Friday, January 18, 2013

Autopsy of the failed teacher evaluation deal

In all the conflicting accounts between the city and the UFT about the collapse of the teacher evaluation negotiations, there is one clear point of agreement:  the Mayor refused to accept a two year sunset for the plan. In this, he was deeply wrong for disallowing the city to pilot what is essentially an experiment that could go badly, for both teachers and children.  Meanwhile, 90 percent of the districts in the rest of the state, appropriately, have a one year sunset on their teacher evaluation systems.  As I commented on the Schoolbook site, this insistence that the plan should be set in stone, with no sunset, shows Bloomberg as an arrogant wannabe Mayor-for-life. 

  • On the UFT site, Edwize, Leo Casey posts what appears to be a DOE document, showing that the two year sunset had been accepted by the DOE before the Mayor blew the deal out of the water.  This evidence further contradicts Bloomberg's claim that it was the UFT who tried to slip the sunset provision in at the last minute. His claim is also inconsistent with what Ernie Logan has revealed, that the DOE had already agreed to an even shorter sunset of one year with the principals union, before Bloomberg blew up their evaluation deal as well.
  •  Casey also reveals that towards the end, DOE tried to change “numerous scoring tables and conversion charts” that would incorporate the different components of the evaluation plan, including the growth scores based on student test scores, and that the DOE and the UFT then agreed to form a committee that would work on the scoring tables after the agreement was signed.  This suggests that even before the mayor rejected it, the deal was not really complete but could have faced serious conflicts in the future.
  • There’s a good piece in the Village Voice with lots of quotes from Bruce Baker of Rutgers, about the fact that the state still owes NYC billions of dollars in funds through the CFE decision, and  that the Governor should not be allowed to cut $250 million, as he has threatened, because of the city's failure to come to an agreement.  If so, he will merely be hurting the children of NYC who deserve these funds no matter whether there is a new teacher evaluation system or not.  The article also contains links to Baker’s analysis, showing that the growth scores that would be included in the plan, required as part of Race to the Top,  are particularly unreliable, and the problem with “[these] policy prescriptions is they're trying to do it in a particularly dumbass way."
  • Yoav Gonen reveals in the NY Post that the man who was primarily responsible for these dumbass prescriptions, Arne Duncan, called the Bloomberg and the UFT to urge them to make a deal.
  • Meanwhile there is NY State Education Commissioner  King’s statement that the city and the UFT still have a “legal obligation to continue to negotiate,”  I suppose because the State promised this in return for getting RTTT funds, but whether anyone will take this seriously is doubtful.


  1. This just shows Bloomburg to be another blowhard who thinks that he can do no wrong. Why not try his plan and have a sunset. All others are one year to see what happens, why not. Not Bloomburg because I am the one who knows and no one else. Says who? None of these plans makes real world sense considering the dramatic variables such as rich and poor, large and small, ESL, special ed and on and on. How do you fairly evaluate on the same scale a teacher working in the lowest need school with one in the same grade and subject world in the highest need school. Can that be really done? I don't think so, do you?

  2. Mayor Bloomberg hates THE UFT so much he would not accept any fair deal that they would accept. The sad part is the real problem that will improve education is not a teacher evaluation system but less emphasis on paper work,high stakes testing and a class size equal to that in his beloved charter schools!