Monday, November 05, 2007

Drawing a line in the sand: Stop making concessions on vital education issues!

What's wrong with making an extra $3,000 dollars?

By: Lisa North

As a union that represents the profession of educators, we have the responsibility to speak for the profession. What are we saying when we agree to a plan that will reward educators for test scores? The Bloomberg/Klein/Bush administrations believe the answer to improving urban education is for teachers to work harder to raise test scores. Despite our union leaders' claims that indicators like attendance, graduation rates, and parent surveys will be used, 85% of the bonus money will be based on scores. Our union, the voice of professional educators, has now signed on to that premise.

It is well known, as recently pointed out by Diane Ravitch, that test scores fluctuate from year to year based on how easy or hard they are (Daily News article 9/4/07). The UFT High Stakes Testing Committee spent a year studying the issue and concluded, "those who advocate for the misuse of student test scores to evaluate individuals, schools, and entire school systems are ignorant of or choose to ignore the fact that the makers of these tests never intended them to be used for those purposes."

Our union told us that by signing this bonus/merit pay program we avoided individual merit pay. Where is the line in the sand? Do we continue to make concession after concession until we have lost the battle for high quality education?

Improving urban education requires addressing the social and economic inequalities of our society. Our students need better health care, housing, and jobs for their parents. Our schools need more resources to lower class size, provide real time to collaborate on how best to improve teaching (not collaboration to raise test scores), high quality summer and after school programs in every school (not test prep programs), and high quality parent education programs.

School wide bonus/merit pay plans are a retreat in the face of this mission.


Anonymous said...

SCENE 3: A bathroom in the Waldorf during Teacher Union Day. All of the ICEsickles are sitting in adjacent stalls...

Petey "Bowtie" Lamphere - "Waaaahhhhh, it's not fair, we should be getting the awards."

Jeff "Andy" Kaufman - "It makes me sad to see you cry Petey. Someday soon you will surely win the Cogen Award. By the way, could you pass the toilet paper, it's been nearly a month and I finally took a dump."

Un-Norm-al - "I don't like the toilet paper here, I like the soft fluffy stuff. I bet you Randi gave us this rough stuff on purpose."

"Salad" the Barber - "You know guys, me and the boys can go in there and make sure we all get awards. We'll make them Unity Hacks an offer they can't refuse. Aren't I cool?"

James "E. Turtle" - "I should get an award. I give one on one pension consultations to all of the teachers in my school. Funny thing is, I don't know what a pension really is."

Kip Winger - "Woodhag, why are you using the men's room? I can't go with you in here."

Woodhag - "I'm just one of the ICE guys, we spit on boundaries."

Petey "Bowtie" Lamphere - "I admire you for that. You should have won an award. I'll make you one tonight using popsickle sticks and macaroni."

Un-Norm-al - "This rough stuff is really causing my 'roids to flare. It hurts. We should make a movie about this, it's a conspiracy"

Jeff "Andy" Kaufman - "Can we go to the pub yet? I don't think the people here appreciate my tuxedo t-shirt."

James "E. Turtle" - "Seriously guys, what's a pension?"

Coming soon, Part 4, continuing the bumbling antics of those loveable laughable ICEsickles!

Anonymous said...

This is what I think. Work hard at teaching kids, and if your school reaches whatever benchmark you were set, get the bonus. Why not? It's a win win. I don't think people will work harder for the possibility of a bonus. Peple work hard enough without the financial incentive. People will just work as usual, and if by chance they reach that benchmark, well... the bonus is just icing on the cake.

Anonymous said...

If a school qualifies for the bonus program then it is already considered failing. By failing I mean the teachers are to be blamed. If a school which qualifies for the bonuses doesn't actually achieve them it will be seen as failing. The teachers of that school will be further scrutinized and administration will demand change. Change as in reorganization. As in 50% of staff let go. In my opinion the cons far out way the pros of this program. This is a lose/lose for education, teachers and students.


Anonymous said...

The 9:06 comment is so self centered. This is the kind of cynical me first attitude that has left us where we are today. The bonus is a terrible precedent where if a school meets the benchmarks, Klein will say that he did it and it will just encourage more of this nonsense. Everyone knows that $3,000 will not motivate anyone to work harder. What are we doing then? It looks like we're encouraging people to cheat.

Anonymous said...

Un-Norm-al's Top Ten Randi Conspiracy Theories:

10. Randi Recovered a UFO at Roswell
9. Randi Plotted John F. Kennedy’s Assasination
8. Randi is Responsible for Global Warming
7. Princess Diana was Murdered by the Royal Family and Randi
6. Randi Created the Apollo Moon Landing Hoax
5. Pearl Harbor Was Allowed to Happen by Randi
4. Randi Masterminded the Philadelphia Experiment
3. Randi is Responsible for Flouride in Toothpaste
2. Randi Murdered John Lennon
1. HIV was Created by The US Goverment and Randi

Anonymous said...

10. Randi extended the school day in 2002 after viewing Yankees playoffs from Bloomberg's box.

9. Randi extended the school day again in 2005.

8. Randi extended the school year in 2005.

7. Randi returned us to lunch duty.

6. Randi returned us to potty patrol.

5. Randi opened the door to age discrimination by killing the seniority and SBO transfers, paving the way to today's ATR fiasco.

4. Randi eliminated grievances for all LIF's.

3. Randi allowed mayoral control.

2. Randi allows rubber room victims to languish.

1. Randi got the executive board to vote her and her cronies a raise for all of the above!

Anonymous said...

11:34 you are brilliant.

Anonymous said...

You left so many out like merit pay and suspension without pay based on a biased OSI report. You could easily do a part two with 20 more of Randi's follies.

Anonymous said...

I agree, that was brilliant 11:34.

Anonymous said...

Hey 11:34, do you want to write ICE leaflets?

Anonymous said...

9:06 has it right.

Anonymous said...

Why has Unity been in power so long? I remember when I first started teaching and didn't know which way to vote asking my chapter leader and she said, "well, we always vote for Randi." TFA teachers, small schools, and charter schools will be the end of teacher unionism in NYC unless we strike to get our givebacks back nect time around. Our "union of professionals" is fast becoming a union of glorified test-prep tutors. I suggest woopie cushions and other forms of public humiliation for 2-year ticket to heaven TFA teachers, public flogging of principals' favorites, drawing and quartering chapter leaders who cozy up to administration, and the guillotine for the MBA mandarins of the NYCDOE

Anonymous said...

We can't argue with you.

Anonymous said...

The significance of the largest (NYC) and third largest US teacher union (Chicago Teachers' Union) locals agreeing to merit pay plans can not be overemphasized. Both New York City’s and Chicago’s union leaderships say that the merit pay programs they have agreed to will reward entire school staffs, rather than individual teachers. While school-based merit pay is arguably less damaging than rewarding individual teachers, these agreements are a ‘foot in the door’ for those who seek to further weaken teachers’ unions by the time-honored divide and conquer method. Moreover, these agreements accept the primacy of standardized test scores to measure student learning. And they will lead to the expansion of pay-for-higher-test-scores schemes around the country.

Anonymous said...

To the Unity Hack,

Last time you were a "bit" funny, but these so-called Report Cards gave some of our best city schools Bs and Cs. How can you justify schools with over 80% achievement in level 3 and 4 getting such a low score. It demoralized hard-working teachers and parents who actually take an interest in their children's achievements. Yet, a school like mine, which got a "high A" has students who do not apply themselves and the worst parental support when it comes to homework and behavior issues.

Make all the jokes you want, but the bottom line is that Unity has done more these past few years to hurt educators and education.

Anonymous said...

Randy gave away all our teachers rights that is a FACT. The school report is a big joke. The best schools got Cs and Ds. Please stop making concessions that are killing the educational system. The comments made about the bathroom -- are disgusting. Behave like grown ups and proffesionals. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?

ed notes online said...

Boys and girls:
We love the Unity hack/aspiring Shakespeare. Now that I'm moderating comments and he can't spend his evenings putting his little play on all 425 of my posts, he has little to do (he certainly doesn't do his job at the union very well.) He was a good boy for a while by following my directions to go to the special Unity hack blog I set up for all the frustrated UFT hacks who spend so much time reading our blogs. So if you find more leavings of Unity doo-doo, please copy and paste it there so all can read in one place the postings of the intellectual giants that help run the UFT/Unity machine.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Mr. Ed Notes, we pay these people with our union dues. So who's laughing?

Anonymous said...

From one of Norm's readers:

The United Federation of Teachers "leadership" has nothing to do with classroom teachers beyond literally stealing from us part of our pathetic, insulting, inadequate salary.

The United Federation of Teachers "leadership" has nothing to do with classroom teachers beyond using us to finance comfortable lives including double pensions, travel, jewelry, fine food, good clothes and houses.

The United Federation of Teachers "leadership" has nothing to do with classroom teachers beyond using us to boost their own perceptions of themselves as "successful" corporate types who are living the good life by literally sucking the life out of tens of thousands of hard working human beings. They are nothing except parasites.

They do no work, they perform no function. They lie each and every time they speak to a UFT teacher, guidance counselor, et al.

They are lazy, treacherous and function as exemplary psychopaths possessing no conscience, honesty, decency or ability to distinguish right from wrong.

They are 100% corrupt, utterly contemptuous of us pathetic morons who choose to remain in the classroom (their apprisal of us).

If the rank and file UFT could figure it out, we could likely go after our "leadership" on federal racketeering charges (collaborating with the Department of Education to steal from us and destroy public education as well as the lives and health of staff, students, families, communities).

When any of their number, be it a chapter leader or someone higher up in their hierarchy actually attempts to earn their keep and help a teacher, social worker etc., that decent chapter leader or other is then ostracized, shunned, ignored and punished.

It is long past time to bring down every UFT "leader" who does not work fulltime in a school building.

It is long past time to utterly destroy the "leadership" of the United Federation of Teachers and put the suits who destroy us out to live, homeless, in New York City's streets.

- Yet another sick & fed up teacher has left a new comment on your post "The Stealth Contract":

Well said.