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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

Carmen Farina Meets With Charter School Leaders, But Still Worries All of Them


Chancellor Carmen Fariña sits down with charter school leaders about co-locations

For the first time, Chancellor Carmen Fariña had a meeting with charter school leaders about co-locations, which were approved under the Bloomberg administration and may be overturned by Mayor de Blasio.

Facing a looming deadline for Mayor de Blasio to decide the fate of 28 charter schools set to be co-located in September, Chancellor Carmen Fariña on Saturday sat down for the first time with about 100 charter school leaders.

But the educators steered clear of discussing policy matters, according to principals who attended the two-hour breakfast confab.

There was “purposeful avoidance of policy talk,” said Steve Zimmerman, founder of the Academy of the City Charter School in Woodside, Queens.

Fariña described the meeting as “an open dialogue to hear what they have on their mind, for them to know who I am."


“It was a very productive meeting. We shared a lot of ideas and we’re going to continue the dialogue,” Fariña told a group of reporters who gathered outside the New York City Charter Center.

De Blasio has promised big changes from the Bloomberg years in how he runs the city’s public schools. He campaigned on a plan to charge charter schools rent for space in city buildings

The city has to decide by around March 1 whether to allow the more than two dozen charter school co-locations that were initially approved by the outgoing Bloomberg administration.

James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center, said if de Blasio overturns the co-locations, he will leave thousands of charter school students with an inferior education.


“Can he look every parent in the eye who expects to send their child to these schools in the fall and say to them, ‘The school that I will now force you to go to is going to be better than the school I am taking away from you?” Merriman asked.

Some charter leaders left the meeting scratching their heads about the mayor’s plans.

“They claim to be taking public input,” Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy, said in a statement after the meeting.

“However, they haven’t consulted anyone from the charter school community including the parents of charter school students and applicants. We’re totally in the dark as to what they’re even considering.”

Fariña Meets With Charter School Leaders

“This was an open dialogue to hear what they have on their mind, for them to know who I am, a lot of friends in the room,” Ms. Fariña said following the meeting during a brief chat with reporters on a Lower Manhattan sidewalk. “It was a very productive meeting. We shared a lot of ideas and we’re going to continue to dialogue.”
Ms. Fariña — and some of the charter officials who attended the meeting — said there was no policy discussed.
“There were no decisions made today, no statements of policy, but a lot of good will generated, and a really good feeling that there is a lot of things that we are going to find common ground in,” the chancellor said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has come under fire from many supporters of charter schools who say Mr. de Blasio’s administration isn’t supportive of charters. The mayor has discussed charging rent to some charter schools that can afford to pay, and he has voiced concern about charters that are co-located with traditional public schools.
James Merriman, chief executive officer of the New York City Charter School Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping charter schools flourish, described the meeting as “productive.” The meeting was closed to members of the media.
More than two dozen space-sharing arrangements for charter schools – known as co-locations – were approved by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration last year, and the de Blasio administration has yet to say publicly whether it will move forward with them.
Mr. Merriman said he had a direct question for the mayor: “Can he look every parent in the eye who expects to send their child to these schools in the fall and say to them, ‘The school that I will now force you to go to is going to be better than the school I am taking away from you and that is your choice?’”
Mr. Merriman said “not a single” co-location should be rolled back. “It is now time to let those schools open their doors,” he said.
Mr. Merriman declined to say whether he articulated that message directly to the chancellor. He said he didn’t know how the administration would rule on the pending co-locations. He said he believed the mayor, not the chancellor, would make the final decision on this issue.
As charter officials exited the meeting, one after another described the meeting as positive and productive. One official said there was a purposeful avoidance of policy talk.
In an email, Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy, said she hoped the chancellor will, moving forward, convince the mayor not to “evict” thousands of children from their schools.
“There is a lack of transparency in their decision-making regarding reconsidering charter school co-location,” she said. “They claim to be taking public input. However, they haven’t consulted anyone from the charter school community including the parents of charter school students and applicants. We’re totally in the dark as to what they’re even considering.”
Ms. Moskowitz’s critical comment was a stark departure from the remarks of the chancellor and the other officials who attended the meeting.
Ms. Fariña told reporters the meeting was “about how do we work together, how do we lessen the rhetoric around the stuff that’s happening now and moving forward it’s a new day.”
Asked what her message is to members of the public who are skeptical of whether the de Blasio administration is supportive of charters, Ms. Fariña said, “My message to the public is that all New York City children are our children and whatever we do to work together makes life better for everybody.”

Eva Moskowitz

Eva Moskowitz is especially worried about her Success Academy City Hall*:

"Demand for great schools far outpaces supply; there are waiting lists at schools across Lower Manhattan and many of the strong schools are overcrowded. In recent years, one elementary school building on the east side of Lower Manhattan has been operating at more than 200 children over capacity. Not every building, however, lacks space. The Murry Bergtraum facility on Pearl Street — where Success Academy City Hall* will open in August 2014 — has hundreds of seats opening up during the coming years. A desirable new school at this site will attract families from the overcrowded zones, alleviating the incredible burden on those school communities.

Gifted and Talented programs are a wonderful option but can be out of reach, and many families cannot afford to move out of the city or pay private school tuitions. Parents in Lower Manhattan deserve as many affordable options as possible.

Success Academy City Hall* is opening to meet parent demand and provide families with one more excellent school option."

Mayor De BLasio Has Another Scandal: Speedgate

Let's add them up: Snowgate; Findlaytergate; now Speedgate....

This is not a good sign, nor is Bill's arrogance in thinking that media will not frown on seeing him run away all the time from answering questions. Do we not remember when Mayor Bloomberg took the cars with sirens away from his Deputy Mayors?? I have re-posted my article on my website about that, below. Bill is sliding backward fast. real fast.

Betsy Combier

The Case Against Carmen Farina

SNOWGATE: First, the Lies, Then The Lies

Swept Under The Rug: Mayor De Blasio's Call To NYPD To Get His Friend Rev. Orlando
Findlayter Out of Jail

De Blasio says ‘I gotta go to the gym,’ walks away from reporters when asked about ‘Speedgate’

BROOKLYN (PIX11) – Mayor Bill de Blasio remained fairly tight lipped outside his home Friday morning when asked if his driver was in fact driving recklessly through the city.
“I gotta go to the gym,” de Blasio said when asked by PIX11′s Monica Morales if his driver was speeding, just days after the mayor announced his ambitious “Vision Zero” plan, aimed at ending pedestrian homicides. “The NYPD provides security protocol for the drivers. Talk  to them about that. We’re very serious about “Vision Zero,” we’re very committed to it, we’re going to keep moving forward with it.”

De Blasio added that he will be holding a press conference later on Friday, where reporters can ask “all the questions they want.”
Thursday, WCBS released footage of the mayor’s SUV speeding, running through stop signs and not signaling.
The SUV was driven by a member of the NYPD on de Blasio’s security team.
The NYPD released a statement Friday regarding the mayor’s security and transportation:
“The security and transportation for the Mayor are provided by the New York City Police Department.  Police Department personnel assigned to the Mayor’s Security Detail receive specialized training in driving based on maintaining security as well as safety.   At certain times, under certain conditions, this training may include the use of techniques such as maintaining speed with the general flow of traffic, and may sometimes include tactics to safely keep two or more police vehicles together in formation when crossing intersections.  The handling of police vehicles transporting any protectee is determined solely by police personnel based on their specialized training in executive protection and professional judgment.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio's motorcade arriving at City Hall on Monday, February 17

Mayor’s entourage faster than cabs: Post radar-gun survey

Mr. Mayor, taxis are going slower than you!
At the same time de Blasio’s entourage was spotted speeding through Queens, The Post found cabs were treading lightly on the gas last week. This despite the mayor singling out taxis in his “Vision Zero” initiative for street safety.

As a Channel 2 news crew witnessed the mayor’s two-car caravan going 15 mph over the speed limit on Thursday, The Post observed taxis driving south out of Central Park onto Seventh Avenue at speeds below the citywide limit of 30 mph. The highest speed clocked there by The Post was 26 mph.
Over on Park Avenue at 38th Street, most cabs drove from 20 to 27 mph.

On West 57th Street, most of the taxis were going 15 mph to 22 mph — even without heavy traffic.
De Blasio unveiled his plan last week to eliminate traffic deaths. The proposal calls for lowering the city’s speed limit to 25 mph and for rigging yellow cabs with a device to turn off the meter if the driver exceeds the speed limit.

The initiative came about in the wake of seven pedestrian fatalities during the year’s first two weeks.
“It’s also about all of us taking greater responsibility every time we get behind the wheel and every time we step out on the street,” de Blasio said. “Our lives are literally in each other’s hands.”
Yet on Friday, de Blasio and his security detail were jaywalking near his Brooklyn home. And on Thursday, de Blasio’s police-driven SUV was seen blowing through two stop signs, speeding and changing highway lanes without signaling. The mayor’s office referred questions to the NYPD, which defended its drivers and techniques.

Cabbies call the mayor’s crackdown unfair. “Not all accidents can be attributed to taxis,” Robert Omari said.

And taxi driver Abdel Malek Elouazri said cabbies may drive aggressively, but not quickly.
“Speeding, I don’t think so,” he said. “You see the [traffic] light system, you can’t go past 30 mph.”
That’s not to say cabbies never step on it. Along First Avenue at East 42nd Street, where traffic can go through a tunnel to 47th Street, cabs regularly drove over the speed limit, going as fast as 39 mph one night last week, The Post found.
A handful of cabs sped along Central Park South Thursday afternoon, but none went more than 7 mph over the limit. On Riverside Drive, there was some speeding, but not above 40 mph. And the cabs were not speeding ahead of the traffic; many cars were traveling over the limit as well.
14 Department of Education Employees Have Cars With Police Sirens, Until Friday, February 20, 2004

Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman was caught by CBS TV crews speeding to work at the Office of Legal Affairs from her home in Riverdale, and using the police siren on her city-owned car.

The GOTHAMist:
Lights (and Sirens) Out for a Deputy Mayor

Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman, who advises Mayor Bloomberg on legal matters, had been abusing the lights and sirens on her cars to get to work faster, and after a local TV station reported this, they will now be stripped from her car. WCBS had been following Robles-Roman from Riverdale to her Manhattan offices, using the lights and sirens to drive onto the shoulder of the Henry Hudson Parkway. When the TV crew confronted her, Roble-Roman said, "I'm not a firefighter, and I'm not a police officer so I can't tell you I'm going to put out a fire."
The Post pointed out that the Mayor's office has a "no-siren policy" just to cut through traffic, and Mayor himself typically take the subway to work. But that is the beauty of living in Manhattan versus Riverdale.


Feb 17, 2004 8:17 am US/Eastern
NEW YORK (CBS) Sirens and flashing lights atop a city official's car will be removed after CBS 2 recorded her improperly using them to beat traffic on her way to work.

Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman acknowledged last week that she had merely been driving to meetings when her chauffeur-driven sedan was taped rushing through traffic lights with its sirens screaming. The episode was recorded by CBS 2, which said Robles-Roman had similarly misused the equipment several times over the last few months.

When confronted by CBS 2's Marcia Kramer, all Robles-Roman could say was, "We're usually going to important meetings, different meetings, I'm not a firefighter and I'm not a police officer so I can't tell you I'm going to put out a fire."

Robles-Roman herself asked to have the sirens and lights removed from the car, said mayoral spokesman Ed Skyler.

The lights and sirens are meant for use only in true emergencies.

Free Republic:

Posted on 02/20/2004 3:21:23 PM PST by nuconvert
NYC Mayor Orders Lights, Sirens Removed From 250 Vehicles
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the lights and sirens removed from more than 250 city vehicles Friday after one of his deputy mayors was caught on video routinely and unnecessarily using the equipment on her official car. Only about 70 civilians in the Bloomberg administration, including the mayor and one of five deputy mayors, will be allowed to keep their lights and sirens.

A week ago, WCBS-TV aired videotape of Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman zipping from work to home in her official car, its lights flashing and siren blaring. Her chauffeur was shown driving on the shoulders of roads to avoid traffic.

Bloomberg ordered an inquiry into which officials truly need the equipment.

"The criteria the mayor used with commissioners was, 'Is this somebody that responds to emergencies as part of their job?'" spokesman Ed Skyler said.

Almost all department heads will lose their lights and sirens, including the schools chancellor, the finance commissioner and the parks commissioner. Among the few who will be allowed to keep the equipment is the sanitation commissioner.

Mayor Bloomberg quickly removed the emergency lights and sirens of more than 255 city officials, including Chancellor Joel Klein and 13 other Department of Education employees. Why did these 14 DOE employees believe that they needed this emergency equipment on their chauffeur-driven city-owned cars?

The New York Times quotes Mr. Hirsch, the medical examiner, as stating that he had used his lights and sirens only once in 15 years, to get to the scene of an airplane crash at La Guardia Airport. "It seemed to me if I had gotten there 10 minutes later, it wouldn't have made a whole lot of difference," he said.

Mr. Hirsch said he rejected the suggestion that it was a coveted status symbol. "If I needed that to define who I am, I better redefine my priorities," he said.

Isn't it far past the time when our education personnel need to redefine their priorities?

Principals Applaud Carmen Farina After She Uncaps Their Email Inboxes

Principals applaud Fariña, de Blasio as leaders present a “tone shift”

It was a night of applause at Brooklyn Tech, as hundreds of the city’s principals assembled to hear from‚ and cheer for, new chancellor Carmen Fariña and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
A few principals clapped when Fariña mentioned her new deputy chancellors. Others cheered when she announced new principal training requirements. But no reaction matched the principals’ applause after one seemingly mundane announcement: their email inboxes will no longer be capped.
That inbox size limit meant principals had to spend a few hours every few months, or a bit of time every day, deleting emails. It was exactly the kind of day-to-day frustration that they didn’t expect administrators to address, principals said.
“It’s such a small detail but it shows being in tune with our reality,” Julie Nariman, principal at High School of Language and Innovation, said of the change.
For principals, Wednesday night was their first look at de Blasio-era education policy, and Fariña focused on communicating that she understood the difficulty of their jobs. She also unveiled a number of small-scale policy changes, while distancing her leadership style from that of the previous administration.
“Our tone is going to be softer,” Fariña said. “Our tone is going to be certainly more grateful.”
De Blasio was even blunter. “I’ll say it very simply. I am not trying to bring an outside model, a corporate model, a private sector model,” he said, earning a loud round of applause.
Fariña set up her praise for principals in direct contrast to her predecessors, who she said told principals at one gathering that they “were not cutting it.”
“I’m here to tell you New York City principals are making it, and are cutting it, and are the wave of the future,” Fariña said.
Other moments reflected the new leadership’s desire to be seen as inclusive. Fariña said she would be creating elementary, middle, and high school advisory panels that would approve all new policies before they left Tweed.
Fariña used the meeting to introduce the three members of the department leadership that she appointed today, including her new second-in-command, Dorita Gibson, and her new deputy chancellor for teaching and learning, Phil Weinberg. Both had been principals, she noted.
One of Fariña’s announcements was a new qualification for that job: seven years of experience. That stands in direct contrast to the Bloomberg administration’s creation of afast-track principal training program that drew scorn for filling the city’s schools with inexperienced leaders.
Fariña did not specify what type of work would count toward those seven years, and a Department of Education spokesperson could not immediately provide clarification.
In keeping with her focus on collaboration, the department will also be setting up “demonstration schools,” for principals-in-training or principals looking for new models to visit, Fariña said.
The chancellor didn’t directly mention one of the biggest changes facing teachers and principals this year: the rollout of the Common Core standards. She also gave no indication of her plans for the network structure of school support, an issue that many principals have already been lobbying on both sides of.
But Fariña did tell principals she had met with state Education Commissioner John King and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, alluding to the fact that she was looking for ways to improve the teacher evaluation system.
Fariña said she had also been meeting with union leaders, mentioning the principal’s union president Ernie Logan and a recent “lunch with Michael,” referring to teachers union chief Mulgrew.
De Blasio briefly brought up his plan for a new tax to pay for pre-kindergarten, which he said he “asked for and expects to receive,” and noted that reducing class sizes would be a long-term goal.
Together, the speeches reflected a shift that many principals said they were hoping to hear when they greeted Fariña with a long standing ovation.
“You know, I knew you were happy. But I didn’t realize you were this happy,” Farina said, after telling everyone to sit down.
An hour later, Michael Lerner, principal of Bard High School Early College, called the night “uplifting.”
“There’s a sense of respect,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for a month to hear her vision, and we definitely heard it. It means a lot.”
Nariman agreed. “Principals are such hard drivers. To be told we’re actually doing a good job—it’s kind of shocking,” she said. “We’re always thinking, what should we do next?”
While Fariña kept the mood celebratory, the mayor did insert one sobering moment, acknowledging that New York City schools still had much room for improvement. “We don’t stand pat and say that’s acceptable,” he said.
Rafiq Kalam Id-Din, co-principal of Teaching Firms of America Professional Prepatory Charter School, said that reality is never far from principals’ minds—which is precisely why Fariña’s tone was so welcome.
“We all know there’s a lot of work to do. There’s no need for a caustic atmosphere,” Id-Din said. “Everyone knows we have to roll up our sleeves.”
To Wilpur Morales, principal of West Bronx Academy for the Future, it was notable that Fariña was meeting with principals before she planned to meet with superintendents and network staff. ”Under the previous administration,they would notify us,” he said. “Obviously she is notifying us before she is notifying them.”

Maite Junco, Former Editor at the NY Daily News and Bloomberg LP, Appointed DOE Communications Chief

So I guess all we have to do to see what the De Blasio administration is doing or thinking of doing is read the NY Daily News.
Betsy Combier
Veteran of NYC’s English and Spanish media to head DOE communications

Maite Junco, pictured above, the head of CUNY’s Voice of NY ethnic media project, is now in charge of shaping the Department of Education’s message, Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced Monday.
As senior advisor to the chancellor, she replaces Andrew Kirtzman, who stepped down in January.
Junco was a longtime New York Daily News editor and is a veteran of Spanish-language media. In 15 years at the Daily News, she served as an assignment editor and managing editor for Hispanic publications.
In a statement, Chancellor Carmen Fariña implied that Junco would be tasked with two of Fariña’s broad goals: improving outreach and focusing on the positive things happening throughout the school system.
“Communicating clearly and often to students, families, and educators is central to developing a world-class school system,” Fariña said. “With decades of invaluable experience, Maite will be a key member of my team. With so many successes occurring inside our classrooms, she will help us tell the stories that aren’t being told, as she’s been doing throughout her career.”
Also announced today: Devora Kaye of SKDKnickerbocker will join Devon Puglia heading up the day-to-day operations of the press office.
Resume of Maite Junco


Personnel Team

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio Transition
Greater New York City Area

Editor, Voices of NY

CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
Midtown Manhattan

Managing Editor, Hispanic Publications; Editor, Viva New York

New York Daily News
New York, N.Y.

Deputy Metropolitan Editor

New York Daily News
New York, NY

Beat Reporter

Bloomberg LP
New York, NY

Assignment Editor/Deputy Metro Editor/Deputy Boroughs Editor

New York Daily News
New York, N.Y.

Metropolitan Editor, El Daily News (bilingual paper)

New York Daily News
New York, N.Y.

Campaign Director

Committee to Re-elect Nydia Velázquez
New York, N.Y.

Director of Communications

Committee to Re-elect David Dinkins
New York, N.Y.

Deputy Press Secretary

Clinton for President, National Campaign
Little Rock, Arkansas Area

Assistant Press Secretary

Office of Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer
New York, N.Y.

News Director

New York, N.Y.

Assistant Editor

New York, N.Y.

Assistant News Director/Producer

Channel 24 / WSJN TV
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Carmen Farina's Game Plan. Please Call Betsy

I have not received a call about the missing $225,000 from PS6 and PS 198 Annenberg Challenge From The Arts money, Carmen. I'm home, same number you called on May 23, 2000 screaming threats at me for asking where the money was. Call me!

Carmen Fariña’s game plan to undo (and redo) the Bloomberg years

We sat down with Carmen Fariña this week to get specific on her plans for the city's schools.