Saturday, June 8, 2013

How Mulgrew's Responsible for Disastrous NYC Teachers' Evaluation; Gender & the Weingarten Comparisons

In all of New York City teachers' complaints and analyses of New York State Education Commissioner John King's imposed evaluation scheme we must remember these core points on how UFT president Michael Mulgrew was fundamentally responsible for the terrible tragedy that the evaluation system is to New York City teachers and the profession.

I) The fact is that the components of all this (especially the Common Core test-based evaluations and APPR mandates) come from President Obama and Secretary Duncan's Race to the Top, whose architect, similar to Duncan, Joanne Weiss has no actual educator experience. Weiss was commissioned to direct the create the program on May 19, 2009 and the program's form and terms were announced two months later, on July 24, 2009. The Race to the Top mandates: *Compliance with the Common Core States Standards, *CCSS-anchored tests, *Test score-heavy assessment of teachers, *Maintenance of student databases, *Strengthened annual rating of teachers and principals, *"Turning around failing schools". Qualification for a high Race to the Top score means replacing more public schools with charter schools. A district superintendent in one New York State community wrote that the compliance with the RTTT would require every district to reopen union contracts.
Mulgrew supported Race to the Top as he endorsed New York State's RTTT application, the occasion for the August 24, 2010 photo below. Pictured are David Steiner, an unknown official, Joel Klein, Michael Bloomberg, Michael Mulgrew, Merryl Tisch, Christine Quinn and another unknown official. The standards were issued June 2, 2010.

II) The UFT and NYSUT did not have to go along with NYS on their RTTT application:
(a) the California Teachers Association opposed Race to the Top;
(b) it was not worth the money, many states and districts have decided that the attendant costs associated with implementing RTTT mandates exceed whatever money that states or districts would get from RTTT money-- 13 states did not submit applications to the final RTTT competition round; nearly 80 Ohio districts and charter schools have rejected RTTT funds, citing the costs;

III) Mulgrew did not have to cheer on Governor Andrew Cuomo's state imposition, he could have petitioned the Public Employee Relations Board for real labor-management arbitration. His letting New York State Education Department Commissioner John King write the evaluation system essentially is closer to having only management make the decisions. Predictably, right on the day of the actual release of King's imposed evaluation system, he said it was a well-needed reform.

* * *
Look at what John King's state-imposed evaluation system has wrought:
*A termination tie-in after two consecutive year-end unsatisfactory ("U") ratings; by contrast, Buffalo is now suing its school district for violating their side agreement that evaluations not be used punitively.
*Student surveys, starting in fall, 2013 as a pilot program; with formal five percent weight in 2014-2015. Only Syracuse also uses student surveys for the evaluation algorithm.
*Sunset clauses; numerous municipalities across the state have one or two-year sunsets.

Do we wonder why people are saying that Mulgrew is part of a Trojan Horse scheme?

Note the cost of testing to comply with APPR requirements and how Pearson is the most expensive option. South Orangetown District Superintendent Ken Mitchell's detailed report for the State University of New York-New Paltz wrote and illustrated how Race to the Top expenses far exceed gains from Race to the Top awards. In his Fall, 2012 paper, "Federal Mandates on Local Education: Costs and Consequences – Yes, it’s a Race, but is it in the Right Direction?" he showed how total APPR mandated costs (accounting Common Core, 3012C training, assessments, technology and professional development) for 18 lower Hudson Valley school districts would amount to $5,472,166. RTTT funding would provide $520,415. The districts would still have to pay $5,951,751 in unfunded costs. (Table 2. Estimated 2012-2013 Costs Associated with APPR Mandates for Eighteen Lower Hudson Valley School Districts)

Mitchell pointed out that budget deficits will arise.
In six Rockland County districts, leaders projected a total four-year cost of almost $11 million, this compares with an aggregate revenue of about $400K in Race to the Top funding - a $10 million deficit. this represents an increase in average per pupil spending for this single initiative of nearly $400 per student.
(Bolding, my emphasis) Why did not Mulgrew ask any questions about compliance? This of course not only strikes taxpayers, but consider the ramifications. In many government deficit instances layoffs ensue. The literature on testing and learning are increasingly shedding doubt that the test-emphasis path is productive for educational goals. Furthermore, we need to consider that school spending and teacher jobs will fall victim if APPR and RTTT compliance related deficits develop.
* * *
People say "at least he's better than [Randi] Weingarten," his predecessor that installed him via the executive board, a half-year before a popular vote. For all of Weingarten's pioneering the collaboration stratagem, from her sitting on the Broad Foundation, to her countless other mistakes, accounted here and in the comments here, she let us vote on the 2005 and 2007 contracts.
Mulgrew, caved in repeatedly to side agreements that have amounted to a de facto contract, the data binders, the portfolios, the ratched up tenure requirements, the VAM evaluations, APPR changes, Danielson, the decision to defer his evaluation dispute with Bloomberg to King Cuomo and his henchman Reformy John King, and the evaluation system as the 2007 contract 3.0. What the heck is there left for us to negotiate over and vote on?
I think that his gender and physical stature give him the pass with the members. His loud tone, his sneering jokes. Alas, none of this has helped us. He makes an appearance at the NYSUT rally,* but he blacks out any publicity to UFT members, lest they get exposed to "Corporate Core" signs. He is a Trojan Horse cancer or zombie/body snatcher, destroying our union and profession from within. I'll take arguments citing Mike's great accomplishments that part from Randi's ways. The suggestion box is open.
*The UFT was also absent from a Jan. 9, 2012 (a Monday) protest in Albany about frozen funds, Gotham Schools reported then.


  1. I agree, Mulgrew is there because of the political optics of his bogus tough guy persona.

    When it came to RttT, APPR, VAM, etc., Mr. Tough Guy was played like a violin.

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