Wednesday, June 30, 2010


In case you missed the press coverage this past Friday, the UFT and the DoE have made an agreement to start the new teacher rating system in 11 schools this coming September. These schools were chosen from the 34 on the state list for restructuring.
The new rating system was not supposed to affect anybody until the 2011 - 12 school year. That year, it was supposed to be introduced for grades 4 - 8. In 2012 - 3 was it scheduled to affect high schools.
When the new rating system was unveiled, members had a tremendous number of questions about how it would be put into effect. How would teachers in such subjects as art and phys ed be rated? How would we be protected from penalization for having ELL classes, or Special Ed, or repeaters, or truants? The union officers and staff tried to placate us by saying it would be a value-added system, rubrics would be developed, with teacher input, etc., etc., etc.
Now it is clear this was lip service. The new system will start in three months. Where are the baseline tests? Where are the rubrics? Where is the "teacher input"?
This means that this coming June, UFT members will begin receiving the new ratings instead of the old U or S.

And of course this means that by fall of 2012, we will see the first teachers losing their licenses under the new "expedited" process for "removing ineffective teachers."
Merit pay will also begin. There will be two levels of merit pay, "master teacher," 30% bonus, and "turnaround teacher." 15% bonus. To put a pathetic fig leaf over what is clearly merit pay, they will have to help other teachers. It is not yet clear how it will be decided who will get this merit pay, but it looks like it will be a toxic cocktail of student test scores and administrative favoritism.

Massacre of the Probies?
We are hearing reports that in some schools or districts, large numbers
of our colleagues who are up for tenure are being forced to sign extensions of probation, or get discontinued (which means de facto fired) . We know of cases where this has been done to teachers who have all "S" observations and no disciplinary record whatsoever, because they haven't passed enough students, or even because their students have too many absences. We've also heard that the DOE has ordered that all ATRs up for tenure be automatically discontinued.

FRIDAY, JULY 9 - 10 AM - Among the urgent issues we will be discussing are how to address the targeting of new teachers, the new rating and merit pay systems, and the betrayal of teachers unions by politicians of both major parties. Reply to this email for more information on how to participate.

For more info, contact:
Teachers for a Just Contract -TJC, Post Office Box 545, New York, NY 10028
(212) 831 3408
On Facebook, look for "Just Contract".

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