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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Diner Deals: How The UFT, DOE, and State of New York Conspired To Harm Teachers While Enriching Themselves....Oops, I Mean New York State...or Not You

 The conclusion of most, if not all the teachers and DOE employees I have spoken with, is that the new Danielson evaluation system stinks....should be thrown out pronto.

As I urged in my previous article, Movement Starts: Toward an End To Involuntary Payment of Dues to the UFT , dues-paying members of the UFT should look into stopping their waste of money into the pockets of UNITY hacks who do deals behind closed doors.
What has Mike Mulgrew done to help you? Yes, I mean YOU, if you are paying dues. If you cannot answer this question, shouldn't you try to stop paying Mike Mulgrew and start putting all of your dues money into YOUR welfare? Call the UFT Welfare Fund. Tell them you want all of your dues to go to them for your health and welfare.
Maybe those folks at 52 Broadway will start picking up the phone and really advocate for members, if their salary is merit-based and not automatic.
Give the UFT UNITY CAUCUS members MERIT PAY and/or a commission based upon the number of successful cases brought to grievances or 3020-a.
 Betsy Combier


Assembly Democrats are opposed to Gov. Cuomo’s new, $224 million line in the sand in the city’s teacher evaluation fight  

Some 60% of Assembly Democrats represent city districts, making the issue of vital importance to their conference


ALBANY — Assembly Democrats are strongly opposed to Gov. Cuomo’s decision to impose a second strings-attached deadline on the city to approve a teacher evaluation plan.

The chamber’s Democrats — a majority of whom represent city districts — fear children could once again suffer as a result of Cuomo’s call to put another $224 million in state education aid on the line in the evaluation war.
City schools lost $450 million in state and federal funding when Mayor Bloomberg and city teachers union President Michael Mulgrew failed to reach agreement on an evaluation plan by a Jan. 17 deadline. Now, Cuomo has set a new deadline of Sept. 1, and his 2013-14 budget plan will yank $224 million in planned aid to city schools if it is not met.
“I thought he was going to be the lobbyist for the students,” a city-based Assembly Democrat cracked, making light of Cuomo’s boast from his 2012 State of the State address. “How does taking money away from school programs help the kids?”


A source close to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver indicated the conference of legislators in the Assembly representing New York City could side against Cuomo's new deadline for a teacher evaluation plan due to the risk of losing city education funding.

A source close to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said the issue is vital to the conference, given that 60% of its members represent the city.
Assembly Democrats note that the state share of funding the city lost at the Jan. 17 deadline — $250 million — was a planned 4% increase in education funding in the 2012-13 budget. That depleted the city’s education aid base, they say, making city schools less able to withstand potential loss of the additional state funding Cuomo is dangling to coax a deal out of the two sides.
“Compounding the cuts in the budget would be very difficult because ultimately it hurts children,” the Silver source said.
Cuomo defended his proposal last week during a discussion with the Daily News editorial board, pointing out that the city was one of only six school districts statewide that failed to adopt an evaluation plan by the Jan. 17 deadline.
“When 99% of the school districts figure out how to do it, I don’t think you can say the methodology has failed,” Cuomo said.
Mayor Bloomberg is expected to address the school aid controversy when he provides budget testimony at a joint legislative hearing in Albany Monday. It will mark the last time as mayor he will deliver such testimony.

Top aides to Mayor Bloomberg, Gov. Cuomo and union leaders reach historic agreement on teacher evaluations

Deal enables city to get millions in federal funds

Top aides to Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Cuomo and union leaders struck a historic agreement on teacher evaluations just before sunrise Thursday after all-night negotiations fueled by green tea and coffee.

The 5:30 a.m. deal broke the tense stalemate between Bloomberg and United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew over the appeals process for teachers given low ratings.

Left unresolved at that moment was Mulgrew’s demand that Bloomberg cancel plans to shutter as many as 33 struggling schools.

As the city was coming to life, Bloomberg and Mulgrew faced each other over three cups of coffee at the Viand Cafe, a mayoral favorite on the upper East Side.

“I just kept filling the cups,” said waitress Roxana Colla, 46.

Neither side gave ground on the closures, though, leaving a crucial decision to Cuomo, sources said.

But the governor decided the fight over the closures was not his — and said the evaluation plan was a done deal.

All sides praised the agreement, which clears the way for the state to qualify for nearly $1 billion in federal education money, including $60 million designated for struggling city schools.

“This is a win-win-win for the kids and for the adults,” Bloomberg said at an afternoon press conference, acknowledging that the city and union still need to hash out some details of the state’s hard-won agreement. “Every one of us should have a smile on our face. We did something really good that’s going to make the school system in New York City that much better.”

Negotiations heated up Tuesday after Cuomo — who threatened to implement his own ratings plan in the budget if the sides didn’t come together — declared the relationship between the city and UFT “toxic.”

“The governor was being a coach. He was working the room,” said one source. “It was a combination of (nudges) and hugs.”

Mulgrew, chief city lobbyist Micah Lasher and others hunkered down in Cuomo chief of staff Larry Schwartz’s office starting 8 a.m. Wednesday, sources said.

The talks, held in person and over the phone, then stretched until the wee hours Thursday when the appeals process for city teachers — modeled after one in New Haven — was finalized.

Under the terms of the groundbreaking deal, which settles the state teachers union lawsuit against the 2010 evaluation law, 60% of instructor evaluations will be based on measures of teacher performance, such as classroom observations.

The remaining 40% will be based on student achievement, with at least half of that component coming from student progress on state exams.

Cuomo also wrote into the plan an appeals process for city teachers who earn poor ratings, the bone of contention that caused talks between the city and UFT to break down Dec. 30.

Under the new agreement, city teachers rated ineffective will be monitored by an independent validator.

If the principal still rates the teacher poorly after a second year and the validator agrees, then the teacher must fight the firing. If the monitor disagrees, the city needs to prove that the teacher should be canned.

Under the new system, the union will have the right to appeal up to 13% of the first-year ineffective ratings with an independent panel.

Until the city and the teachers union officially ink a deal, a 4% increase in state aid for city schools still hangs in the balance.

The remaining sticking point is the 33 schools where, in his State of the City address, Bloomberg threatened to fire half the staff in an effort to collect the federal funds endangered by the evaluation impasse.

A source said city officials feared Mulgrew would torpedo the evaluation deal over the issue. But he stood by Cuomo as he announced the accord in a 12:15 p.m. press conference.

“We’ve had 10 years of education reform through destruction,” said Mulgrew, who added that the union will “challenge each and every one” of the mayor’s school closings.

With Edgar Sandoval, Tina Moore and Rachel Monahan


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