Impact bargaining again? Is Michael Mulgrew going to demand another few hours of per session for teachers to give these useless tests and input data?
The Devereux test Mulgrew is criticizing in the email below he was praising just a few weeks back in testimony in Albany.
We are happy to see that this year’s DOE budget, in part because of ARP, includes funding to hire 500 social workers and other mental health support staff. Similar to how members will be able to use academic diagnostic tools, members across the city will be able to use the Devereaux Student Strengths Assessment as a social emotional screening tool to help identify students in need. Members will be able to quickly match students with services including individual or group counseling, mentoring or small group social-skill building.
We know how important our students’ social-emotional well-being is, and as educators, we check on it every day. But the social-emotional screener that the DOE has chosen is excessive and places an unnecessary burden on our members during an unbelievably challenging year.
For this reason, we have filed for impact bargaining since the new process represents a dramatic escalation of our workload for no good reason.
In our last discussions with the DOE on the topic, school officials told us that most students would be screened in January and the screener would consist of only 5-7 questions — a manageable number — so that we could gauge how our students were doing as part of our normal workday.
Now, the DOE wants us to administer a screening that contains 43 questions, a sixfold increase over the original plan. We don’t think such a lengthy screening is necessary to identify which students need extra support, and we can’t allow another strenuous task to be added to our plates during a time like this when we are all at our limit.
The job of an educator has changed this year. We are trying to create a sense of normalcy for the city’s children, day in and day out during a pandemic, in crowded classrooms with guidance that’s constantly changing. We are teaching through masks over the sound of loud air filters and outside noise from open windows. Our students have not been in a large classroom setting for 18 months. We’ve never been this overworked and exhausted.
Again, we see the mayor trying to rush a policy without consulting with those who are doing the actual work. We recognize this pattern: claiming he’s doing something for our children (that isn’t really being done) all for political gain. We know how important assessment is, but any screenings we use have to be done in a thoughtful and efficient way so we spend our time wisely and actually help our kids with what they need.
We will keep you updated on the impact bargaining as it unfolds.