Thursday, January 17, 2013

Who is to blame for the failed negotiations over teacher evaluation?

If the Governor goes ahead with punishing NYC children for the failure to reach a deal over teacher evaluation by subtracting $250 million from state aid, it will be terribly unfair.  Yet there is little doubt that most parents will blame Bloomberg for this latest fiasco, as the just-released Quinnipiac poll shows that NYC voters trust the UFT by 53 to 35 percent over the mayor. And 63 percent of those polled believe that the mayor should share power, compared to only 13 percent who say he should continue to have complete control, without any checks and balances. 
In response to  bills introduced in the Legislature to undo mayoral control last year, the mayor’s spokesperson said that no one should want to return to “those bad old days of dysfunction and corruption.”  These bills have just been re-introduced.
Actually the "bad old days" look pretty good compare with the collapse of negotiations over a new teacher evaluation system,  the bus strike, the largest class sizes in 14 years, and million dollar contracts awarded vendors who have been shown to  have stolen millions in the past.  (The latest beneficiary of the DOE’s largesse is Champion Learning, which was awarded $4.5 million by the Panel for Educational Policy in November, despite having found to have overbilled DOE by many millions and being under federal investigation.)
The legislature should take note, and refrain from punishing NYC students, by insisting that their schools are fully funded and that no future mayor has the unilateral ability to damage our schools and hurt our kids again.


Anonymous said...

Hi Leonie,

Just got back from UFT Delegate Assembly and have been following developments all day. What's clear is that negotiators from the UFT, DOE, and from outside had an agreement early this morning. When the mayor saw it on his desk he flipped and said the could not agree to it. At that point the deal was off. The Union was able to get the DOE to agree to reasonable implemantation measures as well as streamlining the arbitration process of teachers deamed "ineffective". The Mayor reportedly refused these concessions as well as the 2 year length of the deal. It's important to note that 90% of New York State districts agreed to 1-year deals. As tyou probably saw in his news conference today, Bloomberg was visibly agitated when asked about this, missrepresenting the length as "a sunset."

What's clear from today's events is that the Mayor was the one negotiating in bad faith. Clearly he's not interested in any agreement which would benifit teachers, administrators, and now students.

I thought Philissa Kramer's excellent piece in Gotham Schools yesterday summed up the motivations behind the negotiators. Bloomberg had more to gain by walking away, Mulgrew had more to gain by getting a new evaluation process. The mayor must pay for what his hubris and obvious vendetta against the union.

Pogue said...

As long as "junk science" standardized, growth model, in every single subject, all-year-long, several times a year, Pearson developed tests are involved...a new evaluation agreement is bad for kids and teachers alike.