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Faxes for tenure reform?

April 6, 2008 pm30 8:08 pm

I’m stuck. I have an e-mail from my union, asking me to tell the members in my school to fax legislators, and I don’t know how to handle it.

Usually I just post the info, or stick it into a letter (I write a Chapter Leader’s letter, something like an update bulletin, every few weeks or so).

It’s trickier when I think the info is wrong, but not that tricky. For example, our union endorsed Clinton. I’m not supporting anyone in the primaries. But I put up a notice about Clinton phonebanking. During the discussion of the 2005 contract, I clearly expressed my opinion (we should have rejected it) but distributed literature from my DR in support of it as well. Members have a right to information.

But here? There is a nasty trend. Districts are looking at “value added” stuff with students, really just standardized test scores, and are proposing using them in tenure decisions. The UFT opposes this. I oppose this. NYSUT opposes this. All of you should oppose this, too. That’s the easy part.

There is a bill in the NY State Legislature, attached to the budget (read: no open debate), that would restrict the use of test scores in making tenure decisions. But it would allow tenure decisions to be based, in part, on the way teachers use test scores. Huh?

Here’s Randi Weingarten: “teachers can be evaluated on their use of student test scores and other data and how they adjust their own teaching to help students improve.” Huh?

I don’t know if we should be saying this. I don’t know if we should be supporting this legislation.

Are we trying to block an attack on tenure by offering to chip away at it slowly? Is it reasonable to expect teachers to be data specialists?

I don’t know what to tell my members. For now, I am sending no fax.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Chaz permalink
    April 7, 2008 am30 2:12 am 2:12 am

    I also found it confusing. I still believe that teacher tenure is based upon subjective criteria, How does the administrators like you. How many students complain about you. What is your time & attendance record?.

    I really see no change in this.

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