We see the UFT leadership, as usual, as the ones that are blocking a push for meaningful teacher evaluation law changes up in Albany.
Happy New Year! We want to wish you a healthy and productive 2018.
As we approach the upcoming NYSUT Representative Assembly, we want to update you on NYSUT leadership’s progress in implementing resolutions adopted at the Representative Assembly. Monitoring the progress of resolution implementation is critical in understanding the health of NYSUT as a democratic body. The NYSUT Constitution places the Representative Assembly as the highest governing authority in NYSUT, with the exception of direct referendum of the entire membership. In short, once the Representative Assembly adopts a resolution it is NYSUT’s policy, and the degree to which our officers implement that resolution, is a direct measure of the health of NYSUT as a democracy where our strength derives from the collective will of the members.
One of the resolutions we are watching closely is Resolution 17 Resolution to Oppose Mandatory Use of Student Performance Measures which requires NYSUT to lobby lawmakers to make any Student Performance Measure non-mandatory as part of the APPR. This issue is all the more important as we near the end of the moratorium on the use of SED provided growth scores on the APPR. Despite the adoption of this resolution, NYSUT failed to update its APPR talking points to be used for in district lobbying days last year. Andy Pallotta and Jolene DiBrango have said, in person to unionists, that they are lobbying for the elimination of mandated student performance measures, yet we can find no reference to this position in any lobbying material or NYSUT publication. This is alarming on several levels. In fact, Jolene was recently on Susan Arbetter’s Capitol Pressroom program and she only mentioned the elimination of tests from APPR, not all student performance measures, as is NYSUT’s policy.
It is clear that we need to change the APPR law; it is also clear that there are no valid and reliable ways to incorporate student performance into a teacher evaluation system. It is concerning to us that NYSUT is squandering precious time in this debate by its muddying of the waters with respect to our desired outcome. It is irrational to expect at the end of this process we will have an APPR that is free from unsound student performance measures, if we have never asked or lobbied for them to be removed.
Another resolution adopted at the Representative Assembly was Resolution 15NYSUT Oppose Teacher Participation in Generating Test Questions for the New York 3-8 Math and ELA State Assessments,which required NYSUT to refuse to participate in any endeavor to promote, support or organize efforts to have teachers write test items for the 3-8 math and ELA state assessments until the benchmarks have been corrected. While NYSUT is complying with the letter of the resolution, they are not in compliance with the spirit of the resolution. The ineffective advocacy on this issue makes us look foolish as can be seen in this Daily News article. This is simply ineffective and inexcusable advocacy on an issue that we have taken a position on in each of the last three RAs. In 2016 we adopted Resolution 9 Oppose the Current College and Career Readiness Standards Created by NYSED and a Call for their Replacement, which required that the “NYSUT officers shall develop, and send digitally, an open letter to the parents of New York explaining how the benchmarks have contributed to a false narrative of failure and ultimately hurt children, digitally forward such letter to the editorial boards of major newspapers and make it available to members and parents throughwww.NYSUT.org and other electronic means, as may be appropriate.” Had NYSUT done this, our position on writing test questions would have been much more clear and effective.
It is clear from the work NYSUT has done on the Constitutional Convention that NYSUT knows how to sway the public’s perception on an issue. It is also clear that the membership is expecting the same dedication it brought to a transactional issue like the Con Con, to our transformational issues that deeply impact the professional lives of our members. Every Representative Assembly is a test to determine the health of NYSUT and value of our collective participation, the metric that we measure these upon is the degree to which NYSUT brings life to the positions adopted. We can see that much still remains to be done.