Teacher Evaluations and Getting To Know Cathie Black

Monday, December 06, 2010

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers in New York, discusses the upcoming hearing to determine whether teacher effectiveness scores will be released to the public, and what we learned from Cathie Black's first interview.


Michael Mulgrew

Comments [20]

Calls'em from Here, there & everywhere

The scores should NOT be released, but those who fall below an objective standard should be put on probation and then fired if they don't make the grade in the future. This should happen whether it's one teacher that doesn't make the grade or 10%. You are given the boot after being given a chance to rebound. There needs to be some control for a teacher being in a "bad" school or having a "bad" class. The taxpayers can't afford this union-education-industrial complex and bad teachers add injury to insult. Union teachers retire as millionaires, but more and more kids don't graduate and often end up in a life of drugs and crime. While parents and "society" have a big percentage of the blame, the systemic failure of the union-education-industrial complex gets a big percentage of the blame, too; and it is paid very well in the failing process. PS - DOE do some long term analysis and should start tracking each student in relation to each teacher, so we know the absolute number of how many students that teacher X taught graduated or not and what kind of grades they received in ensuing years following the year with teacher X in year Y. This type of analysis would yield a long term insight into who is successful and who is not.

Mar. 29 2012 12:26 PM
Karen from Westchester

Too bad the union doesn't address the teachers parked in neutral or medicore. Sure there is due process if you commit a felony but without annual performance reviews, peer reviews and something along the lines of renewable tenure every 3 years.. we have great teachers, horrible teachers and some that need career changes. Our children deserve better than a teacher who is just parked or can't grow anymore in the job.

Dec. 07 2010 07:05 AM
lee from Brooklyn

The whole "cost effectiveness" argument smacks of ageism to me.

I also have heard horror stories from very nearly every educator I know in the DOE about the ways in which principals function in personnel matters is ways that are at best blinded by personal regard for marginal people or programs (using arts monies to bring in an outside agency run by a friend at the expense of highly rated programs run by teachers already on the staff, compromising the student art showings when the budget was depleted) to actively mean (sending a teacher to the rubber room on charges that were quickly disproved, returning her to the class room in 2 weeks and then blocking her transfer to another school the following year in an effort to make this teacher "quit the system"), and many other stories less extreme but equally puzzling. Last hired first fired is perhaps not perfect but it is an objective standard and as Mr. Mulgrew stated, principals should move ineffective teachers out using the tools already in place.

Dec. 06 2010 11:10 AM
john from office

Discipline sorry, for the spelling error. There has to be some way to enforce class room order. I have been in incity schools and alot is going on, but no learning. No parents to be seen. The school becomes the only source of guidance.

Dec. 06 2010 11:07 AM

The teachers get blamed if kids fail to learn according to certain standards.

How about checking out students on street smarts, how computer and phgone competent they are. How good of facebook--then compare to teacher scores.

Also check out the Core Curriculum put out by NJ board of ed?

Also demand advanced degrees from teachers not just a degree in eduction.

Iin 20 years there will be no schools. Schooling will occur on street and in computer cafes --ad lib hours with big prizes for high test marks

Dec. 06 2010 11:05 AM
Edward from NJ

@Lauren Hale Biniaris from Astoria,
The vast majority of American workers have no due process rights in employment. Most people are "at will employees" and can be fired at anytime for any or no reason. The exception would be in a case where the firing was based on discrimination against a member of a legally protected class, and even in that case the sole remedy would be to bring a lawsuit against the employer. Non-tenured teachers, in lacking due process rights, are merely in the same boat as everybody else.

Dec. 06 2010 11:05 AM
Ralph Lewis & David Mulkins from the Bowery

One look at the first comment on this thread from a former nyc student and it is clear that our schools need major reform. Who writes this poorly? Come on, give Ms. Black a chance.

Dec. 06 2010 11:02 AM
Calls'em as I Sees'em from Here, there & everywhere.

The union is afraid that Black is there to cut the BOE budget by 10-20% and they are right. The City can't afford to have 82,000 teachers and 135,000 total employees for 1.1 mil kids. With those kinds of numbers every NYC kid should be going to Harvard instead of dropping out and going to jail. There is so much fat still there and a few more kids per classroom won't make much of difference where kids come from homes where parents can't read, don't care or aren't there.

As for the parents who do care, they are backing the wrong horse. Every teacher with a working spouse who makes it to 20 - 30 years retires as a millionaire unless they are total losers.

Poor parents should be given vouchers and choice - the school system exists to teach not to provide life-time tenure to a loser. I know someone who was paid $75K a year for 3 years to read a newspaper and sleep in the rubber room.

We need a constitutional amend. (state by state and a federal one) to decertify all unions in public service. They already have great civil service rules and these unions have bankrupted the public treasuries.

Dec. 06 2010 11:01 AM
mc from Brooklyn

@ Lauren Hale Binaris: Guess what? You do not have that protection unless you have a contract. Your employer can fire you any time for any reason except discrimination on the basis of race or nationality. The teachers have a collectively bargained contract. That is the reason they have "due process." They do not have it before they gain tenure. They can be fired any time for any reason.

@John: How do we restore discipline? In the 60's and 70's it was legal for teachers to strike students. Should we bring that back?

Dec. 06 2010 11:01 AM

Say what you like about tenure, it's a job for life irregardless of what the performance level is. I challenge anyone to demonstrate how it has EVER worked differently. Children today are currently in class being taught by a teacher who attempted to strangle ( police report, child services hearing, news coverage) a student in front of a class full of students.
Check out a few schools in which the entire staff in under 40- what slant on education is that for children?
What a system, which will NEVER change.

Dec. 06 2010 10:59 AM
mc from Brooklyn

With all due respect, the question on It's A Free Country is overly simplistic. Of course it should not be based solely on seniority. But some principals are completely arbitrary in their treatment of teachers. There has to be some protection from that. Also, older teachers (who are not "burned out") could be moved out because they cost more.

Dec. 06 2010 10:56 AM
john from Office

If there was great success , the teachers union would be in the right. But the sad truth is that due to numerous reasons the public schools don't teach, there is no dicipline. There has to be a change and the Union is blind to this
I went to the public school system in the 60's and 70's and saw the downward trend. Lots of talk form the union, no action.
We lose teachers because there is no dicipline in the schools.

Dec. 06 2010 10:55 AM
Ken from Little Neck

As outraged as I am by the appointment of Black, I can't say I'm surprised. She was chosen because she could read from the Bloomberg/Klien playbook and for no other reason. The mayor doesn't want original ideas, he wants another corporate parrot for his anti-teacher agenda.

Dec. 06 2010 10:53 AM
Lauren Hale Biniaris from Astoria

If tenure is just "due process" shouldn't everyone always have that regardless of how long they have been employed? (ie not just tenured teachers should have access to due process)

Dec. 06 2010 10:52 AM

Good grief. What did that woman just say? Is word salad the new means of communication? She sounds like she's parroting talking points. And exactly how would she change any of this -- since it's a matter of law?

Dec. 06 2010 10:52 AM
dboy from nyc

How much do so-called "rubber rooms" cost NYC each year?!?!?

Dec. 06 2010 10:51 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Blahbety blah blah...she just strings out a bunch of platitudes and tired cliches

She has no idea what tenure is...she is unfit for the job, end of story

Dec. 06 2010 10:50 AM
mc from Brooklyn

She has already shown a lack of understanding. She does not know what "tenure" means. And how does she claim to know that demonstrations are "staged?"

Dec. 06 2010 10:47 AM
Parent from NYC

Our representatives to the City Council will have to discuss and change the legislature that allowed Cathy Black's appointment. Bloomberg already harmed public school system with his "measures" big accent on testing; Schools are crowded, teachers are struggling, and pressures to prepare for state tests has been in focus more than how to develop an up to date curriculum; The quality of education went down and we are not discussing it; There are inefficiencies in the school system to be addressed but in an adequate way and by people who understand these problems and can find appropriate solutions.

Dec. 06 2010 10:40 AM
Rachel L. from BROOKLYN, NYC

As a child of NYC Public Schools, and of NYC Public School Teachers, mom to 3 in various Public Schools and colleague of MANY NYC Teachers, I submit this about C.Black:

How are we presumed to take this comment from Cathy (about Teachers/tenure) or any future remarks with any seriousness(?)..... she speaks coming from a background of wealth and priviledge, of private boarding schools, all illustrating how she and Bloomberg have ABSOLUTELY no business in our public schools, Ms. Black has neither ever BEEN an educator, nor did she ever utilize those public schools. She is a person NOT EVEN remotely connected to the massive programs, problems and.or structures of the NYC DOE OR of the NYC or other Public Schools. Are we seriously to think that the way Ms. Black was shoved onto the current administration of the country's largest and most complex/diverse and interesting public school system would make any of the parents or students around our fair city take anything she says without skepticism?

Bloomberg makes teachers, parents and most importantly students here in the system look powerless and superfluous with this appointment of Ms. Black. Honestly, nobody I speak with thinks she will make anything GOOD happen and will alternately make just negative impressions of the mayor and the NYC/DOE seem even more clear.

Dec. 06 2010 10:27 AM

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