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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Goodbye Tenured Teachers And ATRs!

From Betsy Combier: 
The UFT has finally sold out the tenure rights of all members, as well as ended any support for the fake title known as "ATR" - "Absent Teacher Reserve.

UFT wins third-party review for some ‘ineffective’ teacher ratings
Posted By Geoff Decker, Gotham Gazette, February 16, 2012 @ 9:04 pm In Newsroom | 48 Comments

Guidance On New York State's Annual Professional Performance Review Law and Regulations

Today’s agreement on teacher evaluation appeals wasn’t a complete loss for the union – just 87 percent of one.

When talks over an evaluation system broke down last year, the conflict centered on who should have the final say on teachers rated ‘ineffective’ under the new evaluation system. The city wanted all appeals to be decided by the chancellor, while the union wanted an independent third party to make the final call.

The subsequent deal that was struck as part of today’s statewide teacher evaluations on paper appears to favor the city. Eighty-seven percent of first-year ineffective rating appeals will still be heard by the chancellor. Second-year ineffective ratings will go straight to a 3020-a termination process that takes into account, but does not depend on, a third-party reviewer’s assessment of a teacher’s quality.

The fact that the union managed to salvage a sliver of its demand – getting the city to agree to refer 13 percent of ratings to a third party – is a small win. Bloomberg and the Department of Education initially walked away from the negotiating table in late December and refused to return until the union gave in to all of their demands.

In an interview today, Mulgrew said he was content with winning the 13 percent figure, which he said was based on the proportion of “unsatisfactory” ratings that were overturned before Bloomberg took office. In a statement, he called the deal “the kind of independent, third party component that the UFT has been seeking.”

This afternoon, city officials offered more details on the agreement, which won’t go into effect until the union and city officially settle on a complete evaluation system. Today, Mulgrew repeatedly indicated that he would not cooperate with the city further on negotiations if they continue to move forward on plans to close and reopen 33 schools.

“I will put every legal remedy on the table and we will do everything in our power,” he told GothamSchools today.

Under the agreement, the union has the option to challenge and refer 13 percent of first-year ineffective ratings to a panel of third-party reviewers. City lawyers said the union would be limited to teachers whose low rating might have stemmed from “harassment” by their principal.

Another set of third-party reviewers, called “validators,” will be assigned to all teachers whose first ineffective ratings are upheld. A “teacher improvement plan” will be created for the teachers and the validators will monitor them over the course of the second school year.

Whether the validators’ assessment of each teacher’s performance matches the principal’s will be crucial if the teacher receives a second low rating. Currently, to the city’s chagrin, the burden of proof in 3020-a termination proceedings is on the city, meaning that lawyers must convince a third party that a teacher is incompetent and should be fired. Under the new agreement, the city will still bear the burden of proof if the validator doesn’t agree with the city’s rating. But if a validator has supported the principal’s low rating, the teacher will have to prove she is not incompetent in order to keep her job — stripping her of a protection the city says has made it nearly impossible to fire weak teachers.

The validator role is modeled after a similar position in New Haven, Conn., where the teacher evaluation system has been cited as a model. UFT Secretary Michael Mendel said tonight that the emergence of the role in negotiations was key to bringing together the agreement.

“The independent validator we believe was a huge win for our members,” Mendel said.
City officials envision that the validator positions would be filled by “master teachers” and experienced evaluators who would be hired as vendors working with the Department of Education.

Although city officials said they would like to work with the union to pick the vendors jointly, they added that the UFT would not have the final say. That decision would be made by the State Education Department.

“It’s the only thing we can do to ensure fairness,” Mulgrew said of the need for the independent evaluators.

Article printed from GothamSchools:
URL to article:
URLs in this post:
[1] More U-ratings given out as evaluation overhaul looms ahead:
[2] UFT: City changed its mind mid-teacher evaluation talks:
[3] Arne Duncan sides with city in debate over teacher ratings:
[4] Union formally appeals court’s decision on teacher ratings:
[5] UFT appeals directly to parents in teacher evaluation showdown:

Observers Get Key Role, Just Like In The Disastrous PIP+

 Anyone who has studied the Peer Intervention Program Plus llike I have knows that
 the "new" evaluation for teachers will implement the end of tenure rights. Here are the
 documents I received under the Freedom of Information Law from the NYC BOE 
which show that the agreement has no mention of the UFT, and that the 
Training Manual allows the Principal to be the controlling party, and that
 there are no pre-observations in the protocols, which violates the UFT contract. 
I gave the material to NYSUT for their cases at 3020-a, but no one uses it.
But the UFT says they support it anyway. Go figure
Agreement Part 3 (Incomplete- what is Joe baranello hiding?)

The reason I say that is not because of the word "independent" , but because the 
word "independent" does not mean what you think it means.

In the PIP+ program the "independent" company, RMC, arranged to observe
 the teacher that the principal already told the observer was to be
 terminated, removed, forced to retire or resign.
 Then the RMC person made sure that the observations complied with 
what the principal wanted.
At least with PIP+ you could turn it down.
Betsy Combier 

Observers Get Key Role in Teacher Evaluations

The New York City teachers’ union has long called the process used by the city’s Education Department for reviewing and dismissing struggling teachers partisan and unfair.
But now, as part of an agreement reached Thursday, the Education Department and the United Federation of Teachers will put into effect an evaluation system that will bring independent observers into the city’s classrooms to monitor the weakest teachers.
The role of these observers — known officially as “independent validators” — is based on a similar practice in use in schools in New Haven. One observer will be assigned to any teacher receiving a first “ineffective” rating, the lowest possible grade under the new teacher evaluation system. Under the agreement, city education officials, with the consent of union leaders, will contract with a company to provide observers, who are to be licensed educators — former teachers, principals or administrators. Each observer will be assigned to between 50 and 80 teachers, and will perform three classroom observations for each one during the year.
If an evaluator concurs with a principal’s finding that a teacher is ineffective for a second consecutive year, city officials can begin a new, expedited termination process. Currently, the burden of proof is on the city, making the dismissal process lengthy and difficult.
While city officials do not yet have a projected cost, these outside evaluators are expected to be the largest expense of the new evaluation system.
Aaron Pallas, a professor of sociology and education at Teachers College at Columbia University, said it was becoming more common for school districts to include third-party observers in teacher evaluations — not only to ensure impartiality but also to provide a more comprehensive evaluation by consultants with specialized subject knowledge or experience.
“I think it has the potential to address the concerns of fairness that are central to evaluation issues,” Dr. Pallas said. “What we don’t know yet is whether the implementation of a more differentiated evaluation system results in either better teaching or better learning outcomes for students.”
New Haven introduced the use of outside observers — called “third-party validators” there — in 2010 as part of a new teachers’ contract. The validators were assigned to teachers receiving both the lowest and highest ratings so that, as John DeStefano Jr., the New Haven mayor put it, they could “discern factors of poor performance and also great performance so that they can be shared with other teachers and replicated.”
After the first year, 34 teachers with the lowest ratings, which were confirmed by the validators, were pushed out through retirements or resignations.
“The validators, I think, have been essential to issues of transparency and fairness,” the mayor said. “When tenured teachers did separate from the district, there was virtually no volume about it. It seems to have been accepted by the workforce, by evidence of what has not happened: protests, screaming, shouting.”
In New York, 2,118 of the city’s 75,000 teachers were deemed unsatisfactory last year under the current two-tier evaluation system, in which the only other option is satisfactory. But officials said they expected the number of poor ratings to substantially increase under the new system.
Michael Mulgrew, the United Federation of Teachers president, said he saw in the independent observer an opportunity for teachers to show firsthand that they can teach, or as he put it, “to do an appeal right there in the classroom.”
And if they failed?
“If they can’t improve, that means they need to leave the profession,” Mr. Mulgrew said. “I feel bad when this happens. I tell them, ‘I understand you have this passion inside you, but that doesn’t mean you have the ability to be an effective teacher.’ Teaching is a tough profession.”

Arne Duncan: Windbag or Douchebag? by Mr. Teachbad

Arne Duncan

Last night I watched Jon Stewart’s inter­view with Sec­re­tary of Edu­ca­tion Arne Dun­can.
And it was just ter­ri­ble. Here is the link. He is the car­i­ca­ture of a crazy, zero inde­pen­dent thought, Wash­ing­ton, DC Talk­ing­Point Man. It’s amaz­ing how far that and an Ivy League degree can get you.
Though she has stopped return­ing my calls, I still con­sider Valerie Strauss my girl­friend and she had a great sum­mary of the interview.
But after let­ting the dis­gust from the ini­tial inter­view pass, and after remind­ing myself that this guy is the edu­ca­tion guy for a pres­i­dent I really like; here are my questions:
How engaged with edu­ca­tion pol­icy do you really think Obama is? Does he even know that Dun­can was on The Daily Show last night? Does he care?
Can the grow­ing dis­plea­sure of teach­ers with Dun­can be used in a way that mat­ters? Or are we stuck with the Dun­can Pup­pet danc­ing for the amuse­ment of Rhee and Gates for the next five years as our best-case scenario?
Just moments ago I joined Dump Dun­can on Face­book. You should, too.
Mr. Teach­bad
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