Monday, November 13, 2017


Last Wednesday at the Delegate Assembly, UFT President Michael Mulgrew made a big deal about how we can use the contract and a joint letter from him and Chancellor Carmen Farina to take advantage of teacher autonomy over lesson plans. We posted the letter on Saturday. MORE sent it out too. We received a reply that shows how administrators can easily make an end run right around the letter and the contract to dictate teacher lesson plans.

This is from a highly respected chapter leader:

How do we reconcile the Joint Letter:
Although a supervisor may suggest elements to include in a lesson, lesson plans are by and for the use of the teacher. Their format and organization, including which elements are to be included, and whether to write the plans on paper or digitally are appropriately left to the discretion of the teacher.
With the MOTP: Domain 1: Planning and Preparation
1a: Demonstrating knowledge of content and pedagogy
1e: Designing coherent instruction
When these domains explicitly mention:
In Domain 1a:
•The teacher’s plans use inappropriate strategies for the discipline
•The teacher’s plans demonstrate awareness of possible student
misconceptions and how they can be addressed.
In Domain 1e:
•The plan for the lesson or unit is well structured, with reasonable
time allocations.
•Lesson plans differentiate for individual student needs
I understand that domains 1 & 4 make up 15% of our final rating, but I am afraid that some of our overzealous administrators will try to “bootstrap” a poor Domain 1 rating via lesson plans and then using that to bolster poor ratings in the other domains.
For example:
Your lesson plan did not include appropriate discipline strategies therefore 1a & 1e are ineffective. Therefore you could not create an environment of respect (2a) or manage student behavior (2d). This lack of respect also means that students cannot engage in learning (3c) and your assessment tools are weak (3d).
How do we prevent such an occasion from happening?
I say this because we had an afternoon election day session devoted to Domain 1 and the importance for our lesson plans to reflect this Domain.

The ICEBLOG answer is to bring the joint letter up in a consultation meeting and file individual APPR complaints so the principal is aware that this is a local and central union issue. Remember, we only have five school days from when we receive an observation to file an APPR complaint.

More importantly, we need to mobilize to lobby the state to get rid of Danielson and the entire teacher evaluation system and create something that is sane.


NYC Educator said...

If the lesson plan is reviewed independent of the lesson that is grounds for an APPR complaint. As a remedy you may ask for removal of that portion, or of the entire observation.

Anonymous said...

If they have fifteen days to give us the negative rating and we only have 5 to complain about it aren't we stuck between a rock and a hard place anyway?

NYC Educator said...

You have five days from receipt of the written observation, so no you are not. You just have to react quickly.

James Eterno said...

Five school days is not a whole lot of time to file a complaint. NYC Educator is 100% correct. It is five school days from when you receive the written report.

Unknown said...
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Dr_Dru said...

NYC Educator, you said,"If the lesson plan is reviewed independent of the lesson that is grounds for an APPR complaint.' OK so how can we know if the plan is being viewed independent of the lesson if the lesson is a direct interpretation of the lesson? Also, the damage may already have been done by the implication, even if the APPR complaint is legit

Marian said...

I was CL 2012 - 2016. When "Danielson" was introduced in 2013, the DOE FAQS on Danielson said that an evaluator could request the lesson plan after an observation, but the teacher was not obligated to submit it, but the teacher could voluntary submit it as an "artifact." (Remember artifacts?) When artifacts went away in 2014, the UFT's (or at least my DR's) position was, Now the lesson plan plays no role at all in evaluating the lesson plan. When the Farina - Mulgrew letter came out that fall, the UFT position (again, or my DR's) was that the ban on "routinized, mechanical" collection of lesson plans meant the Administration could not have a policy of always collecting the lesson plan after an observation, because that was clearly a mechanical routine. NOW, the new CL is saying that at the D.A. on November 8, 2017, Mulgrew explicitly said that lesson plans could be collected without restrictions as part of the observation cycle. First she claimed it was in the "revised" version of the Mulgrew Farina letter. When it was pointed out to her that (1) the letter is not revised, it is the original 2014 letter and (2) it does not mention the observation cycle, it was then that she claimed Mulgrew verbally instructed the D.A. regarding collection for observations. Since none of our Delegates managed to get to the D.A., we have only her word. Was anyone at the D.A. who has a solid record of what Mulgrew actually said? (Of course, I wouldn't put it past him to give back every right we ever had, but did he do so in this specific instance?)