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Saturday, February 22, 2014

UFT President Mulgrew on The New Teacher Evaluations, 2013: This Plan is Professional and Fair

Didn't Sir Winston Churchill say "“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” ?

President Mulgrew's member letter on the new evaluation plan for teachers

UFT President Michael Mulgrew (pictured below) sent the following email to UFT members on Saturday evening following State Education Commissioner John King's announcement of the new evaluation plan for New York City teachers that will take effect in September 2013.
Dear colleagues,
State Education Commissioner John King said New York City “is not going to fire its way to academic success” as he announced this afternoon a new evaluation system for K-12 teachers that will go into effect in September.
The commissioner’s plan is professional and fair and is designed to help teachers improve their skills throughout their careers. It offers teachers a professional voice in the measures that their supervisors will use to rate them. And despite Mayor Bloomberg’s desire for a “gotcha” system, the new system puts in place stronger due process rights to protect teachers from harassment and from principals who don’t follow the rules. Our biggest concern, given this administration’s terrible track record, is implementation.
The new system came as the result of binding arbitration after the DOE failed to negotiate in good faith with us. In seven months we will have a new mayor, and we’ll have the opportunity in collective bargaining for our next contract to make changes to aspects that aren’t working. 
For now, here are five key points about the new evaluation plan that you should know:
1. Strong due process –Given Mayor Bloomberg’s desire to make teachers ‘at-will employees’and this DOE’s track record of going after teachers, we fought for and won significant safeguards for you. For the first time, we have an independent panel to review teacher ratings that the union believes are based on principal harassment.  We can identify up to 13 percent of all ineffective ratings each year to challenge on grounds of harassment or other matters not related to job performance.  All teachers who receive an ineffective rating will have the benefit in the following year of an independent validator who will not be in the principal’s pocket. We also fought for and won additional arbitration slots that will allow teachers to challenge the process when they can show that supervisors were not following the rules.
2. The complete Danielson rubric –Commissioner King ruled, following the UFT’s proposal, that principals must take into consideration all 22 components of the Danielson Framework for Teaching when rating a teacher. The DOE had wanted to cherry-pick only a small fraction – the most difficult ones. That means everything that you do for your students counts towards your rating, including artifacts of student learning and portfolios, planning and preparation, classroom environment and parent engagement strategies.
3. Meaningful observations –Under this new agreement, teachers will be able to choose the form of observations that they want. One option available to you will require one formal observation, with pre- and post-observation conferences, as well as three informal observations. Teachers can also opt for six informal observations. Under both plans, at least one observation will be unannounced.  After everyobservation, you should receive written feedback, which is critical if an observation is to help you grow as a teacher and develop your skills.
4. Teacher Voice - The new system will allow schools and teachers to customize the student learning portion of their evaluations. Each school will have a committee comprised of an equal number of teachers and administrators who will determine, along with the principal, which assessments each school will use. Only if no agreement can be reached at the school level will the default school-wide measures be used.
5.  Student surveys - The new system also includes a pilot of student surveys, which will not be for stakes in 2013-14. Commissioner King’s plan is that the surveys would eventually become 5 percent of the rating for teachers in grades 3-12. Experts have found that student surveys are not valid in high-stakes settings, and we will be looking at this very closely in the months ahead.
The DOE is already trying to spin this to its advantage. We will be working through Sunday to put together detailed information about the new plan so you’ll have it when you return to school on Monday.
Training the tens of thousands of teachers and administrators in our schools in the new system will not be easy. The Bloomberg administration has failed our schools for more than 11 years, and we can only hope that one of its last acts will be to work with us to implement this new system in the spirit in which it was designed.
Here is the bottom line: The new teacher evaluation system is designed to support, not punish, teachers and to help them develop throughout their careers. That is what we will be fighting for as this plan is implemented.
Michael Mulgrew
Read more: News
Related topics: evaluation

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Problem is that the UFT has been bought by the DOE. The reality is that the first domain of Danielson (1 -1a) states has knowledge of pedagogy has knowledge of content area. For example, the A.P of Social studies at Manhattan Center for Science and Math High School was a former gym teacher so how much content knowledge does he have in social studies.