The DA Unity majority (Michael Mulgrew's political party) voted the motion down after UFT Secretary Howie Schoor spoke against me. I respectfully asked that the speaker against be a teacher who is subject to Danielson and not an officer or retiree but I guess Unity didn't trust one of their people who actually works in a school.
President Michael Mulgrew after the vote stated for the record that the UFT pushed for two observations for teachers. They must have not pushed very hard as we have four as the minimum.
In negotiations with the city, all Mulgrew had to do was say more than two observations and we're walking away from the table. Most unions around the state have two observations. Some of us in our sleep could negotiate better than this group.
The only way it changes is if people get the word about this outrage into the schools.
Motion for Delegate Assembly
January 18, 2017
Whereas, State law now mandates 2 observations per year for teachers; and
Whereas, many teachers would benefit from fewer observations than the minimum 4 UFT agreed to; be it therefore
Resolved, that the UFT will demand for 2017-18 and beyond 2 observations per year for most teachers.
The teacher observation system, particularly under the Danielson framework, is broken beyond repair. In many schools, administrators use the observations to scare the living daylights out of teachers. Comments on the ICE blog tell horror stories where teachers live in fear of drive bys where they can be unfairly criticized on those cookie cutter domains. For most of the rest of us the observations are a huge waste of time where we learn virtually nothing to improve our teaching practice.
Under these circumstances, the vast majority of teacher unions across the state are agreeing to have a minimum of two observations per year for teachers based on the new education law 3012D. New York City has a minimum of four for this year. It’s excessive.
For the future, we should go to two like most other districts. Teachers would be happy as would sane administrators. The argument against fewer observations is that the more observations administrators do, it forces them to do their job properly and if they don’t, we can fight them in APPR complaints. The reality is by compelling more observations, administrators are getting practice and practice makes them do the hatchet job better. I’ve seen this with my wife who has been relentlessly attacked by administration and we fight off what we can but they are getting better after they lose.
Administration could always do as many observations as they like. We could put in a little clause that says two is the minimum and there should be more for teachers who have particular needs as the Office of Appeals and Reviews mandated under the old S or U system. Putting this little line in would force the viscous principals to do it right while sparing the rest of us from the ordeal that is the 4 observations per year.
I would also like to point out to the Delegates that Friedrichs the Sequel is working its way through the federal courts and mandatory union dues may soon be a thing of the past. Members need to know the UFT is fighting on their behalf. By pushing for fewer observations, it would take a giant step in the right direction.
In closing, I respectfully ask that a speaker against this motion at least be someone who is evaluated by Danielson and not an officer or retiree who has never been subjected to it. Instead, I urge you to pass this motion to push for fewer observations.