Skip to content

M & M 2014 Goodbye

October 25, 2013 pm31 2:33 pm

Two months in the fall of 2014. Two retirements I’m glad I witnessed. Of course I am writing about Mariano Rivera and Michael Mendel.

Both Yankee fans (one in pinstripes).

Both ended long careers

Both in New York.

And I was at both of their goodbyes. (In fact, I was at Mariano Rivera Day at the Stadium, and then at his last game. I was there when Jeter and Pettite took Mariano out for the last time, which is probably my #1 all time Yankee Stadium moment)

I did not get bobbleheads for either of the 2014 NYC Goodbye M & Ms (I chose to skip the Rivera bobblehead game, and Mendel apparently did not have a bobblehead day. I might have gone.)

I liked both of them from the first time I saw them – Mariano as a shaky starting pitcher. Do you remember – unhittable until the first hit, and then he would collapse? Mendel as a regular at UFT stuff.

I sat in the front rows at their goodbyes. With Fran Miller who got the guards to let her sit in the handicapped seating at the top rail (because her hip was painful), and with Michael Shulman who was friends with people at the friends of Mendel table.

Both got standing ovations, and I stood and applauded. A lot.

But I never met Rivera. I met Mendel. Spoke with him lots of times.

Rivera’s a baseball player. A star. He got paid a lot of money to play a game. He did play it well. But we cheered him on as he entertained us, and as he benefited. We are no longer talking about similarities.

If you don’t know who Michael Mendel is you’ll probably never know who he is. He was a teacher. And he worked for the members (paid by the union.) Now, I might say about lots of people at 52 Broadway that they work for the union, and that would be true. It’s not insulting. Could say it about Michael Mendel. But some people, you always know they are working for the members. Mendel was one of them.

At his retirement dinner,  Amy Arundell and Adam Ross emceed. They were really good.

Larry Becker, DoE Human Resources, he killed. Made fun of Mendel for claiming knowledge of rules that were only written down on cocktail napkins or pages torn form desk calendars, and eventually pulled out an actual agreement, framed, written on a page torn from a calendar, with about five more stories and anecdotes in between. The audience howled. You listened to that, and you knew, this guy respected Mendel, he liked Mendel. Not only was delivery sharp, but he must have spent hours writing and revising that speech. You don’t that for just anybody. You prepare for something that matters. For Larry Becker, Mendel mattered.

Weingarten, Mulgrew, and Howie Solomon also spoke. And then Michael spoke.

There were times over the years that I loved what Mendel was saying. He was a lion with the DoE, when he had to be. He got indignant when members were wronged. It offended his sense of decency.

But we belong to different caucuses. There were times he agreed with what I said. And he told me so – and I appreciated that. It is such a nice thing when someone goes out of their way to say something nice. And there were times we disagreed. I remember one time I spoke quite clearly, and opposed to the direction our leadership was trying to take us. Many people were angry at me that day. But the next time he saw me, Mendel came up to me and said “Jonathan” and he may have been wagging his finger a little, “Jonathan, I disagree completely with the what you said, but I wanted you to know that you spoke very well.”  Mensch.

And it wasn’t just me. He knew we are on the same side. He knew how to disagree, but also how to say a kind word. He even knew how to apologize, a rare enough skill these days. Remember his last DA?  Megan (don’t know if she was TJC or MORE at the time) had presented a resolution a year or two earlier that Unity did not like, but also that was riddled with errors. Mendel took the floor to oppose it, and though there was no danger of losing the vote, he went entirely over the top in attacking and mocking it… And at the last DA he apologized, publicly. Not for opposing the resolution, but for expressing himself in an unfraternal sort of way. Mensch.

There were times he just got it wrong… but even then, he was doing what he thought was best for the members. Even when Mendel raised his voice at me (he thinks he didn’t, but he did), even then, he was “animated” because he thought what I was proposing was bad for the members. I never minded that. I wanted to change what he thought, of course. But how can you mind when a leader is passionate because he cares about the members? I’d rather get yelled at by Michael Mendel then be politely addressed by some of the snakes slithering around the system.

I liked Mendel’s speech.

He defended teaching – as a profession. “I don’t like it when people tell young people not to be teachers” I applauded nervously, because I myself have been waffling on my own advice-giving lately. The teaching part is wonderful, but I worry about how awful the system has become.

He wished for the day when teachers will again decide what to do and how to do it in their classrooms.

He told stories. Funny. Silly. He could have told about going head to head with some of the bozos at the DoE. But the story he chose to highlight is one about a member, a weak man who needed some help, and how Mendel yelled (yelled) at a Board of Ed guy, yelled at him to do the right thing by his employee, and how the Human Resources guy did just that.

Mendel standing up for someone too weak to defend himself.

If the principal thinks you are good, that should count…

October 22, 2013 am31 11:40 am

The new NY State teacher evaluation law (APPR, 3012c) says that if a teacher is ineffective on the State and Local measures, that all the regular in-school stuff, the principal’s judgment, observations, don’t count. And that is wrong.

New Action introduced a resolution at last night’s UFT Executive Board making changing this aspect of the State Law a legislative priority for the UFT, and engaging the mayor-elect in jointly lobbying for change.

LeRoy Barr moved to table this resolution, and the Unity majority voted to do so, thus the resolution was not acted upon.

- – — — —– ——– ————- ——– —– — — – -

Last June Mulgrew wrote to members about the evaluation system John King proposed:

“The commissioner’s plan is professional and fair and is designed to help teachers improve their skills throughout their careers. “

But in September, with a groundswell of member complaints, Mulgrew changed his tune. His public utterances make it sound like the entire problem is with the Local Measures (MOSL).

Unity is not yet ready to admit that the state law itself is a problem. Maybe because Unity helped write it.

- – — — —– ——– ————- ——– —– — — – -

But the resolution did not attack the entire state law. We focused on a particularly egregious requirement. I can’t tell you why Unity chose to table. Perhaps they are thinking it over. Perhaps they will be there, but not quite yet. Or perhaps they are stubbornly supporting 3012c.

But this is so egregious – if your principal says you are good, that might not count at all – that perhaps all Unity was doing was protecting its members from voting no on something that was completely wholesome and right and matched what the members need. It would not be the first time that they have used the “motion to table” to spare their members having to vote no on a no-brainer:  in 2009 when I moved the endorsement of Bill Thompson, Unity did not force their members to vote no – instead they moved to table.

Reclaiming the Promise

October 18, 2013 pm31 1:44 pm

Yesterday the AFT sent out an e-mail under Weingarten’s signature – I must have gotten five copies. They announced a “Reclaiming the Promise” campaign.

The part I liked said:

This is why we are asking you to stand with us and push back on privatization, austerity, mass schools closures, and test fixation, which have not moved the needle in the right direction. It is time we reclaim the promise of public education — not as it is today or as it was in the past, but as it can be — to fulfill our collective obligation to help all children succeed. This will be central to our work in the coming years, and the AFT executive council passed a resolution this week formalizing this as AFT policy.

But as this is the AFT, I am tempted to read between the lines. “Push back on privatization” vs “end privatization” – is that me being picky?  Are “mass school closures” bad, but single ones ok? Does “test fixation” mean the AFT still likes standardized testing, just in more measured amounts?

For some of those, I may be being unreasonably picky, for others, time will tell. But my attention was drawn somewhere else.

“Reclaiming the promise of public education is about:  Fighting for neighborhood public schools that are safe, welcoming places for teaching and learning”

This went out under the signature of Randi Weingarten, who fifteen years ago, in a series of closed-door meetings, conspired to take away every neighborhood high school in the Bronx.

This is not a question of small schools versus large – although that was certainly part of the conspiracy. Breaking up large high schools was combined with “school choice” in such a way that not a single child in the Bronx was left with a high school associated with their neighborhood or community.

Look, I want to stop privatization, end austerity, stop school closures, massively reduce high stakes testing… And I want every child to have a good neighborhood elementary school, middle school, and high school. I promise.

But I think the person nominally in charge of the effort should come clean about her own past role in disenfranchising communities.

Nice guy. Can’t run a school

October 16, 2013 pm31 3:12 pm

In some schools a staff hates the principal – thinks he’s horrible, doesn’t trust him. Sometimes a staff adores a principal – thinks she does a great job, takes her at her word.

But what would you think if a staff  likes the guy in charge, but doesn’t think he can run a school?

At one charter school in Manhattan, three out of four teachers trust the principal. But wait. Only one out of seven think she is an effective manager. At the Leadership Institute in District 9, in the Bronx, over 80% trust their principal, but only a third think she makes the school run smoothly.  And at Invictus Prep, a charter school in Brooklyn, 95% of the teachers trust the principal at his word. But only half think he’s competent.

The 2013 Learning Environment surveys reveal this situation to be more common than one might expect. At 96 schools, at least one in five staffers thinks the principal trustworthy, but not competent. And in over 200 more schools at least 10% of the staff makes the same assessment.

These schools are not distributed evenly across the City. Charter schools are over-represented (8% of city schools, but 17% of the top of the list). Fifteen districts have only 0 – 2 schools on the top of the list.

Think about the teachers filling in the survey. They bubbled a negative answer, so they weren’t so scared of retaliation that they were sugarcoating their responses. And they did check off “I trust him at his word,” so they weren’t, in anger, bubbling all bottom scores for their principals. This is a group of honest survey-takers. They considered each answer, and they meant what they wrote. Which is not to say that the message was always “my guy’s incompetent.”

Individual schools bear individual scrutiny. The slightly higher than expected numbers of middle schools may reflect the real challenges presented by that age group. The overrepresentation of progressive schools (Debbie Maier’s Central Park East I is right near the top, along with a copycat, River East Elementary) may indicate a mismatch of expectations between leadership and staff at that type of school. Or maybe not. There are schools with a recently appointed principal, who has not settled in, or with a principal appointed after the surveys were conducted. The principal of a school targeted by the DoE is sometimes treated like a lame duck by the staff. Consider this list a flag… a flag to look more closely. Being here does not mean that any individual school has a problem.

But 300 schools? There are not reasonable explanations for all of them, or most of them. This is part of Bloomberg’s legacy – swarms of incompetent principals. A tough old principal could tell all of Tweed to go to hell, because she knew she could teach, she had authority based on competence, knowledge, experience. But Bloomberg didn’t want that. His administrators have no real skill set to fall back on. And by crumbling our schools into mini-schools, Bloomberg created much more demand for administrators than there were qualified candidates. The Leadership Academy, especially, created scores if not hundreds of principals with insufficient pedagogical training, and lacking good management habits. Many are the authoritarian monsters that have been written about in these and other pages. But apparently many have chosen to be nice and fly below the radar.

So what should we do with nice guys who can’t run schools?  Help them get better??? (that seems like a lot of work) Worry about their ability to rate us? (yes, but they are nice) Worry about their ability to train us? (yup)  Send them for career counseling? The questions are insane, but that’s what Bloomberg has done to us.

Some technical stuff: I am reporting only part of the list, 231 schools. If 100% of the staff think a principal is trustworthy, and 80% think he’s competent, I don’t think that’s worth talking about. But if 60% trust her, but only 40% think she can do the job, I think that one belongs. So a rule? I put no school on the list where 80% of the staff reports the principal is effective.  All  schools with gaps of 20% or more are on the list. And if two thirds of the staff reported the principal to be an effective manager, I looked for a fall off of at least 15%. Otherwise, I used 10% as the cutoff.

Here’s the list. Please bear in mind, there are many possible explanations for a school’s inclusion. The reader is encouraged not to draw conclusions from a school’s presence on the list, but to use it as a starting point.

List of schools where many teachers agree or strongly agree “I trust my principal at his word” but disagree or strongly disagree “My principal is an effective manager who makes the school run smoothly”

D B Sch Name Type 2a. I trust the principal at his or her word. (Agree strongly or Agree) 1g. The principal at my school is an effective manager who makes the school run smoothly. (Agree Strongly or Agree) 2a minus 1g. (I trust the guy, but he can’t run a school)
84 M Broome Street Acad Charter Sch HS 86% 27% 60%
84 K Invictus Prep Charter Sch MS 96% 48% 48%
9 X Ldrship Institute HS 82% 36% 45%
4 M Central Park East I ES 69% 23% 45%
4 M River East Elementary ES 65% 21% 44%
14 K PS 250 George H. Lindsay ES 90% 52% 38%
84 K New Dawn Charter HS HS 88% 50% 38%
17 K Intl HS at Prospect Heights HS 90% 53% 37%
8 X Sch for Tourism & Hospitality HS 88% 51% 37%
5 M KAPPA IV MS 75% 38% 37%
8 X Archimedes Acad – Math, Sci & Tech Apps MS/HS 74% 37% 37%
7 X Young Leaders ES ES 55% 18% 37%
3 M WEST PREP Acad MS 93% 58% 36%
1 M Tompkins Square MS MS 95% 60% 35%
32 K Bushwick Ldrs HS for Acad Excellence HS 85% 50% 35%
7 X PS / IS 224 MS 73% 38% 35%
84 X New York City Montessori Charter Sch ECC 100% 66% 34%
29 Q Community Voices MS MS 87% 53% 34%
13 K The Urban Assembly Unison Sch MS 50% 17% 34%
84 X New Vsns Charter HS for Humanities II HS 100% 67% 33%
13 K Freedom Acad HS HS 55% 22% 33%
84 K Bushwick Ascend Charter Sch ECC 33% 0% 33%
2 M BUSINESS OF SPORTS Sch HS 83% 52% 32%
32 K Evergreen MS for Urban Explor MS 66% 33% 32%
9 X HS for Violin & Dance HS 82% 50% 31%
2 M Quest to Learn MS/HS 77% 46% 31%
12 X E.S.M.T- IS 190 MS 93% 65% 29%
3 M PS 242 Young Diplomats Magnet Acad ES 75% 46% 29%
28 Q JHS 008 Richard S. Grossley MS 70% 42% 29%
2 M PS 198 Isador E. Ida Straus ES 61% 32% 29%
24 Q IS 093 Ridgewood MS 81% 54% 28%
84 X Hyde Leadership Charter Sch ES/MS/HS 76% 49% 28%
25 Q PS/MS 200 Pomonok Sch & STAR Acad ES/MS 75% 47% 28%
28 Q Jamaica HS HS 94% 66% 27%
27 Q PS / MS 114 Belle Harbor ES/MS 79% 53% 27%
2 M Liberty HS Acad for Newcomers HST 77% 50% 27%
12 X Entrada Acad MS 50% 23% 27%
2 M MS 131 MS 93% 67% 26%
23 K Frederick Douglass Acad VII HS HS 88% 61% 26%
24 Q PS 088 Seneca ES 73% 48% 26%
1 M PS 134 Henrietta Szold ES 69% 43% 26%
84 Q Acad of the City Charter Sch ECC 67% 40% 26%
32 K PS 151 Lyndon B. Johnson ES 66% 39% 26%
12 X PS 044 David C. Farragut ES 39% 12% 26%
27 Q PS 045 Clarence Witherspoon ES 70% 45% 25%
84 K Bklyn Excelsior Charter Sch ES/MS 87% 63% 24%
30 Q Baccalaureate Sch for Global Education MS/HS 81% 57% 24%
7 X Samuel Gompers CTE HS HS 66% 42% 24%
84 X Academic Leadership Charter Sch ES 64% 40% 24%
4 M JHS 013 Jackie Robinson MS 50% 26% 24%
25 Q PS 107 Thomas A Dooley ES 100% 78% 23%
23 K Bklyn Democracy Acad HST 100% 77% 23%
13 K Acad of Arts & Letters ES/MS 88% 65% 23%
9 X Urban Sci Acad MS 87% 64% 23%
5 M Choir Acad of Harlem MS/HS 73% 50% 23%
11 X The Bxwood Prep Acad HS 71% 47% 23%
13 K MS 596 Peace Acad MS 61% 39% 23%
2 M THE HS FOR Lang & DIPLOMACY HS 58% 36% 23%
25 Q PS 164 Qns Valley ES/MS 93% 72% 22%
11 X Baychester MS MS 93% 71% 22%
25 Q North Qns Community HS HST 86% 64% 22%
11 X Acad Schol & Entrep’ship: A Coll Bd Sch MS/HS 85% 63% 22%
14 K Frances Perkins Acad HS 64% 43% 22%
29 Q Qns Prep Acad HS 59% 36% 22%
84 M Harlem Village Acad HS HS 53% 30% 22%
24 Q PS 110 ECC 33% 11% 22%
17 K Bklyn Acad of Sci & the Environment HS 97% 76% 21%
11 X PS 021 Philip H. Sheridan ES 94% 73% 21%
9 X IS 219 New Venture Sch MS 90% 69% 21%
84 K Achievement First Crown Hts Charter Sch ES/MS 89% 67% 21%
27 Q PS 273 ECC 86% 67% 21%
1 M Neighborhood Sch ES 87% 65% 21%
21 K IS 096 Seth Low MS 84% 64% 21%
84 K The Ethical Comm’y Charter Sch (TECCS) ES 81% 59% 21%
15 K PS 261 Philip Livingston ES 78% 57% 21%
11 X PS 087 Bx ES 77% 56% 21%
84 M Renaissance Charter HS for Innovation HS 73% 52% 21%
1 M PS 137 John L. Bernstein ES 67% 47% 21%
84 K Fahari Acad Charter Sch MS 66% 44% 21%
18 K Urban Action Acad HS 64% 43% 21%
10 X HS for Teaching & the Profs HS 63% 42% 21%
19 K World Acad for Total Comm’y Health HS HS 45% 24% 21%
16 K Sch of Business, Finance & Entrep’ship MS 93% 73% 20%
84 M Harlem Village Acad Ldr’ship Charter Sch ES/MS 93% 73% 20%
31 R IS R002 George L. Egbert MS 82% 61% 20%
2 M PS/IS 217 Roosevelt Island ES/MS 80% 60% 20%
14 K PS 059 William Floyd ES 80% 60% 20%
29 Q PS 134 Hollis ES 79% 59% 20%
6 M MS 322 MS 77% 57% 20%
17 K MS for the Arts MS 74% 53% 20%
8 X Gateway Sch for Envmntl Res & Tech HS 62% 44% 20%
9 X THE FAMILY Sch ES 60% 40% 20%
19 K PS 328 Phyllis Wheatley ES/MS 58% 37% 20%
1 M Henry Street Sch for Intl Studies MS/HS 97% 79% 19%
27 Q Rock’y Pkwy HS for Envmntl Sust’bility HS 95% 77% 19%
18 K IS 068 Isaac Bildersee MS 87% 68% 19%
11 X Bx Aerospace HS HS 82% 63% 19%
12 X PS 212 ES/MS 72% 53% 19%
18 K Cultural Acad for the Arts & Scis HS 72% 53% 19%
10 X JHS 080 The Mosholu Parkway MS 63% 43% 19%
2 M The Urban Assembly Acad of Govt & Law HS 48% 29% 19%
3 M MS 256 Academic & Athletic Excellence MS 44% 25% 19%
23 K PS 327 Dr. Rose B. English ES/MS 90% 73% 18%
11 X Bx HS for the Visual Arts HS 91% 72% 18%
29 Q Pathways College Prep Sch: Coll Bd Sch MS/HS 89% 72% 18%
21 K Rachel Carson HS for Coastal Studies HS 87% 70% 18%
29 Q PS/MS 147 Ronald McNair ES/MS 86% 67% 18%
17 K PS 167 The Parkway ES 83% 66% 18%
14 K PS 034 Oliver H. Perry ES 85% 65% 18%
30 Q PS 212 ES 83% 64% 18%
2 M Legacy Sch for Integrated Studies HS 81% 63% 18%
17 K Bklyn Sch for Music & Theatre HS 78% 59% 18%
12 X PS 195 ES 67% 48% 18%
8 X Bx BRIDGES HS HS 92% 75% 17%
10 X Kingsbridge Intl HS HS 83% 67% 17%
17 K Acad for Col Prep & C’r’r Explor: Coll Bd MS/HS 85% 67% 17%
84 K Success Acad Charter Sch Bed-Stuy 1 ECC 79% 61% 17%
11 X Bxdale HS HS 77% 61% 17%
13 K PS 270 Johann DeKalb ES 75% 58% 17%
15 K Sec Sch for Law MS/HS 72% 54% 17%
75 X PS X012 Lewis & Clark Sch D75 59% 42% 17%
19 K Cypress Hills Collegiate Prep Sch HS 92% 76% 16%
29 Q Jean Nuzzi Intermediate Sch MS 89% 73% 16%
2 M The UA Sch of Design & Construction HS 88% 72% 16%
16 K Upper Sch @ PS 25 MS 89% 72% 16%
26 Q PS 133 Qns ES 86% 70% 16%
28 Q PS 050 Talfourd Lawn ES ES 83% 69% 16%
1 M University Neighborhood HS HS 84% 68% 16%
20 K IS 30 Mary White Ovington MS 84% 68% 16%
84 K Lefferts Gardens Charter Sch ECC 83% 67% 16%
15 K PS 124 Silas B. Dutcher ES 74% 57% 16%
4 M PS 050 Vito Marcantonio ES/MS 68% 52% 16%
6 M IS 218 Salome Urena MS 63% 48% 16%
10 X Thomas C. Giordano MS 45 MS 54% 38% 16%
25 Q Leonard P Stavisky Early Chldhd Sch ECC 43% 27% 16%
18 K PS 233 Langston Hughes ES 95% 79% 15%
20 K PS 971 ECC 92% 77% 15%
84 K Community Partnership Charter Sch ES/MS 91% 76% 15%
5 M New Design MS MS 86% 72% 15%
4 M Mosaic Prep Acad ES 85% 71% 15%
19 K EAST NEW YORK MS OF EXCELLENCE MS 85% 70% 15%
10 X DeWitt Clinton HS HS 84% 70% 15%
13 K PS 054 Samuel C. Barnes ES 85% 70% 15%
8 X JHS 125 Henry Hudson MS 83% 69% 15%
75 M PS M094 D75 82% 67% 15%
31 R Gaynor McCown Expedit’ry Learning Sch HS 81% 66% 15%
10 X PS 246 Poe Ctr ES 80% 65% 15%
12 X PS 092 Bx ES 79% 65% 15%
3 M HS of Arts & Tech HS 77% 61% 15%
84 M New Heights Acad Charter Sch MS/HS 75% 60% 15%
13 K Urban Assembly HS of Music & Art HS 72% 58% 15%
6 M PS 325 ES 67% 52% 15%
10 X Marie Curie Sch for Med, Nurs, Hlth Profs HS 65% 49% 15%
10 X PS / IS 54 ES 47% 32% 15%
9 X PS 163 Arthur A. Schomburg ES 48% 31% 15%
5 M Acad for Social Action: A Coll Bd Sch MS/HS 45% 30% 15%
29 Q PS 038 Rosedale ES 43% 28% 15%
29 Q Math, Sci Research & Tech Magnet HS HS 42% 27% 15%
30 Q PS 151 Mary D. Carter ES 36% 22% 15%
3 M The UA Sch for Green Careers HS 21% 6% 15%
15 K Sec Sch for Journalism MS/HS 20% 5% 15%
9 X Bx HS of Business HS 78% 64% 14%
24 Q Pioneer Acad ES 70% 57% 14%
14 K JHS 050 John D. Wells MS 69% 55% 14%
8 X Banana Kelly HS HS 68% 55% 14%
22 K PS 052 Sheepshead Bay ES 53% 39% 14%
3 M Richard Rodgers Sch of The Arts & Tech ES 50% 36% 14%
31 R PS 030 Westerleigh ES 46% 31% 14%
3 M STEM Institute of Manhattan ES 29% 14% 14%
21 K PS 238 Anne Sullivan ES/MS 77% 63% 13%
23 K General D. Chappie James MS of Sci MS 76% 63% 13%
29 Q PS 156 Laurelton ES/MS 75% 62% 13%
12 X Wings Acad HS 74% 61% 13%
7 X PS 018 John Peter Zenger ES 74% 61% 13%
12 X THE CINEMA Sch HS 69% 56% 13%
1 M Collab Acad Sci, Tech, & Lang-Arts Ed’n MS 67% 53% 13%
84 K New Hope Acad Charter Sch ES 67% 53% 13%
22 K PS 236 Mill Basin ES 61% 49% 13%
31 R PS 74 FUTURE LEADERS ES ECC 60% 47% 13%
3 M PS 165 Robert E. Simon ES/MS 55% 42% 13%
9 X SHERIDAN Acad FOR YOUNG LEADERS ES 54% 41% 13%
17 K PS 022 ES 51% 38% 13%
13 K Sci Skills Ctr HS  Sci, Tech, Creative Arts HS 50% 36% 13%
31 R PS 036 J. C. Drumgoole ES 48% 35% 13%
7 X Mott Haven Village Prep HS HS 36% 23% 13%
28 Q Young Women’s Leadership Sch, Qns MS/HS 26% 13% 13%
84 M The Opportunity Charter Sch MS/HS 79% 66% 12%
29 Q Law, Govt & Community Service HS HS 76% 65% 12%
75 X PS 168 D75 77% 65% 12%
18 K PS 135 Sheldon A. Brookner ES 76% 63% 12%
23 K PS 178 Saint Clair Mckelway ES/MS 77% 63% 12%
4 M PS 096 Joseph Lanzetta ES/MS 75% 62% 12%
84 K Explore Excel Charter Sch ES 74% 62% 12%
9 X IS 313 Sch of Leadership Development MS 71% 60% 12%
21 K PS 288 The Shirley Tanyhill ES/MS 72% 60% 12%
84 K Summit Acad Charter Sch MS/HS 71% 59% 12%
12 X Sch of Performing Arts MS 71% 58% 12%
6 M Washington Heights Acad ES 69% 57% 12%
9 X Acad for Lang & Tech HS 68% 56% 12%
19 K PS 306 Ethan Allen ES/MS 63% 52% 12%
7 X Hostos-Lincoln Acad of Sci MS/HS 64% 52% 12%
4 M PS 007 Samuel Stern ES/MS 56% 43% 12%
11 X PS 068 Bx ES 56% 43% 12%
22 K PS 139 Alexine A. Fenty ES 53% 41% 12%
75 K PS K140 D75 49% 37% 12%
10 X PS 024 Spuyten Duyvil ES 48% 37% 12%
15 K Bklyn Sch for Global Studies MS/HS 36% 24% 12%
10 X PS 091 Bx ES 35% 23% 12%
84 K Explore Charter Sch ES/MS 77% 66% 11%
28 Q PS 048 William Wordsworth ES 75% 64% 11%
75 M Manhattan Sch for Career Development D75 74% 63% 11%
14 K PS 018 Edward Bush ES 75% 63% 11%
19 K Bklyn Lab Sch HS 67% 56% 11%
7 X JHS 162 Lola Rodriguez De Tio MS 67% 56% 11%
84 X Tech Intl Charter Sch MS 67% 55% 11%
10 X In-Tech Acad (MS / HS 368) MS/HS 67% 55% 11%
28 Q PS 082 Hammond ES 60% 49% 11%
22 K PS 361 East Flatbush Early Chldhd Sch ECC 50% 37% 11%
8 X Antonia Pantoja Prep Acad: A Coll Bd Sch MS/HS 40% 29% 11%
9 X PS 073 Bx ES 70% 61% 10%
16 K PS 005 Dr. Ronald Mcnair ES 70% 60% 10%
31 R PS 022 Graniteville ES 68% 58% 10%
27 Q PS 043 ES/MS 68% 58% 10%
5 M PS 200- The James Mccune Smith Sch ES 59% 49% 10%
9 X PS 199X The Shakespeare Sch ES 58% 49% 10%
8 X Women’s Acad of Excellence HS 58% 47% 10%
11 X PS 111 Seton Falls ES 59% 47% 10%
31 R PS 016 John J. Driscoll ES 48% 37% 10%
8 X JHS 123 James M. Kieran MS 45% 36% 10%
75 M PS M079 Horan Sch D75 47% 36% 10%
19 K Essence Sch MS 40% 30% 10%

Not so good at running a school

October 15, 2013 pm31 1:10 pm

200 schools in New York City report that their principal is not “an effective manager who makes the school run smoothly.”

At the bottom of the pile:  Hamilton Heights School, an elementary school in District 6, uptown;  Foundations Academy, a high school in District 14, Brooklyn; and Bushwick Ascend Charter School. In these three schools, not a single teacher reported that their principal was competent.

This number includes charters, and is out of approximately 1800 public schools and charter schools in NYC. They are based on the Learning Environment Surveys – which are worth very little, but in this case, with teachers nervous about school closings, and nervous about whether the surveys are fully anonymous (I think they are), seem credible.  The flip, all positive answers from a school, is iffier – as the principal could have watched teachers fill the surverys out. But the norm is mostly positive responses. So such a large number negative on any one question raises questions.

It’s worth noting, Bushwick Ascend has two sister schools, Brownsville Ascend and Brooklyn Ascend, both lower middle of the pack. There would seem to be a story with Bushwick Ascend. Foundations Academy brought in a new principal three years ago, and while teachers thought the old guy was competent (and trusted him), the new guy got the benefit of the doubt, with half trusting him his first year. And none trusted him last year.

Bushwick Ascend and Foundations are also at the top of the “Principal does not communicate with us” list.

It is worth pointing out that as iffy as the flip might be – it is there. Most teachers in most schools reported that their principal is competent. In almost 1100 schools there is nothing in the competence part of the survey that would raise an eyebrow. In 238 schools every single teacher agreed or strongly agreed that their principal is an effective manager. And in fourteen schools every single teacher strongly agreed.

The school’s whose principals got perfect ratings from their teachers are:

2 M Union Sq Acad for Health Sciences HS
5 M Teachers College Community School ECC
30 Q Academy for New Americans MS
8 X Bronx Academy High School HST
84 M Harbor Sci & Arts Charter School ES/MS
18 K Kurt Hahn Expdtnry Learning School HS
2 M PS 527 East Side Sch / Social Action ECC
9 X Young Women’s Leadership Sch Bx MS
18 K South Shore Ed Complex Yabc YABC
21 K Abraham Lincoln Yabc YABC
28 Q PS 354 ECC
31 R P.S. 026 The Carteret School ES
4 M Global Technology Preparatory MS
84 M Dem Prep Endurance Charter School MS

The other 200  schools where the teachers reported their principals are incompetent are scattered across the city – all levels, almost all districts. Only District 16 in Brooklyn and District 26 in Queens have none.

That list follows. (I will post the ENTIRE list, including all the schools where the principal was rated well, in a separate post, to be linked here).

(Note, I created a “score” by weighting the responses A, B, C, D and converting to a number. I’ve used 0 – 100.)

D B School Name 1g. The principal at my school is an effective manager who makes the school run smoothly.
Type Percent Negative Score    (100 best,  0 worst)
6 M Hamilton Hts Sch ES 100%  5
14 K Foundations Acad HS 100%  6
84 K Bushwick Ascend Charter Sch ECC 100%  17
15 K Sec Sch for Journalism MS/HS 95%  10
3 M Urb Assembly School for Green Careers HS 94%  8
21 K Bklyn Studio Sec Sch MS/HS 89%  21
24 Q PS 110 ECC 89%  33
12 X P.S. 044 David C. Farragut ES 88%  25
28 Q Young Women’s Leadership Sch, Qns MS/HS 87%  20
3 M STEM Inst of Manhattan ES 86%  24
13 K The Urban Assembly Unison Sch MS 84%  34
12 X P.S. 102 Joseph O. Loretan ES 84%  34
7 X Young Leaders ES ES 82%  29
9 X P.S. 132 Garret A. Morgan ES 80%  23
30 Q P.S. 151 Mary D. Carter ES 79%  20
4 M River East Elementary ES 79%  34
1 M Marta Valle HS HS 78%  23
10 X P.S. 091 Bx ES 78%  26
23 K P.S. 150 Christopher ES 78%  30
30 Q P.S. 127 Aerospace Sci Magne ES/MS 77%  25
13 K Freedom Acad HS HS 77%  29
7 X Mott Haven Village Prep HS HS 77%  33
12 X Entrada Acad MS 77%  36
25 Q P.S. 165 Edith K. Bergtraum ES 76%  27
4 M Central Park East I ES 76%  28
15 K Bklyn Sch for Global Studies MS/HS 76%  29
19 K World Acad for Total Cmmty Health HS HS 76%  30
2 M Manhattan Village Acad HS 76%  32
3 M M.S. 256 Academic & Athletic Excellence MS 75%  29
75 K P.S. K141 D75 74%  26
84 M Broome Street Acad Charter Sch HS 74%  36
4 M J.H.S. 013 Jackie Robinson MS 74%  37
29 Q Math, Sci Research and Tech Magnet HS HS 73%  30
17 K P.S. 181 Bklyn ES/MS 73%  31
25 Q PS 242 Leonard P. Stavisky Early Chldhd Sch ECC 72%  29
1 M New Explorations into Sci, Tech and Math HS ES/MS/HS 72%  32
2 M P.S. 001 Alfred E. Smith ES 72%  33
29 Q P.S. 038 Rosedale ES 72%  33
6 M P.S. 192 Jacob H. Schiff ES 72%  34
8 X Antonia Pantoja Prep Acad: A College Bd Sch MS/HS 71%  26
2 M HS of Graphic Communication Arts HS 71%  31
25 Q P.S. 029 Qns ES 71%  34
2 M Urban Assembly Acad of Govt and Law, The HS 71%  35
5 M Acad for Social Action: A College Bd Sch MS/HS 70%  33
10 X I.S. 254 MS 70%  33
3 M P.S. 087 William Sherman ES 70%  33
84 M Harlem Village Acad HS HS 70%  34
19 K Essence Sch MS 70%  43
19 K P.S. 213 New Lots ES 69%  31
31 R P.S. 030 Westerleigh ES 69%  37
10 X P.S. 095 Sheila Mencher ES/MS 68%  31
9 X P.S. 163 Arthur A. Schomburg ES 68%  31
32 K P.S. 145 Andrew Jackson ES 68%  38
10 X P.S. / I.S. 54 ES 68%  39
2 M P.S. 198 Isador E. Ida Straus ES 68%  39
17 K Paul Robeson HS HS 67%  28
84 K Urban Dove Charter Sch HST 67%  33
18 K P.S. 279 Herman Schreiber ES 67%  35
19 K P.S. 149 Danny Kaye ES 67%  35
27 Q Frederick Douglass Acad VI HS HS 67%  36
32 K Evergreen MS for Urban Exploration MS 66%  33
32 K Bushwick Community HS HST 65%  36
2 M THE HS FOR Lang AND DIPLOMACY HS 65%  38
15 K Sch for Intl Studies MS/HS 65%  38
5 M P.S. 175 Henry H Garnet ES 65%  38
11 X MS 142 John Philip Sousa MS 65%  40
31 R P.S. 036 J. C. Drumgoole ES 64%  34
8 X J.H.S. 123 James M. Kieran MS 64%  35
3 M PS 166 Richard Rodgers Sch  The Arts & Tech ES 64%  36
10 X P.S. 024 Spuyten Duyvil ES 64%  43
5 M KAPPA IV MS 63%  34
17 K P.S. 022 ES 63%  34
75 K P.S. K140 D75 63%  34
27 Q P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott ES 63%  36
75 M P.S. M079 – Horan Sch D75 63%  37
8 X Archimedes Acad for Math, Sci and Tech Apps MS/HS 63%  39
29 Q Qns Prep Acad HS 63%  39
9 X Leadership Inst HS 63%  42
13 K Sci Skills Ctr HS for Sci, Tech & Creative Arts HS 63%  43
31 R P.S. 016 John J. Driscoll ES 62%  37
22 K P.S. 361 East Flatbush Early Childhood Sch ECC 62%  37
19 K P.S. 328 Phyllis Wheatley ES/MS 62%  38
13 K P.S. 282 Park Slope ES/MS 62%  41
10 X Thomas C. Giordano MS 45 MS 62%  42
29 Q P.S./I.S. 295 ES/MS 62%  42
13 K MS 596 Peace Acad MS 62%  47
7 X P.S. / I.S. 224 MS 62%  50
22 K P.S. 052 Sheepshead Bay ES 61%  36
6 M P.S. 173 ES 61%  39
32 K P.S. 151 Lyndon B. Johnson ES 61%  43
22 K P.S. 139 Alexine A. Fenty ES 60%  43
9 X SHERIDAN Acad FOR YOUNG LEADERS ES 60%  45
9 X THE FAMILY Sch ES 60%  46
84 X Academic Leadership Charter Sch ES 60%  47
84 Q Acad of the City Charter Sch ECC 60%  51
28 Q J.H.S. 008 Richard S. Grossley MS 59%  43
75 X P.S. X012 Lewis and Clark Sch D75 59%  46
7 X Samuel Gompers CTE HS HS 59%  46
10 X John F. Kennedy HS HS 58%  41
30 Q William Cullen Bryant HS HS 58%  43
29 Q P.S. 035 Nathaniel Woodhull ES 58%  43
3 M P.S. 165 Robert E. Simon ES/MS 58%  44
2 M The 47 Amer Sign Lang & English Lower Sch ES/MS 58%  45
10 X HS for Teaching and the Professions HS 58%  45
18 K Urban Action Acad HS 57%  36
84 K Imagine Me Leadership Charter Sch ECC 57%  38
24 Q P.S. 071 Forest ES 57%  39
2 M N.Y.C. Museum Sch HS 57%  41
1 M P.S. 134 Henrietta Szold ES 57%  42
14 K Frances Perkins Acad HS 57%  43
10 X J.H.S. 080 The Mosholu Parkway MS 57%  44
8 X Gateway Sch for Envmentl Research & Tech HS 57%  48
11 X P.S. 068 Bx ES 56%  42
4 M P.S. 007 Samuel Stern ES/MS 56%  44
10 X P.S. 9 Ryer Avenue ES ES 56%  45
84 K Fahari Acad Charter Sch MS 55%  40
2 M Art and Design HS HS 55%  41
6 M M.S. 326 – Writers Today & Leaders Tomorrow MS 55%  43
27 Q P.S. 045 Clarence Witherspoon ES 55%  46
27 Q P.S. 197 The Ocean Sch ES 54%  40
4 M P.S. 146 Ann M. Short ES 54%  41
10 X Grace Dodge CTE HS HS 54%  43
2 M Quest to Learn MS/HS 54%  44
10 X P.S. 306 ES 54%  45
20 K P.S. 205 Clarion ES 54%  45
2 M Murry Bergtraum HS for Business Careers HS 54%  46
3 M P.S. 242 – The Young Diplomats Magnet Acad ES 54%  46
1 M P.S. 137 John L. Bernstein ES 54%  56
25 Q PS/MS 200 – The Pomonok Sch & STAR Acad ES/MS 53%  42
11 X The Bxwood Prep Acad HS 53%  43
27 Q M.S. 053 Brian Piccolo MS 53%  45
21 K I.S. 281 Joseph B Cavallaro MS 53%  46
28 Q P.S. 139 Rego Park ES 53%  47
10 X Fordham HS for the Arts HS 53%  47
6 M I.S. 218 Salome Urena MS 53%  48
31 R P.S. 74 FUTURE LEADERS ES ECC 53%  49
84 K Invictus Prep Charter Sch MS 53%  50
11 X P.S. 111 Seton Falls ES 52%  41
22 K P.S. 236 Mill Basin ES 52%  44
3 M P.S. 333 Manhattan Sch for Children ES/MS 52%  45
25 Q P.S. 201 Discovery Sch for Inquiry & Resrch ES 52%  46
8 X Women’s Acad of Excellence HS 52%  47
24 Q P.S. 088 Seneca ES 52%  47
12 X P.S. 195 ES 52%  48
24 Q I.S. 73 – The Frank Sansivieri IS MS 52%  48
6 M The Mott Hall Sch MS 52%  49
84 X Hyde Leadership Charter Sch ES/MS/HS 52%  50
13 K UA Inst of Math & Sci for Young Women MS/HS 51%  38
30 Q Newcomers HS HS 51%  41
84 K New Dawn Charter HS HS 51%  46
27 Q J.H.S. 226 Virgil I. Grissom MS 51%  47
28 Q P.S. 082 Hammond ES 51%  48
9 X P.S. 199X – The Shakespeare Sch ES 51%  49
5 M P.S. 200- The James Mccune Smith Sch ES 51%  51
10 X Marie Curie Sch for Med, Nrsng and Hlth Profs HS 51%  54
31 R P.S. 6 Corporal Allan F. Kivlehan Sch ES 51%  54
28 Q P.S. 080 Thurgood Marshall Magnet ES 50%  43
11 X P.S. 108 Philip J. Abinanti ES 50%  44
18 K HS for Innovation in Advertising and Media HS 50%  45
14 K Sch for Legal Studies HS 50%  46
1 M P.S. 184m Shuang Wen ES/MS 50%  47
29 Q Bus, Computer Apps & Entrepreneurship HS HS 50%  48
32 K Bushwick Leaders HS for Academic Excellence HS 50%  48
75 K P.S. K077 D75 50%  49
5 M Choir Acad of Harlem MS/HS 50%  51
16 K P.S. 028 The Warren Prep Acad ES 50%  52
8 X Sch for Tourism and Hospitality HS 50%  55
9 X HS for Violin and Dance HS 50%  56
2 M Liberty HS Acad for Newcomers HST 50%  58
3 M P.S. 191 Amsterdam ES/MS 49%  46
19 K P.S. 306 Ethan Allen ES/MS 49%  47
21 K I.S. 303 Herbert S. Eisenberg MS 49%  48
24 Q P.S. 58 – Sch of Heroes ES 49%  48
10 X P.S. 085 Great Expectations ES 49%  50
24 Q Pan American Intl HS HS 48%  41
4 M P.S. 38 Roberto Clemente ES 48%  44
25 Q P.S. 120 Qns ES 48%  45
24 Q P.S. 007 Louis F. Simeone ECC 48%  47
4 M P.S. 050 Vito Marcantonio ES/MS 48%  48
6 M P.S. 325 ES 48%  49
14 K P.S. 250 George H. Lindsay ES 48%  50
2 M Business of Sports Sch HS 48%  50
17 K MS for the Arts MS 47%  46
12 X P.S. 212 ES/MS 47%  46
29 Q Community Voices MS MS 47%  46
9 X P.S. 064 Pura Belpre ES 47%  47
2 M P.S. 111 Adolph S. Ochs ES/MS 47%  48
17 K Intl HS at Prospect Hts HS 47%  48
1 M Collab Acad of Sci, Tech, & Lang-Arts Educn MS 47%  49
13 K P.S. 067 Charles A. Dorsey ES 47%  49
31 R P.S. 041 New Dorp ES 46%  49
1 M Sch for Global Leaders MS 46%  49
6 M Harbor Hts MS 45%  43
30 Q I.S. 230 MS 45%  48
29 Q PS/IS 268 ES/MS 45%  48
14 K P.S. 017 Henry D. Woodworth ES 45%  50
84 K Excellence Boys Charter Sch ES/MS 45%  50
10 X In-Tech Acad (M.S. / HS 368) MS/HS 44%  49
15 K P.S. 124 Silas B. Dutcher ES 43%  45
15 K P.S. 038 The Pacific ES 43%  49
27 Q P.S. 043 ES/MS 43%  50
12 X Performance Conservatory HS HS 42%  45
9 X P.S. 126 Dr Marjorie H Dunbar ES 42%  49
13 K P.S. 270 Johann DeKalb ES 42%  50
1 M The STAR Acad – P.S.63 ES 41%  49
28 Q Qns Gateway to Health Scis Sec Sch MS/HS 40%  49
2 M P.S./I.S. 217 Roosevelt Island ES/MS 40%  49
6 M P.S. 152 Dyckman Valley ES 40%  50
5 M I.S. 195 Roberto Clemente MS 40%  50
1 M P.S. 110 Florence Nightingale ES 39%  50
2 M Baruch College Campus HS HS 38%  50

A Moratorium on the Consequences of Testing?

October 11, 2013 pm31 12:59 pm

What exactly does that mean?

Well, the UFT passed a resolution at Wednesday’s Delegate Assembly (10/9), calling for such a moratorium. And that’s it. It’s a call.

It doesn’t commit UFT resources. It doesn’t call ON anyone in particular, to DO anything in particular. It simply puts the UFT on record, opposing one piece of the awful process that has been going on (testing, Danielson, Common Core, Progress Reports), and continues to get worse.

The consequence of this moratorium is that the UFT has hiccuped. There is a pause in our support for this evaluation system, however partial that pause is. And that change, from gung ho, matters. It is a beginning, an opening.

When the resolution was first presented at the Monday Executive Board (October 7), I rose to oppose much of the basis of the resolution. “We have and will continue to have major disagreement over this evaluation system.” But I supported the resolution – the “resolved” won’t be enacted by the city or the state, but if it were, it would delay for a full year any teacher being fired by this system, it would delay by one year a new set of “progress reports” used to torture schools, it would halt for one year holding students back based on test scores. It would have nothing but positive effect.

In New Action’s leaflet at the DA, we took the same position:

New Action sharply disagrees with the UFT leadership regarding the Common Core, the new Teacher Evaluation system (or even the need for one), and the potential abuse by administrators in issuing “ineffectives” to teachers. But we wholeheartedly agree with the call to put a moratorium on consequences for high stakes standardized tests.

And I attempted to get the floor at the Delegate Assembly to make the same points.

Two speakers opposed did get the floor. Vince Wojsnis of MORE spoke well against the Common Core, and against the entire evaluation system.  But instead of supporting the resolution and pushing to go further, MORE opposed it. Now, they had not seen it until they arrived (or Monday evening at the earliest, if their people who observed the UFT Exec Board told them about it). And on short notice it is hard to carefully consider a complicated resolution. But the short time is only part of the story. There is also the “primary reaction.” And MORE’s primary reaction is knee-jerk opposition. I wonder if critical support even occurred to them. The Union moved, a little, Wednesday, and MORE left themselves opposed.

They may have also been in poor humor for a related reason. They called for a demonstration on the street in front of the Delegate Assembly, and had quite a poor turnout.

Their bad humor about the turn of events (demonstration, and painting themselves into a corner at the DA) may also explain a spate of attacks on New Action on MORE/GEM/ICE supporters blogs in the two days since the DA. I count five, including on MORE’s official website. They know New Action opposes the evaluation system and tying evaluation to test scores, they know New Action opposes the Common Core, they know the resolution was introduced by Unity, not New Action, and they know that New Action is an independent caucus, but when MORE gets worked up, they lose it, and write or say things they know to be untrue.

In any case, the union moved a tiny bit forward on Wednesday. That in and of itself is significant. We must push much further. The immediate effects, the abuse, all the day to day stuff tied to the evaluation system, it all needs to be resisted. (The UI grievance on lesson planning is a good, positive example). And we must keep up pressure to address the system as a whole: to renegotiate as much of it as possible, and to actually undo the state law that put APPR into place in the first place.

 

Evaluation Backlash

October 8, 2013 am31 11:34 am

As the new evaluation system rolls forward in New York City’s public schools, the volume of complaint, not yet resistance, but complaint, is growing.

Our task force on testing was right six years ago – when it said teachers should not be evaluated on tests.

Mulgrew was right in January 2010 – when he said Weingarten’s proposals to evaluate teachers based partially on test scores would not fly in New York (at least under Bloomberg).  By the way, NYSUT has removed Weingarten’s speech from its website.

But Mulgrew was wrong in May 2010 when he swung and supported the Race to the Top proposal for New York State. He lined up NYSUT and the UFT in favor of the new state law… paving the way for NYS’ RttT application…

For three years Mulgrew has been saying that teachers want a new evaluation system. I don’t think think I’ve met those teachers. I don’t think they are working in in New York City. I don’t think more than a few of them exist. One teacher (out of 30) in my small school thought we needed a new evaluation system. She realizes now that she was wrong.

- – — — —– ——– ————- ——– —– — — – -

Multiple measures. Weingarten has been saying that tests are one thing that should be looked at. UFT leadership says the same thing. But the state law says that if a teacher’s scores on the test portions (40%) are low, that teacher is rated ineffective – halfway to a firing. This is not multiple measures. This is 1) teacher is rated on test scores, 2) if those are ok, then and only then are other measures (really just principal’s evaluation) taken into account.

- – — — —– ——– ————- ——– —– — — – -

Despite the state law, the UFT and NYC DoE did not negotiate an evaluation system. The January 2010 Mulgrew was wise to distrust the DoE’s negotiations – the May 2010 Mulgrew was foolish.

State Commissioner King imposed a system on NYC this June.  The DoE and UFT made proposals, and King raggedly split some of the difference.  (Portelos published the proposals here). There is important stuff for teachers in the differences, but there are huge problems in the similarities. In June the UFT claimed that we “won.” That seemed inaccurate. Today Mulgrew implies that teacher complaints are due to the UFT proposals not being adopted. That seems highly unlikely.

- – — — —– ——– ————- ——– —– — — – -

Measures of Student Learning (the 20% and 20%) were reviewed at the schools this Summer. And in many cases schools chose to blend scores,  to assign a generic score to many teachers. And I think, in many cases, this was the way to put as few teachers as possible, given the awful system, in harm’s way. And privately, some in the union leadership agreed.

However, when teachers arrived in September, and learned they would be evaluated on the scores of kids not in their classes, maybe not based on their subject! Wow!  There were furious complaints. And from a teacher’s point of view, this made absolutely no sense. (What’s missing, is that the entire system made no sense, and that if each teacher’s rating rested on a larger number of scores, that it would be less susceptible to the erratic bounces in student test scores on high stakes tests, including the sometimes erratic scores on NYS tests)

In the schools, principals were not sure how to handle the new system, and all kinds of interesting things have emerged. Principals mandating lesson formats, principals not holding mandated goal setting conferences, principals rating the wrong items, etc, etc.

With each abuse or mistake, the number of teacher complaints grows.

- – — — —– ——– ————- ——– —– — — – -

At the September 9 Citywide Chapter Leaders Meeting, Mulgrew spoke about the City failing to supply curriculum to most schools. He talked about problems with implementation. But he asserted the need for a new evaluation system, asserted that teachers wanted it (who?) and made caustic remarks about teachers who don’t get observed, and don’t want to be observed.

At the September 16 special Delegate Assembly, Mulgrew again spoke about the evaluation. This time he emphasized that King had sided with the DoE on important aspects. And he talked about teachers being evaluated on kids who were not theirs (without mentioning that in the crazy system King imposed, based on the law May 2010 Mulgrew supported, this may have been the best way to insulate teachers from crazy test score fluctuations, which occur with amazing regularity in New York State). He did not remark on teachers who do not like being observed, but again asserted that teachers wanted a new evaluation system. He was shifting, slightly, in the face of the growing backlash.

At the September 23 UFT Executive Board, New Action submitted a resolution affirming our contractual rights vis a vis lesson plans. The leadership, having already launched a Union Initiated Grievance on this very subject, collaborated on revising the resolution, which passed with bipartisan support. (It goes to tomorrow’s Delegate Assembly).

At the October 7 UFT Executive Board, several officers submitted a resolution calling for a moratorium on consequences – to kids, teachers or schools – from high stakes testing. LeRoy Barr strongly motivated (Mulgrew was absent) affirming both the leadership’s ongoing belief in a new evaluation system (and the Common Core), and the need for a moratorium on consequences.

(I rose to remind the body that there are strong disagreements, philosophical disagreements about evaluation, and that they needed to be hashed out, but not today, as the call for moratorium deserved unanimous support. Someone asked me later why I got up to say nothing… I don’t think that was nothing)

So at tomorrow’s Delegate Assembly there will be a split message.

The leadership will speak in favor of a “good” new evaluation system, will assert that the State Law is fine (and if pressed, remind members that is the law, but not remind members that the UFT and NYSUT helped craft it), might baldly assert that teachers wanted this.

The leadership will also push resolutions reasserting our contractual and historic rights regarding lesson plans, and calling for a moratorium on consequences for high stakes testing.

The former is a problem. The evaluation system for NYC should be renegotiated, and the State Law should be massively revised, or simply repealed. We must continue to challenge the need for this evaluation system, the fairness of rating teachers on student test scores, the weakening of tenure rights.

The latter represents progress. It is important that while this system is in place, that we as a union fight the individual problems that the system causes, either by design, by DoE incompetence, or by DoE malice. It is good that the leadership hears the members’ complaints. The leadership is responding, partially, but responding, to members’ complaints, to the evaluation backlash.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 538 other followers