Sunday, June 02, 2013


Thanks to some friends for sending out Commissioner King's evaluation decision.  I have spent a great deal of time today reading the entire King ruling and so should everyone who reads this blog.

It is basically a convoluted, muddled mess of incoherent bureaucratic nonsense that most teachers, including me, will take a long time to figure out.

Upon first reading, it is abundantly clear that the the DOE clearly won the so called "arbitration".  Take for example the new arbitration days that have been added to address complaints that the DOE is not complying with the procedural requirements of the new teacher evaluation system.  The UFT is calling this a due process gain. I would disagree on that point and here's why.

The UFT gained 15 days for arbitrators to hear ten cases per day.  That means out of 75,000 teachers, 150 will be able to grieve to an arbitrator that procedures in the new system aren't being followed. Does that make any of you feel your due process rights have been expanded?

We'll have more to say when we study this in greater detail.  For now, people are asking if anything can be done.

Jeff Kaufman sent me the law and there is an appeal process if the UFT would choose to use it.  Here is the section of the law:

The UFT would have to argue that King exceeded his constitutional authority, which would be a tough standard to meet but otherwise expect a new universe when we return in the fall.
Reality Based Educator said it best in a comment on the piece that was posted this morning:
"The UFT can try and spin, but once the system is up next year and work- loads increase 100-fold and everyone is on edge about getting VAMMED or SLO'Ed or Danileson'ed, the spin won't matter."


Anonymous said...

Hello unemployment line. Thank you Mr. Mulgrew.

reality-based educator said...

I think it is wishful thinking upon King's part that his ruling can only be challenged on the grounds that he exceeded his constitutional authority.

The more important point you made, James, is this one:

"It is basically a convoluted, muddled mess of incoherent bureaucratic nonsense that most teachers, including me will take a long time to figure out."

Many parts of the ruling can and will be challenged on issues of fairness and validity, whether King thinks they can be challenged on those grounds or not.

Carol Burris wrote earlier on another blog that she didn't think the VAM or the SLO's would stand up to court scrutiny as measures of teacher effectiveness.

King may be trying to head off challenges in that vein and perhaps the UFT leadership will decide not to challenge on those issues either but I bet individual teachers who get VAMMED or SLO'ED will.

And those rulings will matter for the evaluation system as a whole.

GeoKaro said...

The court angle should be pushed. It's reassuring that Burris recognizes the flaws and that they won't stand to court scrutiny.

James Eterno said...

Read the statute. It is clear. Can't sue on the decision. Only UFT can. As for suing on junk science, we all should get together on that one.

Anonymous said...

What about suing in Federal court? How can you only limit 13% of a public sector workforce to due process protections?

Anonymous said...

Anyone want to organize around this?

GeoKaro said...

OK, so only the UFT can appeal this. But people are going to really feel the heat on this.

Hundreds of people will be dejected or looking for a practical outlet. The latter will be a community to press the UFT to come to its senses, and challenge this.

Syracuse is the only other district to have children as evaluators. Teachers stung by this system will press the UFT to challenge this. The UFT's face saver on this one is that this was imposed (yes, with Mulgrew's blassing); but they did not directly authorize this. And Mulgrew has previously been on record criticizing student surveys. Back in February Gotham said such surveys were unlikely.

Anonymous said...

That is what happens when you submit something to arbitration to John King. You lose.

Anonymous said...

This was a set-up from the beginning.

To call King an "arbitrator" - a neutral third party - which Mulgrew has maintained, is preposterous. The man is a faux educator and cat's paw for charter privateers.

Now the UFT will be insulting thenntelligence of ts members, selling this train wreck as an improvement, and helping the DOE manage the culling of the teaching force.

Deceptive and disgraceful in every respect.

Jeff Kaufman said...

One of my favorite parts of the arbitration decision was commented on by the UFT official spin. When deciding how many arbitration slots should be added to the current 175 authorized by our CBA. King, in his decision, noted that this was one of the biggest stumbling blocks to an agreement. When the talks broke down in January the UFT asked for 250 additional expedited arbitrations. This is for over 75,000 teachers. At the hearing they asked for 1000. The DOE initially offered 150 but at the hearing offered zero. Guess what King decided?
What this demonstrates is that the Union never cared about protecting its members and only when there would be a record made of the demand decided to look like they cared.
Why not have a rally to allow Mulgrew to absorb all of the credit for this incredible sellout?

Anonymous said...

I don't see any Unity people gloating. I think even they have figured out that this was a huge butt kicking at the hands of King.

w said...

How will these terminations go?

Will they zero in on the "weak" districts or schools?

Or will they go after a certain quota of falling below the benchmark within a school?

Anonymous said...


GeoKaro said...

This evaluation will be the undoing of the profession, and by extension, the teachers' union movement in NYC.

Or we can use this piece to start the end of the reform movement.

The case must be made to shed light that the emperor has no clothes, that the rationales and the program of the reformers has no legitimacy.
1) RBE cites Burris' arguing that these #'s will not hold up in court. Rheeists and their union puppets like Mulgrew always win in the court of the corporate media opinion. But possible some judges might exercise some independent thought a perceive that the VAMs and SLOs have no legitimacy.
2) A people's fight-back is on the way. These lines from MORE's statement are encouraging.
Everybody agrees that the key to this will be implementation. Teachers must build active chapters that can be vigilant in calling out abuse of the new system. A coordinated grievance campaign around particular issues of implementation can help us make the most of the 15 extra arbitration days to deal with systemic abuses. MORE will be campaigning in the fall to organize and train chapter leaders, delegates and school activists to be effective in defending their colleagues and organizing strong chapters.

NYC Educator said...

"It is basically a convoluted, muddled mess of incoherent bureaucratic nonsense..."

I don't know about you, but that's not precisely what motivates me to read a 240-page document.

James Eterno said...

LOL Mr. Educator.