Remember the teacher evaluations debacle from a few months ago? You know, the one where the tensions between the UFT and Bloomberg administration cost New York City’s public schools nearly $300 million in state funds? Yeahhhhh, that one.
Well, after a solution fizzled and the jobs of hundreds of New York City teachers evaporated into thin air with next year’s budget, Governor Cuomo set the next deadline dance to June 1st. If the two sides really, really couldn’t sit down and sort out their differences by that day, Albany would intervene on their behalf and put in place a state-led evaluations system – one that would probably peeve the UFT and the Department of Education but whatever. Tough luck for the sore losers.
But yesterday, the State received different plans from both of the frenemies to see just how ideologically “distant” they claim to be. As of now, the plans submitted yesterday have not been made available to the public. However, a glimpse at what happened back in January kinda gives us an idea of where the UFT and DOE stand.
The system we have place in our public schools now grades our teachers on test scores, student feedback and general performance. It also allows for at least 3 percent of teachers each year to be stamped “unsatisfactory” – a feature that has drawn the ire of the teachers union.
When the two parties met to negotiate last winter, it was Mayor Bloomberg that backed out at the last minute from an agreement, citing a main fault with the evaluations’ length: it matched the duration of the whole system.
Basically, an evaluation for a teacher would take two years to conduct and the agreement they were working on would only last two years too, meaning the UFT and DOE would have to come to the table yet again then under a new mayor’s leadership. And that doesn’t make much sense. Also, the teachers union sought to double the arbitration hearings to defend their own against unfair dismissals. Bloomberg argued that this was unnecessary and would cut the productivity of the evaluations in half.
If all of these disagreements seem minute, trivial and easy to fix, good because they should. This costly controversy has been dragged out far too long for these sides to be taken seriously.
What we’re trying to say here is that June 1st couldn’t come sooner.