Tuesday, June 29, 2010



In case you missed the press coverage this past Friday, the UFT and the DoE have made an agreement to start the new teacher rating system in 11 schools this coming September. These schools were chosen from the 34 on the state list for restructuring.

The new rating system was not supposed to affect anybody until the 2011 - 12 school year. That year, it was supposed to be introduced for grades 4 - 8. In 2012 - 3 was it scheduled to affect high schools.

When the new rating system was unveiled, members had a tremendous number of questions about how it would be put into effect. How would teachers in such subjects as art and phys ed be rated? How would we be protected from penalization for having ELL classes, or Special Ed, or repeaters, or truants? The union officers and staff tried to placate us by saying it would be a value-added system, rubrics would be developed, with teacher input, etc., etc., etc.

Now it is clear this was lip service. The new system will start in three months. Where are the baseline tests? Where are the rubrics? Where is the "teacher input"?

This means that this coming June, UFT members will begin receiving the new ratings instead of the old U or S.

And of course this means that by fall of 2012, we will see the first teachers losing their licenses under the new "expedited" process for "removing ineffective teachers."

Merit pay will also begin. There will be two levels of merit pay, "master teacher," 30% bonus, and "turnaround teacher." 15% bonus. To put a pathetic figleaf over what is clearly merit pay, they will have to help other teachers. It is not yet clear how it wil be decided who will get this merit pay, but it looks like it will be a toxic cocktail of student test scores and adminsitrative favoritism.

Massacre of the Probies?
We are hearing reports that in some schools or districts, large numbers of our colleagues who are up for tenure are being forced to sign extensions of probation, or get discontinued (which means de facto fired) . We know of cases where this has been done to teachers who have all "S" observations and no disciplinary record whatsoever, because they haven't passed enough students, or even because their students have too many absences. We've also heard that the DOE has ordered that all ATRs up for tenure be automatically discontinued.

We need your help in getting a fuller picture, so we can begin to pressure the UFT to come to the defense of our newest members. Please reply to this email and tell us what you know is happening with teachers up for tenure at your school.

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Anonymous said...

What's missing from TJC's analysis, which is very good, is that UFTers who are selected for this merit pay scheme will be directly and or indirectly helping management rate their union brothers and sisters and potentially getting them fired. What other union would do such a thing. Can you think of one? This is the result of years and years of appeasement and a failure to build a strong, informed, democratic union.

The UFT is participating in the ruling elite's desire to crush teachers' unions, privatize public education and regiment teaching and learning through the use of data, high stakes testing and new teacher evaluations. All of this might be labeled as follows:


The UFT understands this but like so many other unions today is unwilling to challenge Capital. Why? They believe they can temporize the situation. They believe they will "get through this." This can only be classified as self serving, infantile and unrealistic. The President of our country is leading this attack on education. Where is our vision? What are we fighting for? We are always "fighting" against something? What is our program and how do we communicate this to our members and the community?

Is the UFT afraid of events "catching fire" if they truly try to educate and mobilize our union? Are they afraid of losing power? Are they afraid of being crushed by the ruling elite, by Wall Street?

These are amazing times. What will be done?

A Lonely CL by the Sea

Anonymous said...

The TDA funds and other member payments are one thing the "leadership" is concerned with, as well as their personal careers.

They are making the fatal parisitical mistake . . . sucking their host dry.