We kind of figured the fact finders recommending a settlement for the UFT contract might try to avoid Mayor Bloomberg. This piece from the September 26 NY Teacher (official newspaper of the UFT) confirms our thinking. This is what we learn from NY Teacher:
The UFT has its last scheduled fact-finding hearing for a new contract on Nov. 4. After the final hearing, both the union and the Department of Education will have an opportunity to submit post-hearing briefs.
After the submission of post-hearing briefs, the next step will be for the fact-finding panel to render a nonbinding recommendation designed to help the union and the DOE craft a final settlement. There is no timetable for when the panel will issue its recommendation.
Translation: The process will be left for the new mayor to figure out.
This should be a positive development but since Bloomberg has moved these negotiations, as well as the overall atmosphere in the schools, in such an anti union direction, do not expect much from the fact finders to win our dignity back.
I tend to agree with the Assailed Teacher that eliminating the horrific new teacher evaluation system and restoring the rights we forfeited in the 2005 contract (ability to grieve file letters, preferred placement rights for UFT members when a school is closed, seniority and SBO transfers, no teacher hall, cafeteria or potty patrols, stronger due process rights) should be significant contract priorities.
Here is most of the Assailed Teacher's commentary on our last post:
To be honest, and I don't think I am alone here, I would forgo retroactive pay for a declawing of this evaluation system (as Anonymous said above at 5:49pm, the evaluation is a state mandate and needs to be repealed via the state, so a declawing is the best we can hope for) if not a total opting out of it for NYC. Let King threaten to withhold money like he did earlier this year. It would come back on him and Cuomo more than the UFT. On top of this, we would need a better 3020-a process (including reassignments and investigations), the right to grieve letters in the file and an anti-bullying clause that protects us from Tweedy and Leadership Academy administrators. For all of this, and some more things I can't think of, I would forgo retroactive pay.
Unfortunately for teachers in the schools, the union leadership is still touting the new evaluations and the 2005 contract as wins. They have this narrowed down to the money which we also learn from the NY Teacher:
The dispute pivots largely on the question of pattern bargaining. The UFT’s position is that its members are entitled to the same raises other city workers have received. The mayor contends that the city cannot afford to follow the pattern.
However, the pattern is 4% + 4% and no givebacks.
Do you consider the teacher evaluation system a gain or a giveback?
It's hard to say with the new eval system. I work for a principal who is an absolute terror. She gave a U to a 20 year veteran last year who had amazing Regents scores and who also is quite a good and hardworking guy. She didn't think he was a good teacher hence the U. He's trying to appeal but the Union has told him they don't hold out much hope. So I think on one hand, how is this eval system any different. It's still a person in your room subjectively evaluating you. It's still the same Union refusing to defend you. I think we need to change the way classroom evaluations are done at this point. You have principals who are not teachers who have no idea how to fairly evaluate what's happening in the classroom. Maybe a team of teachers and the principal need to evaluate each other. Whatever system is in place, it will be bad for teachers when it's used by a principal who doesn't understand teaching and doesn't have reasonable idea of what should happen in a classroom.
The fact that the burden of proof has shifted from the principals to the teachers to prove our competence cannot be overstated
That principal has little chance of getting that teacher fired because the Bd of Ed will probably not charge the teacher with incompetence under the old system. In the new system, that same teacher gets a chance with a validator who will probably rubber stamp the principal's view. Then the burden of proof is on the teacher in the termination hearing. No chance of winning. Yes the old system is better
I know this about the old system - as a teacher who is prepared everyday, as one who is hardly absent, as one who has always established a wonderful rapport with both fellow staff and students and as one who is both charismatic and passionate about what I teach - I find the thought of a principal proving my incompetence hard to believe under the old system. Yes, they might wish to go after me - perhaps making my life difficult - but prove my incompetence - NEVER. Under this new evaluation, I can be all of the above and still there exists a chance that my number comes up 64 or below - thus incompetency or "ineffective" is now defined and written in stone. As for the independent evaluator, there is something that I am still confused about - anyone with the answer would be helping me out here. Will an independent evaluator just pop in three times out of the year WITHOUT announcing to the teacher he/she is supposed to be evaluating or will he/she tell the teacher about the classroom visit (date and such)? If the answer is the former, I do not look at this as anything positive at all - wow, you kick butt for a month straight and you have that one bad day when he/she happens to "pop in." This new evaluation is not a gain - it's basically analogous to taking your cars temperature with a rectal thermometer.
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