of garbage legislation shows that either the UFT leadership and their blind followers in the Unity Caucus are ignorant of the provisions of the law or they support them.

Either way, they do not deserve to remain in office. I would hope that the people in MORE and NEW ACTION would make this a big part of the election campaign.


Anonymous said...

"Subpart C-Beginning in 2016-2017 teachers must register with the State Education Department and take 100 hours of continuing education"

I've heard different thoughts on this. This is not PD hours, correct? Does this get rid of the 175 hours of PD every 5 years? These will be courses we have to pay for outside of DOE? Sounds like some serious BS. More of our raises getting thrown away. Like people have time to take courses on top of families, lesson planning, stressing all the time, etc.

Anonymous said...

Did a little digging:

Q1: Who will be required to complete these continuing teacher education hours?

A1: Holders of professional certificates in the classroom teaching service, holders of Level III teaching assistant certificates and holders of
professional certificates in the educational leadership service.

Q2: How many hours of continuing education will be required?

A2: A minimum of 100 hours of continuing teacher education will be required during each 5 year registration period.

Q3: Do these 100 hours of continuing teacher education replace the current professional development hours’ requirement for teachers and Level III teaching assistants?

A3: Yes.

Q4: What will count toward these 100 hours?

A4: The State Education Department is charged with developing standards for these 100 hours. As of September 25, 2015, the standards have not been developed.

Q5: When will this “100 hour” requirement begin?

A5: The requirement will begin July 1, 2016.

Anonymous said...

My reading of the law states that there are two observations. 1 by principal and 1 by outside evaluator. If school districts want to add more than these two observations that has to be negotiated locally. However, you wrote in your blog that the commissioner is setting the number of observations. Can you site your source on this or clarify?

Anonymous said...

Further reading of the law states that only professional certificate license holders have to do the 100 hours of PD. Teachers such as myself who have a permanent license do not have to do the hours. And yes, I know that the NYS does not issue permanent licenses anymore but I and a few thousand teachers will be grandfathered in on this according to my reading of the law.

James Eterno said...

The law says the Commissioner sets the minimum number of observations. Let's be careful here as we are mostly teachers and not lawyers. We are interpreting provisions but SED has final say. I have very little confidence in Commissioner Elia.

Anonymous said...

I have little confidence in Elia as well. However, I also have very little confidence in the NYSUT or the UFT who may be needed to step up with any "interpretations" of the law that may be fought with lawsuits. SED should not be able to change or mold the law to their liking if the law is clear in its writing and should rather be applied literally. We all pay big bucks to have education lawyers on retainer for the NYSUT/UFT. These lawyers may very well indeed be needed in the event that SED starts messing with the law that further erodes the working conditions of teaches in this state.

Bronx ATR said...

The UFT should fight this tooth and nail. There's no baby in that bath water, just a large turd. Only the UFT could confuse the two.

Anonymous said...

Mulgrew's not the one. He's been treading water for years. Winegarten did a bit of damage, but we really fell off the cliff in the last two years under Mike. This managed retreat strategy is the pits. Mulgrew can't even muster the stones to fight for us when the wind is at our backs on opt-out! He's the worst! Mostly, I can't stand they way he speaks to us at DAs like we're dummies. The whole "finish my sentence" spiel is so condescending,