Wednesday, February 24, 2016


One of the worst ways to react to bad legislation such as last year's Education Transformation Act is to accept it.  That is precisely what the New York State United Teachers and our own UFT are doing up in Albany this year.

This piece from WGRZ shows that the governor and NYSUT have agreed that last year's horrible education law does not need to be changed. That law includes receivership for an ever changing 5% of public schools where an outside receiver can be assigned to take over these so called struggling schools based on flawed student test scores and replace the teachers, evaluations of teachers using student test scores for 50% of teacher ratings, two years of ineffective ratings leading to a presumption of teacher incompetence and the burden of proof then shifting to the teacher in dismissal hearings, three years of ineffective ratings leads basically to almost certain firing unless there is fraud and new teachers will need four years of  probation before being eligible to achieve tenure instead of three.

This year, instead of pushing to repeal this awful law, the unions are battling over funding supposedly because Cuomo's task force tweaked the law so it won't include the common core grades 3-8 tests in teacher ratings. Other tests will still be used to rate us.  The Education Transformation Act remains in place unchanged. While proper education funding is a worthy aim, we should be pushling just as hard to repeal last year's anti-public education law.

The unions may be giving up on repealing last year's law but New York State Allies for Public Education are still fighting. They're not taking the situation in Albany lying down.

From WGRZ:
Parent groups that helped lead the test-refusal movement aren’t pleased – neither with the governor nor the teacher’s union, which provided a boost to the opt-out protest last year by offering public support.

Bianca Tanis, a special-education teacher and member of New York State Allies for Public Education’s steering committee, said the union and state lawmakers should be taking steps to reverse some of the Cuomo-backed reforms through law.

NYSAPE is one of the parent groups who helped lead the opt-out movement. She’s also part of a new effort – New York Rank & File – calling on the union to call for more legislative change.

“Yes, there’s a moratorium on using state test scores to evaluate teachers, but the law says teacher evaluations must be based in part on a performance measure,” said Tanis, a mother of two from New Paltz, Ulster County. “So we’re simply swapping out one test for another.”

Is swapping one test for another progress?

I don't think so.

Nor does a group called New York Rank and File.  They want the Education Transformation Act repealed.  That is the exact position this blog has taken.

Here is their action page. Go there and help out please.


Anonymous said...

Are the two observations still on for September? (One from principal and one from outside evaluator?) I am looking forward to the possibility of only two observations next year as opposed to 4. What say the hive?

Anonymous said...

I do not trust an independent evaluator nor do I want some stranger in my room. If someone comes in my room I want to see some kind of identification. Why any teacher would want an independent observer is beyond me....
Also, it shocks me how so many teachers choose the 4 drive by observations rather than pick the full period. I urge everyone to pick the full period with a full pre and post. The rationale is to completely stress these people out and keep them constantly busy. I want the artifacts back too. Think about it people! No one wants a supervisor in your room but then you, at least, you'll know in advance the day on which you will be observed. What do I care if he/she stays an extra 30 mins? I know how to plan and deliver a lesson and I can make sure to hit every corner of that stupid rubric.

Anonymous said...

Nice post 8:54. My principal goes out of his way to suggest that I opt for the four drive-bys. He always says it's in my best interest. That's a bunch of bullshit. It just makes his life easier.

Anonymous said...

People who select the 4 drive-bys always regret it. I've seen people choose it to ingratiate themselves. Bad move. People respect integrity, firmness, and consistency. They may say that they want you to choose one thing, yet, at a basic level, they end up respecting you more for choosing the opposite.

Administrators in NYC are fickle and are told to deliver heads. They need their headcount high, and making it easier for them to cut you down is a mistake. They don't care about you. Churn and burn is their motto.

When can we start talking about dropping this system? HEDI-style ratings have been tried in public schools before, and they failed. And they are failing now. Each observation has become an exercise in demoralization. My previous observations did not use to be this way.

The real reason for this system is that consultants make a killing running the "Advance" database, and they convinced Cuomo it would be a good idea. But, does it help us teach better? Fuck no. Just the opposite.

Anonymous said...

I do the four drive-by's and quite honestly, it did not matter one way or the other for many of us here in my school..

They just keep on changing and changing and changing the observations... The system has become so toxic in many schools... WE NEED CHANGE! WE NEED NEW UNION LEADERSHIP WITH A PAIR TO TACKLE ALL OF THESE ISSUES! Like the lack of discipline enforcement now that is plaguing our schools and the huge list of other problems that the NYCDOE has not and will not address or correct.

The other day kids vandalized a teachers car here and the school didn't say a thing or do a thing. The kids basically got away with it. Maybe we should issue them those fancy warning cards.. LMFAO!!!

We have no union, we have a due collecting machine that is passive about all of the sticky controversial topics here.

Anonymous said...

I teach art. How many outside evaluators know anything about teaching art? I am hoping and guessing that when they come by, I will have an awesome prepared lesson to whip out of my drawer. Hopefully, they will just give me a decent observation rating as they are probably more "concerned" with ripping up classroom teachers. Secondly, maybe if you have a good relationship with your secretary, she can give your room a call as soon as an outside evaluator states that they are on their way to your room. (Wishful thinking of course. Haaaa!)

Anonymous said...

Student behavior is no worse than it's ever been. Quit reading the Post.

Anonymous said...

I teach math. I haven't been observed by a math instructor in over a decade. Even then, my AP was a former kindergarten teacher who managed to get certified, but, had never taught anything beyond Algebra. Not saying she was bad. . . just, this is how it is.

Anonymous said...

If they won't change the law, then we'll change them. Time to dump Cuomo *and* NYSUT. We need to make a list of all the state reps who approved the ETA, the date of their next election, and publicize the list, referenced by zip code.

Until it gets repealed, we'll churn and burn legislators just like they want to do to teachers. Parents are sick of this. They'll vote if given the info.