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UFT Executive Board Takeaway November 6th

The last Executive Board meeting went by pretty quickly. Since we didn't have a resolution for Unity to vilify and vote down, we ended relatively early. There are just a few things of note.

One was Norm Scott's improvised speech, largely suggesting that nothing has changed in 15 years vis a vis abusive administrators. I'd agree with that. It's problematic that week after week teachers come to explain how they're being reassigned and harassed. The only time that the Unity faithful acknowledge these things is when they show up.

They say we've visited this or that school a hundred times. The problem is that the teachers are still standing there telling the same old tales. When we try to pass resolutions to at least publicize these things, we're told they're too extreme. After all, CSA is a union, so we're all union. This notwithstanding, it's hard to rationalize staying silent while our people are being abused.

I've been asking questions every week but the last one, and getting no answers whatsoever. Clearly, though they know better than we do about everything, they still don't know everything. Howard Schoor, however, took a stab at answering my question from two weeks ago. Here it is:

Arthur Goldstein—MORE—In our last meeting, you repeatedly cited a figure of 3,000 teachers receiving U ratings. We would like to know exactly what year that was. We would also like to know how many of those teachers were tenured, and how many were dismissed. Finally, we would like to know exactly how many of these teachers had the burden of proof on them during 3020a.  I’d also like to point out that so far, none of my questions have received an answer. Thank you.

Schoor—We’re not entitled to that info. Check Chalkbeat.

I have to say I was astonished at this answer.  Check Chalkbeat. As a matter of fact, I did, and I didn't find that information. Schoor, a week after this preposterous suggestion, had this to say:

Schoor—(in response to part of my question last week as to which year there were 3,000 U-ratings, among other things) offers these figures 2010—11 2017 U ratings   2011-12—2006   2005-6—981 ratings.

In fairness, I have to say he answered my question about when there were 3,000 U ratings. Evidently it was never. As for how many were tenured, and how many were dismissed, I guess we're back to checking Chalkbeat. In any case, he's not talking. As for how many had the burden of proof on them at 3020a, that would be zero. That's a new feature of this evaluation system. You try getting up in front of some arbitrator and proving you are not incompetent.

If we don't know the consequences of the U ratings, we can't simply say there were fewer ineffective ratings and thus determine the new system is better. As a matter of fact, the comparison between U and I ratings is incomplete. After all, we now have the "Developing" rating. While this is not necessarily going to get you fired (though it can), it's certainly demoralizing to have an improvement plan imposed. I know teachers who got rated developing solely due to test scores, you know, the things that make the new system so groovy and cool.

It's a little disturbing that you need only scratch the surface to see the tenuous nature of leadership's claims. How do you round off 2017 to 3000? How do you ignore the consequences of the ratings? How do you expect no one to question your claims? I guess it's easy, if only everyone has signed a loyalty oath

The message of leadership is pretty clear. Everything is wonderful all the time, we know best, and we never, ever make a mistake. For example, the reports from districts seem to include only the wonderful events hosted around the city. Abysmal situations like those at Tottenville or CPE 1 would be wholly ignored if we weren't there, dragging people up to tell the world what's going on.

But, given Janus, it's not a good time to question leadership. Before that, given Cuomo, it wasn't a good time. Given Bloomberg, it wasn't a good time. Given Giuliani, it wasn't a good time. Actually it's never a good time. It's particularly egregious because they clearly haven't got answers, and as far as I can determine, never have.


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