Arthur Goldstein's May Delegate Assembly Report is as usual required reading for anyone who is involved in any way with teaching in New York City. At the DA, UFT President Michael Mulgrew finally admitted that evaluations in NYC are "toxic". What a revelation?
Here are the Minutes from Arthur of part of Mulgrew's President's Report:
NYSUT RA was in Buffalo. Asks if they had a nice time. Seems to be growing solidarity across state. Everyone knows Janus. Bill passed that no one will mandate testing for evaluation. Governor supports. Assembly passed it. Comes down to Senate. NYSUT doing good job with this, wants nothing tied to it. About misuse of test scores.
Consultation Committee with new chancellor. Says he’s very nice guy. You can be a really nice guy, but taking over that office is another issue. They want to know if we have to renegotiate. Law says we have a year. If moratorium (on using grade 3-8 tests in teacher ratings) lapses and we don’t have law, all teachers 50% standardized test scores. We have to take people out if they don’t vote for this. Whatever happens, it doesn’t matter. In NYC evaluation is toxic because it isn’t being used properly, and it’s getting worse. Members are observed day after they speak up about something, and admin who do that should be fired. Basis of law is about supporting work of people in classrooms. If professional admin perverts and twists it to lord over and beat people, they shouldn’t be allowed near children.
We don’t want to do anything about evaluation until we understand that this needs to stop. Some people are left alone, Some schools do this the right way, and every one of us wants to work in these schools, really talking about craft of education. Then, we have really bad people. Observation and evaluation should not be a benign activity. We should be in secure environment evaluation ourselves and letting others look at it.
Chancellor agreed if that’s what’s going on it’s no good.
Our UFT President who two months ago said that the NYC evaluation system could "be a model statewide" now admits that it's "toxic" and that it is getting worse. Please don't comment that Mulgrew in February was talking about the choice of what growth model to use and not the observations. The whole system is flawed; the law the UFT and NYSUT are backing will only change what tests are used to evaluate us and won't do anything about Danielson observations. Mulgrew has finally figured out Danielson is not going well in NYC.
How many teachers have had to have their professional reputations and/or livelihoods ruined by Danielson observations before the President of their union finally admits that the observations are being used to get back at people who speak up?
This one sentence really struck me from Arthur's notes of Mulgrew's report: "Basis of law is about supporting work of people in classrooms. If professional admin perverts and twists it to lord over and beat people, they shouldn't be allowed near children."
Welcome to many NYC schools Mr. President! Where have you been the last five years?
I have some sad news for the President: The basis of the law is to fire teachers.
There are hundreds of administrators out there who are using the evaluation system to control teachers and don't give a hoot about improving or supporting instruction. They shouldn't be near children; Mulgrew is right. However one needs to ask:
What has the UFT done to reign them in?
The answer is next to nothing.
How about supporting repealing the evaluation law Mr. Mulgrew and starting from scratch? We have a petition asking for repeal (see right side of page or go here) that over 1,100 have signed and PS 8 has had a rally calling for the end of Danielson now!
Later in his report, Arthur once again cites something Mulgrew says that made me laugh so I didn't start screaming?
Janus—All working hard. Don’t know what more we can do but will think of it. One to one conversations important. Door knocking has been great. Next piece membership teams.
Don't know what more we can do?
How about acting like a real labor union leader for a change Mr. President and working for what the vast majority of your members want by getting rid of the evaluation system? That might convince some people to pay union dues to the UFT post Janus.
Here is a suggestion for right now: How about at the very least convincing the new nice guy Chancellor Carrranza to reduce the minimum number of annual observations to two like most of the districts in the rest of the state have? That would be rather easy to ask for now wouldn't it? If he is such a nice guy, maybe we could get those two observations per year in NYC. No need to change the law for that.