We hear regularly from UFT President Michael Mulgrew that very few people are rated ineffective under the current teacher evaluation system. That may be true but as we documented in February when attempting to get the UFT to sign on to get rid of the evaluation system, many more tenured teachers are being brought up on dismissal charges than in the past and non-tenured teachers with effective ratings are being discontinued and the UFT is doing virtually nothing about it.
A major problem is that under mayoral control of the schools Joel Klein and Michael Bloomberg completely changed the culture at the Department of Education to one that totally devalues teachers. If we want more evidence, I was going through some old papers and found my notes for the October 25, 2004 UFT Executive Board meeting.
At that meeting, then Staff Director Michael Mendel reported that in the final pre-Joel Klein year of 2001-2002, only 651 teachers received an unsatisfactory rating. In the first Klein year when he was really doing more observing and planning than anything else, only 603 teachers were U rated. It jumped to 799 in 2003-04 and we know things grew progressively worse afterwards. It is astonishing to note that only 134 tenured teachers were brought up on charges in 2002-2003. We have almost three times as many facing dismissal hearings in the post-Klein era.
We started a petition to repeal the teacher evaluation system that over 1300 have signed (see right side of the page or go here). We can revert to an S or U rating system and there doesn't have to be a spike in U ratings. What we really need is a cultural change at the Department of Education. Teachers need to be valued again.
The UFT should be doing a giant publicity campaign around such problems as school safety, unhealthy buildings and oversize classes. Instead, the UFT is in happy talk mode saying how it is mostly wonderful in the NYC schools.